Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.

So, you’re pregnant with your first baby. You stocked up on the cutest maternity clothes, you have the nursery set up, you even picked out a fantastic name that perfectly suits your future son or daughter. At your baby shower, everyone shares little pieces of advice. Only problem is, every baby and every parent is different. No matter how much preparation you have, most of what you learn is definitely hands-on. The books you read & stock up on during pregnancy kind of help at first, until they start contradicting each other and making you feel inadequate. Who needs that? Thankfully, I’ve learned that trusting my instincts are more right on than a book or random lie someone said to soften the blow of reality. Here is my list of sweet little lies I’ve heard over the years.

  • The first year of marriage is the hardest. Ok, so this is something you’re more likely to hear at your wedding, but it does apply here. The first year after you have a baby throws your life for more of a loop than the first year of marriage. At least from my experience. Our first year with a baby was a huge test for our marriage. Especially since Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles (aka: the only sitters in our life) lived at least 2 ½ hrs away. Every. Single. Thing. Changed. It was one of the hardest years of my life. But, we survived. Learned that our relationship changed too. Even though we had a deep love for the child we created, they are only temporary residents in our home; we are the constant, so we had to make our relationship as a couple a priority too.

  • You are great with kids; Motherhood will come so easy for you. As much as I would’ve loved to believe that, sometimes it’s not that easy. Scratch that, USUALLY it’s not that easy. There are some moms that make it look easy, and maybe they got lucky with one of those easy fairy-tale babies I’ve heard about. Trust me, even those moms have melted down when their typically easy-baby had a bad day or two. Nobody’s perfect. Nobody.

  • As soon as you lay eyes on your baby, you will fall in love with them and immediately know what to do. While I’ll admit, I fell in love with both of my babies at first sight; I’ve had several moments over the years when I didn’t like my children for one reason or another. There, I said it. And even if you grew up around babies and babysat most of your life (like me!) this is different. This is YOUR flesh & blood that you are solely responsible for. The love runs deeper than anything you’ve ever felt, and yet, the fear of losing or screwing up this life you created is real. Instincts help to a degree, but you really have to trust those instincts, and that doesn’t come as easily.
  • If you stock up on sleep while you’re pregnant, it’ll be easier to get through the first long weeks with the baby. First of all, during my 2nd pregnancy I learned that pregnant women can safely take unisom & ambien, which I found vital for those last uncomfortable months. Talk to your OB and get a good night’s sleep while you can. That being said, “stocking up on sleep” may help you feel rested enough to get through labor. But, there’s not much you can do other than mentally preparing yourself to have at least a few months of sleepless nights. And definitely sleep when the baby sleeps. Especially if you are nursing!
  • Once the baby starts sleeping through the night, you’re set! HA! Right. Because even If the baby sleeps through the night for a week or two, even a month, when they start going through a new developmental stage, they may have another month of sleepless nights before sleeping through again. We still deal with sleep issues with our 5 & 2 yo. Thankfully, not every night, but bad nights, even bad weeks still happen.
  • Breastfeeding comes naturally. I had 2 very different experiences with breastfeeding. It did not come naturally the first time. I felt a lot of pressure to nurse, but I didn’t have a lot of support. All of those issues led me to failure, and an unnatural experience. 2nd time, baby latched right on and it was easier. Still wasn’t as natural as people claim it to be. Really need to get past the 6 week-mark to feel that natural sensation. Get support. It’s vital for nursing success.
  • Formula is exactly like breastmilk. Probably pissing some people off with this one, but nothing is exactly like breastmilk. That’s like saying soy & cow’s milk are the same. Yes, formula is getting better all the time, but breastmilk will never be duplicated. I realize that some women can not nurse. I was one of them with my first baby. But, if you can, try; it really is the perfect food for baby. It’s good for Momma too. My mood was so much better, the baby & I slept better, we never had to walk the floors with her, never had to get up in the middle of the night to make a bottle, and it forced me to sit down, put my feet up, and bond with my baby every couple hours. I know some women think it’s not for them, but you won’t really know until you give it a try… it really was an amazing experience for me.
  • Start feeding the baby cereal early to get them to sleep through the night. We listened to this advice with our first-born, and maybe got an extra hour of sleep once in awhile, but in the long-run, my first-born didn’t sleep through the night until she was 14 months old. She also developed constipation issues.
  • Potty training happens like a lightswitch. Again, maybe if you are lucky enough to have one of those “easy” babies. I’ll just direct you to my post regarding my first experience with potty training here
  • Hearing family & friends tell you “I’ll be there whenever you need me!” That would be nice, huh? If every time you needed someone to take over for you at , relief would be there? Ask for help when you need it, and accept help when you get it, but don’t become reliant on it. Friends especially won’t feel as obligated as family will – but even grandparents have a life these days and won’t always be up for taking your children at the drop of a hat. Embrace those relationships that are there for you when you need them, especially ones that live physically near you. Understand that your children need YOU. Yes, you WILL need breaks and even days away from them to recharge & refocus on what’s important. If you start to feel like you can’t deal with parenthood with just your partner, then maybe it’s time to look beyond the friends & family and get some professional help. No shame in anything that helps you develop into a better, more confident & responsible parent.
  • It gets easier. Sure, once you get to know & then survive one stage, that particular stage is easier. But, those stages last a second, then you’re onto a new challenge! And once you have another baby, every stage will be different because it’s a different baby, plus you have to deal with your older child too. I suppose it’s all relative, but “easier” to one mom may be completely different to another. Take things one day at a time, and embrace the happy, easy moments.
I certainly don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, because most of these lies have a hint of truth to them, but the fact is – the only way to understand and truly know how to handle those first precious years of your children’s’ lives is to live it. Focus on the moment, and embrace it. Parenthood is one hell of a ride!

**Please note that I would love to hear what lies people told you before/during/after you had a baby; comment at the end of this post! If I get enough feedback, I may do a follow-up to this in the near future that will feature your comments**

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One Comment

  1. Posted October 21, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    I always love the ‘why are you so tired? You should sleep when the baby sleeps.’ that I got from my mom. Okay. and what is my 3 y/o son going to do while I’m sleeping? He hasn’t napped in a year…
    How about the one about how nursing and snuggling them to sleep means they’d never learn to sleep on their own. Both kids my did. By themselves. No crying it out for them or us. It was a long 2 years to get to each time but it was right for us and them.
    Re: falling in love: I fell in love with my first immediately. It was amazing. My second however, I did not and the guilt about it was worse. It was a horrible pregnancy and ended with a daughter born with a syndrome. We were thrown straight from exhaustion (from said horrible pregnancy) to unending doctor visits generally involving extensive driving while hubby was up to his a$$ in extra non-negotiable hours.
    Now though, I can’t get enough of her.
    Here’s another lie – That cloth diapers are two much work. Get a big enough diaper bucket and enough diapers and it’s a snap. Thankfully hubby would usually haul the bucket to the laundry for me (all that water and poop gets heavy!) but the cost savings alone saved us. And not feeling guilty about changing the kids for every tiny pee…

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