While I could write an entire book on how hard being pregnant is for some people (seriously, more than a year of writer’s block is the tip of the iceberg), what I really want is to give you all a real quick list of the things no one is going to tell you. But there are so many things that no one wants to tell you that I’m going to have to break it up into multiple parts because there are SO MANY THINGS you need to know but don’t know until you know. You know what I mean? You don’t? Perfect. That’s exactly what it’s like being a first-time parent.
This is a picture of me and my son Jack when he was about two weeks old. Looks a little big, doesn’t he? He was born 10lbs and 22″ long. He left the hospital in three-month clothing. He’s currently six months old and wearing eighteen-month clothing. He’s a giant. Neither my husband nor I are giants. We both credit all the cheeseburgers I ate whilst pregnant. Too many growth hormones in all that beef.
Anyway, look at that picture. Look at how happy I looked there. Would you believe me if I told you that the very next day, I called my mom hysterically crying and telling her she needed to come to my house ASAP because I couldn’t take it anymore and I wanted to walk away? Well, that’s the truth of it. And that’s what no one tells new parents. I needed to hear that I wasn’t the worst mother in the history of mothering and I didn’t. Not until I was in meltdown mode, did I get those comments: “Oh girl, I’ve been there.” or “Yep, that’s a thing that happens.”
So, hopefully, this list will help another parent out there feeling like they’re all alone and want to run away. (Shout out to my mother who not only dropped everything to come to me but also, didn’t judge me for a second when I know I was looking and smelling like a total crazy person).
#1 I Have No Idea What I Am Doing, But If I Do It With Confidence, My Husband Will Believe Me
True story. My husband is amazing and is totally all about doing anything and everything Jack needs but, he sometimes doesn’t know what to do with his hands. That’s when he asks me: “Should I make him another four ounces? Does he need to be burped? Should I rock him more?”. Why he asks me, I have no idea. My experience with kids was limited to seeing my nieces a few times a year and ignoring non-related kids like they had the plague.
However, just like in every other aspect of life, you just fake it till you make it. Sure, give that baby another bottle. If he doesn’t want it, he’ll either turn his head or spit it all out on you in a few minutes. Yeah, totally try to burp him. He might have a gas bubble. Rocking is good, he loves that. Buy him a pony, give him a lollipop, just make him stop crying.
#2 Newborns Make The Scariest Faces and Noises
Nobody, not even the nurses in the hospital told me this, but babies make the weirdest noises and will make faces that convince you something is wrong. I don’t know why he had to look like he was choking and/or seizing randomly throughout the day and night, but apparently, it’s a normal baby thing. The demonic like noises that came out of that child’s mouth (and places further south) were very alarming.
When he was sleeping he made these terrible guttural type noises that made it impossible for me to sleep. The noises he makes now are much softer and cuter, but in those first two months, it was terrifying thinking my child had maybe become possessed by something.
#3 Nobody Told Me How Hard The First Night Home Would Be
My sister-in-law Megan claims to have told me but said I wasn’t listening, which sounds very true, but man if I could go back and force pregnant Laura to listen to what Megan was saying, I totally would. Because she was right, the first night home is terrible.
When we got home from the hospital, I cried. I mean, I lost it. I didn’t know anything about babies and now I have one? Who the hell thought that was a good idea? Also, those hormones that have been wrecking havoc on you your entire pregnancy? Yeah, they’re gonna kick you in the ass post-partum. Be prepared to be irrational, angry, happy, sad, and excitedly terrified all at the same time.
But it’s OK, deep breath in, deep breath out. You got this.
#4 It’s Perfectly Reasonable to Watch YouTube Videos of Normal Breathing Patterns in Newborns at 4am
No, really, it is. When you’re laying down at night and you look over into that bassinet safely holding your baby and everything is super quiet for the first time all day, you suddenly realize something: babies breathe weird. Their resting respiratory rates are higher than ours and sometimes they’ll even “pause” breathing while sleeping. Yep. That’s a thing. And that’s why you’re on YouTube at 4am frantically watching videos of other newborns sleeping.
#5 You Will Spend Your Entire Day Doing Nothing
Y’all, those first few weeks of maternity leave, I did nothing. I kept my baby fed,
reasonably clean, and mostly happy. That would take my entire day. And then one day would turn into two days, then three days, and all of sudden you realize you haven’t washed your hair in you don’t know how long, but it’s gotta be a pretty decent amount of time because the hair tie fell out of your messy mom bun a day ago and your hair is still sitting on top of your head.
Life is weird and wonderful. One day you’re riding a golf cart through a cave to get to a bar and the next you’re researching prenatal vitamins and wondering why the hell they call it morning sickness when it lasts all damn day.