Pregnancy does in fact prepare you for a lot regarding parenthood or what I refer to as “momlife”. From morning sickness and having to pee (all the damn time) to major fatigue and back pain. It is all just preparing you for what is about to come.
In the beginning, when the morning sickness hits and you can hardly eat at all, it’s just the body’s way of getting you used to being a mom. Once your child arrives – the incredible bundles of joy that they are – you will not be able to complete a meal – at least not in one attempt. You might not even be able to make a meal in one attempt. Your darling little babe will know exactly when you have sat down to eat and immediately need to be fed, changed, burped, etc, etc, etc. Or before you know it you won’t be able to eat fast enough and that toddler of yours will steal the food right off your plate.
*Note: eventually you do become a complete pro at absolutely inhaling your food.
Or you will have such a case of “mom brain” (more on that in a bit) that you will completely forget about the meal you started to prepare and have that moment much later where you think to yourself “oh yeah, I should eat something, or wait, didn’t I do that already?”
When you hit that part of pregnancy where you can no longer get comfortable – whether it’s while sleeping, or sitting, or walking – you are just learning another delightful side effect of being a mom. You are never going to be “comfortable” again. Soon you will likely be sharing a bed with what can only be described as a drunk octopus searching for its keys and then finding yourself being given only the smallest portion of that bed (while desperately trying not to fall off).
You will also have moments where you are in the oddest of positions with body parts that have long since fallen asleep. You won’t be able to move, because if you do, that sweet babe who probably refused to nap all day will most certainly wake up.
You might even have to carry your child – for what seems like an eternity – in some sort of carrier that tries really hard to be comfortable so that your babe can sleep and you can do, well, anything on that giant list of stuff that needs to get done and you can’t quite seem to make a dent in.
Then you reach that stage of pregnancy where you wake up every few hours to use the washroom due to the giant watermelon sitting on your bladder. Well guess what? You are just adjusting to being woken up every few hours and never getting a quality night’s sleep again. When you have a newborn you are up every two hours – that’s right every two hours – to feed. And when I say every two hours, I don’t mean you get two hours sleep and then you have to wake up again. I mean every two hours from the start of one feed until the next one. So if it takes your baby an hour to eat, you will have to start again IN ONE HOUR. Talk about sleep deprivation.
But hey, at least your pregnant body got you used it.
What else did pregnancy get you used to… fatigue.
My goodness I have never been so tired in my life.
When you are pregnant you have this wonderful little luxury known as the nap. No one is going to judge you for taking one, in fact you are often encouraged by others to do just that. When you become a mom, do you think you will be afforded such luxury? No, of course not. You have a baby to take care of (and a house to clean, and a dog to walk, and laundry to do, and dishes to be done, and a partner to spend time with, etc, etc, etc).
And speaking of sleep deprivation and fatigue..
These are two of the biggest contributors to Mom Brain. Mom Brain, similar to Pregnant Brain, is a natural phenomenon where a otherswise perfectly sane human being becomes forgetful, absent-minded, and easily distracted.
You are no longer a functional human.
You are a shadow of a human.
You are now, in fact, a Zombie.
Some of the symptoms of mom brain may include:
- Putting a new diaper on your child before taking the old one-off
- Forgetting whether you have washed your hair as you are washing your hair
- Looking at your partner, asking where the baby is, while they are holding the baby.
- Frantically searching for ANY item while said item is in your hand, around your neck, on your face, in your mouth, etc.
And my favorite of all:
- Pouring your child a bottle of boobjuice (that took you, literally, forever to pump) only to realize that you forgot to put a liner in the bottle and the milk is now all over the floor – being enjoyed by the family pet (this has happened far more often than I would like to admit).
There is so much that I “knew” about becoming a parent before I actually was one. And through a very large portion of my pregnancy, all I wanted was for the baby to get here already. I was over having to pee every 5 seconds, and not being able to get comfortable – ever. I was ready for the back pain to go away, and to be able to eat like I used to. If only I had actually known it was just the beginning.
And if someone does try to give you that insight a part of you will ALWAYS believe that it won’t be like that for you.
So to the new momma’s and soon to be momma’s out there, when someone offers you help – take it. No one cares how messy your house is, how long it’s been since you’ve showered, or whether or not you are wearing clothes covered in baby puke. If someone offers to clean your house so you can some rest (or gosh forbid, have a shower), or cook a meal so that you actually get to eat something, or walk your dog, or even just hold your baby long enough for you to take a breath and moment for yourself – let them. Chances are the people who are offering know the incredibly tough – and rewarding – job that being a mom (or a parent) is.
I wish that I had been more willing to accept help in the beginning. Now I know better and it is a mistake that I certainly won’t ever make again.
And on another note:
Being pregnant (and a parent) is an incredible experience – and not one everyone is fortunate enough to have. So whether your pregnancy is an easy one or a difficult one, it is something to be tremendously proud of and to embrace every moment of. After all, you are creating a beautiful, tiny, wonderful, little human. And a part of you (even if it is just a small part) will have moments where you wish you could go back to just being pregnant.
and in case I don’t say it enough, I absolutely LOVE being a mom, but having more time to shower would be nice.