5. Nursing Really Is Easier
Nursing is one of the best surprises of childbirth. Not only do you get to spend peaceful time with your baby, but you also never have to wash nipples, and there are no worries if you’re out and forget a bottle. Just ask Cathy French, the mother of 1-year-old twins. “When they were born, I was looking at washing, sterilizing, storing and filling 16 bottles a day,” she says. “Nursing them was the best thing I did.”
6. Not Everyone’s Happy You’ve just announced your pregnancy, and you assume that everyone will be thrilled. Not true, Gise says. “Many women are taken aback at the envy, anger and jealousy,” she says. “[Some co-workers] are upset that they might have to do your work.” Revel in the fact that this is your private joy. You’re building a relationship between you and your baby. You may even lose some close friends in the process, but so be it.
7. You Have So Much to Learn
You’ve just brought the baby home. You and your partner look at each other and realize you have no idea what to do next. This one catches all of us by surprise. “Are we allowed to go to the bathroom? Is he breathing all right?” Iovine says. “This is when I bring in the mamas — my grandma, my mom, any mom I can find. Moms understand, and they’ll hold the baby when you need to get a shower.”
8. How Little Sleep You Really Need
You may get less sleep than you ever thought possible, but the amazing thing is how well you’ll cope on so little. “Take those naps!” Gise says. And take heart that in time, you’ll return to a normal sleep routine. (Some couples find that keeping the baby in or near their bed helps, too.)
9. Losing Yourself
So sweeping is your love for your new baby, so deep is your bond, that you may find yourself letting go of some of the most important things in your life — perhaps even your spirit. “Intellectually, you know that it’s a losing proposition to so totally immerse yourself,” Gise says. “Your kids will one day grow up and be gone. Hang on to your life and your spirit. You can still love and care for your child.”
10. Time Really Does Fly
When I was a new mom, nothing annoyed me more than when older folks would chirp, “Treasure these days, for they’ll be gone in a flash!” When you’re neck-deep in dirty diapers and delirious from sleep deprivation, time doesn’t exactly fly by.
The big surprise for me came at my baby’s first birthday; it seemed to arrive in about three months. Now I’m stunned to find myself with an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old. Time is more relative than Albert Einstein ever imagined.