Post # 1
This is mostly a lighthearted post – I get every baby and every situation is unique! So this is my question: my five or so friends who seem to be loving having their babies and enjoying even the newborn phase – are they just not sharing how hard it is, or do they just have easy babies? Are they the rule or the exception?
I ask because my Darling Husband and I have the difficult decision ahead of us to decide to undergo fertility treatment or not to have a child. I’m not sure yet, I thought I wanted kids but also have many doubts & fears (which I think is pretty normal!) What’s been confusing for me is that when I read parenting things online, people go on and on about how hectic it is to be a new parent and there is no time to eat or shower and you’re so exhausted etc. But I have five friends (but note this is my only “real life exposure” to babies) with babies under one, and they all seem to be dealing with it fine. They all say that the interrupted sleep is hard and it changes your whole life, but they all seem to find time to shower, eat, have clean homes, even get their nails done from time to time, meet up with other moms for baby groups etc. they are very positive about their experiences. We do not have “frenemy type” relationships, I find my friends to be very open and honest about other (difficult) topics. They genuinely seem happy. So… I guess I just want to ask if anyone else has found this disconnect between what people share online and what people say their experiences are in RL? Which version is closer to the truth for most people? Are my five friends just unicorns making it look easy? Thanks bees.
Post # 2
Do they have supportive spouses that are actively involved? What about a supportive and helpful family? Having a support system makes a world of difference.
Post # 3
I think there is a wide variety of babies and wide variety of moms so the answer understandably isnt simple.
-Do you generally cope well with stress?
-Are you generally ok with adjusting to change, sometimes frequent/short notice?
Yes, kids are hard. But millions of people have babies every year and they survive. No one can predict if their kid may be particularly difficult or have health issues, etc so its always a risk.
My kids are older (preteen and teens) so I can say from experience that the hard part is really the first 5 years and then it gets MUCH easier. Some people think babies are hard – I think theyre easy so for me the first 18 months are pretty easy. But I think toddlers are impossible and I would have 10 babies if I could skip toddlerhood lol. But even still it isnt that bad.
There is a saying that the days are long but the years are short. Some people in the midst of it have a hard time coping and so those dramatic accounts may be true for them in the moment. But they probably all end up being happy they had kids and making it work.
Do whatever feels right for you <3
ETA: Your friends sound like they are relatively affluent and have decent support systems and/or helpful partners and that makes a BIG difference 🙂
Post # 4
I have a five month old and I am adoring having her. Being a mother has its challenges…the interrupted sleep is tough, the days can be lonely and I am amazed at how much strain it has put on my relationship with my husband (mainly because it turns out he can’t handle sleep deprivation at all and is having a stressful time at work, so he holds her maybe 15 mins a day and sleeps in the spare room). My daughter also had meningitis at 12 weeks and the thought of losing her shredded my soul. If I lost my husband, I would be devastated but know I would survive. If I lost my daughter I think I would actually die.
However, illness aside, I would say looking after my daughter is less challenging than my (admittedly very challenging) job. I love her in a way that I didn’t even know was possible and which is just wonderful. I want time to slow down as she is getting so big and I want to soak in every second. She used to only wake up once a night (it’s a lot more at the moment) and, even at 5am, I would find myself holding her 10 minutes longer than I needed before putting her back down as my arms were just so wonderfully full of her. I manage to shower, I manage to eat (although often only with one hand), I go out to mother and baby groups, I go out for walks. I don’t have any outside support, apart from my mum coming over maybe once a fortnight (and she isn’t hugely helpful as she has health issues). It is do-able and my daughter is my whole world. Even on the toughest day, her gummy little smile makes it all worthwhile. Watching her little personality emerge is just the most amazing thing. She lights up my world. Does that help?!
Post # 5
leebee333 : there’s no way to know if they have unicorn babies or if they are sugarcoating it, but I’d guess somewhere in the middle. Everyone has different experiences! For me, newborn phase was hell and now that I’m pregnant with my second I see it as a necessary evil to get to the later phases which I think are awesome. In my experience, childbirth wasn’t that bad (and I had an unmedicated vaginal delivery) and idk what the terrible 2s are, but my two year old is awesome. But newborns….woof. Plenty of people will think I’m nuts for saying those things but that’s because their experience was different!
Post # 6
We had a difficult baby so dh and I are always in shock when we see/hear/read about parents who have it easy lol.
I doubt your friends are lying their pants off, BUT I also think people are very, very reluctant to ever say anything in IRL or on social media to suggest that parenting is anything but complete joyous bliss 24/7. It’s unfortunate bc there’s nothing shameful about not being a picture perfect Instagram mommy.
Post # 7
This confused me before I had a child, and it confuses me now. No time to shower? Eat? I did both every day. Recently a thread was discussing high needs babies, and they said the idea of manis and pedis was crazy. Not over here. I did both, and I got lash extensions every few weeks. I also had a fussy baby, and I managed. Plus I adore being a mom. My baby is truly everything to me. I’m not going to go on a rant to how I’ve never known love before i had a child. lol. Not true. But truly, there is nothing like it.
I have friends that had it hard, easy, and everything in between. The difference was the support system. My husband and I are equal partners. In fact, he has been with our daughter more than me now that I’m back to work because she stays home with him 3 days a week, and goes to granparents’ for two. Also, my parents have been truly magnificent. I could not have a better support system. That makes a difference because my friend who moved out of state was miserable. Her husband is in the army, so they had to move where they have no family or friends, and during the week, it’s just her. So before you have a child and go through extensive IVF, take an honest look at your support system.
Post # 8
I have a 12 month old and have a number of friends with new babies. Like PPs have said, everyone’s experience varies. Unlike some PP, I think my friends and I are brutally honest about the parts of being a baby mom that SUCK (the endless random crying at 4-8 weeks old, ugh). It helps you get through the tough times, to know that it’s normal. Also, the good parts of parenthood are so rewarding that it colors the whole experience, even the tough times, in a positive light.
Of the moms I know, the happiest and calmest ones seem to be those with
1) a supportive involved partner
2) other support (family, friends, etc)
3) easy babies that sleep well and aren’t too fussy
4) flexible jobs or work part-time
5) calm personalities themselves
6) no extreme financial stress
So it’s kind of a crap-shoot, but hopefully most parents have at least a few of these things.
As for me, I don’t shower every day, but I didn’t even before baby – I’m gross I guess. I don’t work out nearly as much as I used to. I don’t lounge in bed drinking coffee every mornings. Weekends are about keeping him occupied and happy and hopefully having a family adventure, and less about accomplishing my to-do list or relaxing. But we put our baby to bed at 7-7:30 and have time to eat dinner, watch TV or read, do chores, etc for a few hours. Our marriage is as happy or happier than before he came along. All in all, it’s been very rewarding and not toooo hard. And that’s with a baby with some chronic health conditions and special needs, so he’s not the easiest.
Post # 9
leebee333 : people who claim they can’t shower or eat are doing something wrong. Not horrifically so, and probably not 100% of them, but mostly. People who just can’t stand setting baby down and letting it fuss a bit while they shower are setting up a cycle of torture for themselves. Is it clean, dry, fed? Baby will live. Even when home alone, I’d just plunk him nearby and get in the shower. When he got mobile, I made a rule that I would always shut the bathroom door and have privacy. Was he mad? Yeah, but now he knows not to bug people in the bathroom. I can’t fathom people who let their kids in and then complain about it. They will learn.
Still I will admit that barring a few things, our guy was easy. I hope the next is too. Issues we had: week long NICU stay at birth, dad falling asleep instead of feeding him while I pumped, absolute screaming every time he wet the diaper for a couple months (thought it was a UTI but nope), poor nursing that likely was related to a small lip tie. I’ve definitely thought more than once that I’m incredibly grateful not to be a single mom though, they amaze me. And it would have been nice to have a support system nearby other than my husband. Still we managed. Just because it’s challenging doesn’t mean I’d trade it for no child after all, but I’m not going to whine to my friends either.
By The Way, if you become pregnant, all bets are off. I guarantee they start ‘warning’ you about the downsides then!
Post # 10
I’ll admit I’m a mom that didn’t get a shower every day (and sometimes not even every other….yup I’m gross…) I really don’t function well on minimal sleep so more often than not the chance to nap won out over the chance to shower. I probably could have showered more – but sleep was way more important to me.
Post # 11
I wouldn’t say my kid was hard and the first six months WERE easy (outside of her having some illness). I do think some people sugarcoat and some people catastrophize when it comes to babies.
Post # 12
Definitely depends on the individual (baby, mama, and their circumstances). Some babies are super easy and will nap anywhere, some mamas thrive on attachment parenting/baby-wearing, and others get a lot of help from their spouses, family, or even hired help…or even all of the above.
For me, the hardest part was trusting myself and to stop buckling under the pressure and judgement of others. No one told me I was allowed to set my baby down…I felt SO stressed out that if I didn’t practically glue my baby to myself, I was a bad mom. Things got waaay easier when I started trusting myself and my instincts and ignoring what random books/internet sources were telling me I need to do. I ADORE my baby, my nurturing instincts are strong, so it’s not like I was going to do anything that I believed could be harmful. You’re gonna know your baby best, so only you get the final say in how to raise them. Formula, breastfeed…baby-wear, baby swing…if you’re confident in your ability to be a parent, I think the mental hardship will be a lot less. This may sound obvious, but I had to learn that parenting choices are personal to your unique situation…no one else knows what goes on day in and day out of your life, except for you; so it’s not about pleasing others to make them think you’re a good parent, and there’s no one right way to do things. I know that seems like a no-brainer, but I was surprised how much it was easier said than done when I actually became a parent…hormones may have a lot to do with it, lol.
So I’d say it’s a mix of your mental state, parenting philosophy, and luck of the draw on whether you get an “easy” baby or not (some simply sleep better than others, which makes all the difference). Parenthood started gradually improving for me around my LO’s 4-5 month mark (when I started making some changes in our routine that benefitted my mental health more)…she’s going on 2 now and has been an absolute breeze this past year.
The hardest phase(s) may feel like an eternity in the moment, but are so, so short in the grand scheme of things. The memory of my LO’s newborn months are a dark blur and don’t really entice many warm fuzzy feelings, but it was SOOOO worth it to have the little friend I’ve got now. If the newborn phase was really that bad, I wouldn’t be having another one in a few months. There’s also a learning curve which I hope will make things a little easier this time, now that I’ve experienced it.
Post # 13
Well my sister’s baby is a unicorn apparently. When travelling she goes out shopping with them in her pram at 10pm at night at 7 months old and they take her out for dinner. Never know what to believe?!
Post # 14
leebee333 : Do they have extremely involved families/spouses? Are they breastfeeding?
Post # 15
I think acknowledging that it will change pretty much everything about your life is important. Not all in bad or good ways. And as pp have mentioned, a lot comes down to your coping skills, support system, and the baby.
For me: I found the newborn phase quite isolating. I don’t generally like being home entirely alone, and at least at first with a minimally responsive, often sleeping newborn that’s what it felt like. I found that setbacks like sleep regressions (honestly, mostly just sleep issues, we didn’t really have other problems) really threw me off, made me panic about never sleeping again etc. I know people who had way worse sleepers than me and took it all in stride. So that part is personality. My husband is basically super dad (also he went on 3 months pat leave at the end of our son’s first year), and generally great at talking me down, so that was helpful. Basically, I felt like I was on and off floundering for the first year or so. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it.
I did struggle a bit with friends who said from day one in the middle of being home alone, not sleeping, etc that they absolutely loved every minute of motherhood, when I didn’t. But now, at 16 months, I’m starting to feel that way more. My toddler is a handful. But he comes and sits on my lap or points out things he’s interested in, and it’s so sweet. Some people love the baby phase, some don’t. While some people who have significantly more difficult babies would probably have a different opinion, I don’t think that a decision should be based on the relatively short phase that is having a newborn.