Are my friends lying – jk – or just lucky?

posted 1 week ago in Babies
Post # 17
Member
1256 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

My sister and a friend of mine are very much in the camp of “the lack of sleep sucks but life isnt that hard with a newborn!” while a few of my other friends are very much in the “OMG newborn phase was bruuuuuutal” camp.

Here are the differences I noticed:

#1 (and most important) – how laid back baby is

High needs babies = stressed out and emotionally fried mothers. Doesn’t matter what’s going on with the rest of the below list

#2 – supportive and active spouse/support network

Spouse who not only picks up any and all slack in running the house but is also active in parenting and prioritizes mama’s rest/mental health. Often times this also translates into spouses that have multiple weeks of parental leave.

#3 – Laid back parents

The parents who have every gadget/piece of gear, are  constantly monitoring baby, are intervening at every little noise, take crying personally/emotionally, expect baby to be relatively consistent day to day, etc seem to be the parents that also hate the newborn stage much more

My sister and friend are very laid back parents. They also bring an energy of calm and relaxation whenever they seem to be handling baby — even though one of them is definitely NOT a calm/relaxed person about most things in life lol. They don’t get caught up in comparing their baby to others or really have any expectations about baby’s routine/schedule. If baby sleeps 6 hours one night – great! If baby sleeps max 2 hours the next night – shitty, but c’est la vie and hopefully it’s a one-off.

I’m 32 weeks and honestly trying to already put myself in that relaxed mindset of not putting too much pressure on myself as a mom and just being able to roll with the punches because I think that makes a world of difference in how much you enjoy the newborn phase (and parenting in general!)

Post # 17
Member
923 posts
Busy bee

TravelingBride31 :  Agree with you 110%. I had a rough pregnancy and delivery but my first is 2 and honestly he’s been very chill/happy 95% of the time.  Then on top of that we have a lot of family help and we are older parents who are pretty laid back. There was one kind of rough no sleep patch around 4-6 weeks. 

 

My SIL’s first was VERY high needs (premature and then like no more than 90 minutes of consecutive sleep for 8-9 months), then she got PPD, and on top of that my Brother-In-Law / SIL are very emotional/anxious people anyways.  It was really awful and I think they came close to getting divorced. I was legit concerned SIL would hurt the baby in the worst of her PPD. They got through it but our experiences were night & day different.

Post # 18
Member
6663 posts
Bee Keeper

I think most of it is expectations/attitude/adaptability, part of it is the baby’s ease or temperament and the rest is available support.

My first was super high needs, major food allergies, I breast fed and had a very limited diet, I had to quickly return to my challenging career, and my (now ex-)husband was pretty useless. But being a mother was something I always wanted, I didn’t expect that it was going to be easy so it wasn’t an issue or surprise when it wasn’t, I’m a problem-solver, and was a happy, though sleep deprived, mom even in the early phases. 

If you go into parenthood thinking it’s going to be all unicorns and joy you’re going to have a much harder time than if you’re expecting sleepless nights, poopy laundry and having to adjust a lot of plans.

I have friends who would refuse to hand their baby off to anyone so they could make a solo grocery run, refused to shower while the baby was napping or chose to nap at the same time instead of taking a shower (no blame there), would never ask their husband to take care of his own child or pick up at daycare 30 minutes later so they could get a manicure…a lot of it is what you make of it. I didn’t have a nearby supportive family or a helpful spouse but built a close network of friends and other parents so by the time I had my second I was covered. 

It sounds as if your friends are open about the sleep challenges and realistic in their expectations. Have any of them actually said it is easy? Or are they just doing it competently enough so that it appears so? Do they work outside the home? Have cleaning help? 

Post # 20
Member
220 posts
Helper bee

leebee333 :  I liked the newborn phase well enough (though I enjoy my son even more now that he’s more interactive) and felt my son was an exceptionally easy newborn!  I felt he slept well, ate well, and was generally easy to please!  I still think that about our (now 11m old) baby!

My husband was so anxious the entire time he had some physical symptoms (of the GI variety) and would tell other people that he was really tough and we were barely hanging on, etc..  and complain that our son was really difficult.  He still complains about our sons sleep and disposition all the time! (But agrees he’s a good eater.. the proof is in the chunk lol)

My point is, though I assume they must have reasonably easy babies, your friends may also just be good at this particular task.  I dont mean they’re “good moms” (though I’m sure they are) because being adept at newborns is NOT what makes you a good mom!  They’re just.. good at handling the particular cocktail of work that comes with navigating life with a newborn!  My husband is a great father but clearly not great at handling the baby phase (though he’s good WITH our son… you know what I mean.)

Post # 21
Member
458 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

leebee333 :  I’m not a mum yet (though pregnant with my 1st!) I think it really, ultimately comes down to the baby.  I know several people who said the newborn phase was easy the first time around, but their second (and last coincidentally) was a nightmare.  If it was just about the parenting, you’d think the second would always be the easier one, since the parent is experienced.

Everything PP said is true, the only thing I haven’t seen mentioned is it probably also depends on how you recover from birth.  If you have PPP or PPD or physical complications from birth, it’s going to be a lot tougher.  

Post # 22
Member
2522 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

My second is 16 days old and completely different from my eldest. She was a high needs baby, constantly feeding, rarely happy, undiagnosed food intolerances until 10 months, hated being with anyone but me…she’s now 4 years old and whilst I’m still usually her favourite person she does enjoy spending time with others and has even started having weekly voluntary sleepovers at her grandparents house. 

My newborn is relatively “easy”, spends most of his time sleeping and is happy to be put down so I do have time to do activities such as cook and clean! I even manage a daily nap with him! I haven’t been for a manicure yet but I probably could if I wished to. I’m going to be interested to see what his character develops into as he gets more alert and active. 

 

As others have said having a supportive partner is key. I breastfeed exclusiively but my husband is supportive in other ways and because our son is happy spending time with him (besides feeding/wanting a mummy cuddle) it frees me up when I need a break/our daughter wants mummy time. 

 

Expect the unexpected!

Post # 23
Member
224 posts
Helper bee

TravelingBride31 :  Totally agree with your post.

The temperment of the baby is I think a HUGE one, and that’s terrifying cause it’s a total crapshoot. You’re basically playing Russian roulette lol. We lucked out with a relatively easy baby who was always a good sleeper and rarely cried unless something obvious was wrong.

I think as parents we are also fairly laid back…for example I never had an issue putting her in a safe place while I took a leisurely 10-15 min shower (but then again maybe that would have been harder for me if she’d been a screamer). We also get babysitters on the reg so we can do date nights. We also did some gentle sleep training very, very early which I think helped …neither of us functions well when badly sleep deprived.

The area where I’ve struggled the most is support. We have no local family (everyone is at least a plane ride away) and few local friends due to being relatively new to the area. My husband is a workaholic with a very demanding job that involves a lot of travel, and there’ve been many days (and nights) where I’ve had to essentially go it alone. He was like this before we had a baby and it didn’t bother me then cause I’m the type who is content to stay at home with a book or Netflix and a bottle of wine, but with a baby on the scene and zero family around to help, it’s another friggin story.

While in theory my husband doesn’t subscribe to gendered notions of what each parent should bring to the table, he tends to get absorbed in his own world with his work and just sort of takes it for granted that I’ll be there doing what needs to be done for the baby. That has created resentment at times, which has probably been my biggest struggle since becoming a mother.

I will add the caveat that in the sleepless newborn phase he was super involved and would take the graveyard shift every night despite having to go to work the next day. So that was, imo, as it should be. It was actually once things got “easier” with the baby that my resentment toward him began to build.

We’ve definitely had a few “come to jesus” chats since our baby was born, which have basically involved me losing my shit and saying I need more support from him, and then him changing x y or z to help me. It’s a work in progress, but through regular communication (sometimes more gentle than others lol) and frequent reevaluations of who’s responsible for what and when etc, we’ve managed to keep it together.

With all that being said, I’ll be cringey for a moment and say that our daughter is the literal light of our life. Our life has been turned upside down since she arrived on the scene but it is a million times better for having her in it! 

Post # 24
Member
314 posts
Helper bee

You say that your friends haven’t actually SAID that motherhood is easy. You’re just assuming they’re finding it that way. I can tell you that all of my friends IRL would say that I am knocking motherhood out of the park, when the truth is that I have never been more lost or miserable in my entire life. I have a 6 week old that I am committed to taking care of and I will always do everything in my power to do right by her, but she would scream the house down 20 hours a day if I weren’t holding her constantly. The only time she isn’t crying is when she’s eating or I’m doing laps around the house with her in the baby carrier. You can read my thread if you want to know how horrific this experience has been for me, but I swear to you that if we knew each other in real life, you would think I was breezing through. Everyone who has visited or I’ve run into grocery shopping or whatever has commented on how great I look and how calm and happy I seem.  I’m working really hard to put on a good face because my daughter will be growing up with my friends’ kids and I don’t want to color their perception of her and I don’t want word to get out that she’s a special needs baby because we’re still trying to get her a spot in day care. I’m just saying, one or a few of your girlfriends could be circling the drain unbeknownst to you, so don’t assume people are being transparent about their experiences. 

 

Post # 25
Member
224 posts
Helper bee

helixthecat :  “I’m just saying, one or a few of your girlfriends could be circling the drain unbeknownst to you, so don’t assume people are being transparent about their experiences.”

Bee, I hope you will take your own words to heart next time you get frustrated cause it seems like all your mom friends are coasting through their mat leaves getting mani/pedis all day!

Post # 26
Member
243 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

As others have said everyone’s expereince and babies are so different.

For me I find being a mom very challenging and don’t enjoy it a lot of the times.

The first year with my baby was one of the worst years of my life. A lot of anxiety, fatigue, crying, fights with husband. I was honestly glad to go back to my job because my job is easier than taking care of a baby (for others it may be the opposite). Also my husband stayed home for 4 months so I did have help, but we don’t live near our parents, so that was a bummer.

I wish I had known how hard it would be, maybe I would have had more realistic expectations, not thought everything would be so wonderful or so “worth it” as I have heard many moms say. Not my experience!!!

At least now my child is a toddler and I actually find it easier than when she was a baby and I had to hold her all the time and have her fuss and cry . I have hope that it gets easier and better. I read that after age 5 it does (until the teenage years of course LOL)

Post # 27
Member
1825 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I actually loved the newborn stage.  I had so much trouble sleeping in my third trimester that actually being able to sleep in 2-3 hour chunks felt amazing.  I showered and ate.  I didn’t let my baby cry, because it felt uncomfortable to me due to lactation issues.  She didn’t cry that much.  

We did get tired sometimes.  My husband got stressed out if he didn’t get enough sleep and then had to work.  But we were so in love with our baby and each other. Honestly the hardest part for us was that one of my dogs developed epilepsy right around when my baby was born.  Repeatedly dragging a newborn to the emergency vet in the middle of the night with a seizing dog was a true nightmare.  But I managed it, and we ended up finding a medication that fixed the problem for my dog.  And obviously that was an unusual circumstance. 

I had a bit of an emotional crisis when I was hormonal from stopping breastfeeding when she was a year.  Once I realized why I was feeling the way I was, I was able to control it while my hormones leveled out.  It felt like going through puberty again. I found out my daughter had food allergies when she was 9 months old, which made it a little more challenging to eat around her or go to restaurants.  But before that, I had no problems.

My house was in a decent state until I got pregnant with my second when my daughter was 2.5 years old.  I’m currently pregnant and feel exhausted and my house is a disaster.  Hopefully I can get things back in order when this baby is born.  I may just suck at pregnancy, but my life is so much worse while I am pregnant than when I have a newborn baby, personally.

Post # 28
Member
517 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

If you think of what people post about online, people are more apt to post a negative review of a place than a positive review. People are more apt to ask for help on message boards or seek support when they are struggling than reach out when they are doing well. Unless you are on instagram most women don’t post about how lovely they are finding the transition to motherhood or how well their baby is sleeping and such. If you look at internet, social media and media in general is gives a very distorted view of things depending on the platform.

I find looking around the real world to be a much better guage of things.

Post # 29
Member
222 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

If you are flexible with your expectations and have a supportive network and partner,  you will be fine. 

Post # 30
Member
9212 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

smallbee :  I always love your posts on this topic bc I had the exact same experience ❤️ 

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