Post # 31
I have definitely found there to be a bit of a disconnect between what I’ve heard/been told and my own personal experience. In saying that, I’ve certainly found motherhood challenging but it really hasn’t been that bad. There are definite ups and downs, you’ve just gotta muddle your way through them. Also remember that every baby and every family is different.
Our little one was a good sleeper for the first few months so sleep deprivation wasn’t too much of a problem (although feeding every 3 hours is a drain on your reserves). When his sleep went to hell around 4 months it was harder but we made do. He had awful awful gas pains from a few days old and it was a nightmare trying to sort them out, but once we found something that worked it was fine. He’s 15 months now and we still have good/bad days as well as good/bad nights. But just watching this tiny person grow and develop their own personality is so amazing. And it’s so amazing that my husband and I created that tiny person. I wouldn’t trade him for the world and cannot imagine my life without him.
Post # 32
leebee333 : I wonder whether there is any way to know in advance whether it will put a lot of strain on your relationship/whether your relationship is strong enough to be ready for the stress that a child will bring.
A baby will put a lot of strain. Period. It’s just how well you cope with it. Our biggest issue was our sex life – my husband is a very physical person and between non-stop nursing and a baby that primarily wanted to sleep lying on my chest I was touched. out. Zero part of me wanted to have sex for months. He was understanding but also feeling rejected and frustrated. Being patient with each other helped us get through the early months and back on track. My husband was also an amazing birth partner and did EVERYTHING for the first couple weeks. I think my daughter was at least a week old before I changed a diaper lol. I pushed a human being out of my body and then was keeping it alive with my boobs – I had no other tasks he expected me to do while I was healing from a post partum hemorhage and 2nd degree tear. If you have a guy that gets that then you’ll be golden.
Post # 33
leebee333 : I know some people who genuinely love the newborn phase. I’d say most of my friend group has found it really hard, but some still liked it anyway. I personally have had one really, really hard baby and one fairly easy baby. And I have hated the newborn stage both times. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it is worth it on the other side.
Post # 34
Also I think there is an unrealistic societal expectation put on mothers to love it – to cherish every second, to appreciate it because “you’ll miss it one day”, to be happy and put together and to love baby with your entire being from day one. I think a lot of women are faking it.
Post # 35
leebee333 : Ok, so I definitely agree with a lot of what previous posters have said. That said, I have a 2.5 month old and he is EASY. He sleeps 10 hours at night, takes 4-5 naps, alone, in his bassinet, every day, and is as happy as can be when he’s awake. He’s the best, and I’m lucky enough to be able to stay home with him all day, and I love it. We get out of the house every day pretty much, I have showered every single day since I gave birth, and he barely cries. I know I’m insanely lucky…and I also know this could change at any moment and my perfect little boy could start giving me a run for my money. (I also have an extremely supportive, awesome husband who got 8 weeks of paternity leave and that made ALL the difference.)
At the same time, the first few weeks were ROUGH. He didn’t sleep unless he was being held, breastfeeding was painful and challenging, and my hormones and postpartum body didn’t cope well. I honestly had so many moments where I thought to myself that we had made a HUGE mistake having a baby and giving up our easy, uncomplicated life.
Now, though, only a few weeks later, those memories have really faded. I think some of that is just the general brain fog that comes with having a newborn, but I’m convinced it’s also biological…or no one would ever have more than one child. It’s the same with pregnancy/labor – I had a really tough delivery and was convinced I’d never do that again. Almost three months later, though, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat (in a couple of years, of course).
All of this is to say that I don’t think your friends are lying or minimizing things – sometimes, a newborn or young infant really can be easy! Hopefully you’ll be that lucky, too!
Post # 36
carolinabelle : this. My Mother-In-Law would say “omg she’s so precious. Aren’t you just in heaven all the time???”
uh…no. no I am not. I haven’t slept more than 3 hours at a time in 2 weeks, my vagina is all torn up, my nipples are killing me, my PP hormones have me randomly bursting into tears with no warning, and I have to deal with people like you who tell me I should be loving every second so now I’m feeling guilty and wondering what’s wrong with me.
Post # 37
LilliV : Yup. After my first, super dragon, incredibly colicky, milk allergy baby was born I was a hermit for weeks because I couldn’t even get off the couch much less get dressed and leave. I finally ventured out to walk the mall with him and he was screaming the entire time, I was heading to my car trying to keep from bursting into tears and I ran into a coworker who was like “oh my god isn’t it just the BEST?!?!” and then I realized something must be really really wrong with either A. me or B. my baby. Turns out having a newborn is just really fucking hard and no one tells you. But now he’s 2 and yes, he’s the BEST.
Post # 38
LilliV : Ugh I hate those comments so much. In the first few days after I gave birth, my mom must have said 10 times “aren’t you just so in love with her? dont you feel like youve known her YOUR WHOLE LIFE???”
I was like…pretty much all I’m capable of feeling now is that a bowling ball has just dropped out of my vag and I’m really fucking tired but can’t sleep more than 30 min at a time due to this TOTAL STRANGER who is 100% dependent on me for her every need. So no, I don’t feel like I’ve known her my whole life and I don’t even feel like I “love” her yet, thx for the guilt trip on both counts!
Post # 39
leebee333 : Re predicting how much strain a baby will put on your marriage…it’s hard to say because there are a lot of variables, but some strain is probably unavoidable due to the sleep deprivation you’ll experience for at least the first month or two. I’d say any “weak points” in your marriage now will be highlighted 100-fold once you have a baby, so be honest with yourself about what those are before TTC.
For example, if your husband has to be nagged to do chores around the house, your annoyance over that will turn to straight rage once y’all have a baby to look after. Or if you guys tend to “keep score” about who does what, that’s going to be magnified with a baby. If your husband likes partying a little too hard sometimes, your patience for that will go straight out the window once a baby is on the scene. If IN LAWS are already putting a strain on your relationship, that shit will only get 100x worse with a baby. If anyone has issues with anxiety, those will likely escalate with a baby to care for. Etc etc etc. These are all examples of things my various mom friends have complained about or that I’ve experienced myself.
Post # 40
I have had fairly easy babies, but a relatively challenging toddler (challenging in the fact that he is completely physically oriented and needs to be watched with an eagle eye wherever we go because he tends to roam). I think it’s all in the combination of the baby and the parents personalities and temperaments. We have a fairly calm life, but it’s intensely difficult to socialize with a child who is always running off. I wouldn’t say I’m having the time of my life, but it’s also not miserable – just lonely. I’m pretty excited for my boys to get older. The first handful of years are adorable, but just not very fulfilling in my experience. I don’t think the people who ADORE babies and toddlers are lying, I just think theirs is not a universal experience.
Post # 41
emilyofnewmoon : YES! So very true about every existing annoyance in your marriage being magnified by a baby. You suddenly have NO time, energy, or patience and a ton of extra stuff and stress. (Also obviously lots of new wonderful love and joy!) So anything that was annoying before becomes practically unbearable.
I was previously married and we had issues with slobbiness, wildly mismatched schedules and internal clocks, keeping track of who sacrificed / did what, and different conflict styles. I am so thankful that my exH and I didn’t have kids, even though he’s awesome and would be an amazing father in many ways. It would have thrown a nuclear bomb into our already tenuous peace and happiness.
My husband and I have a 1 year old, and I can honestly say that our marriage is stronger and happier than before he came along. Almost all of that is due to there not being those underlying issues in our marriage… we are very similar in level of uptight-ness (not very), tidiness (fairly), conflict (address things calmly right away), schedules (bed at 10-11 and up at 6-7 or whenever the baby wakes), etc. He is very hands on with the baby and with household tasks, which means I don’t have to nag or resent him. We appreciate the sacrifices each other makes and take turns doing them as much as possible. Parenthood has not been low-stress for us — little guy has a genetic condition with various health and developmental affects – and even so, it’s really strengthened our marriage.
I’d say gauging the level of underlying stressors in your marriage, and how hands-on of a parent and household member your husband will be, will tell you a lot about a baby’s potential effect on your marriage.
Also agree on how annoying those comments are. “Aren’t you soooo in love??!” “Actually, I’m a little resentful that this screaming potato is stealing all my sleep and dependent on me to take care of him, when I know nothing about newborns and feel like I got hit by a physical and emotional truck! I mean I love him and all but…. can I tap out for a day?”
Post # 42
I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I had terrible PPD with my first, less terrible with my second, and got on drugs before I had my third (can I get an amen)- so felt fantastic. All of our kids were relatively good- though until I had my third baby (who is a wonderful sleeper, good eater, and all around good guy) I didn’t realize what “easy” babies were like. So- are your friends off-base? Nah. Likely they just either A. don’t know any different, B. actually have easy babies, or C. are just kind of rolling with it (hello parenthood). I think there are really really hard things about being a Mom- for me, the loss of identity and struggle to find myself after children has been a HUGE challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, and I love being a mom, but I also loved who I was before children- and sometimes I miss that gal. And now that we’re done having kids, I’m working on getting some of that person back into my life. It’s change, and for some people, change is easy, and for others, change is a disaster. Also, babies who don’t sleep, babies who don’t eat or have reflux or cry all the time (you name your baby issue), can really throw people for a loop for a while. It’s certainly not all sunshine and roses all the time, but it’s also not the worst thing. It can be really, really hard. It can also be really, really rewarding. I also agree with others- a balanced partnership can make a huge difference (or a good support network). Also wine. Wine helps 🙂
Post # 43
Hey bees, thanks again for the awesome food for thought. I found everything mentioned really helpful and it definitely makes me think we can do this and gave me hope, not because everyone made it sound easy but because I see now there are certain things (asode from the “luck of the draw” of getting a baby who is a good sleeper/eater etc) that make a huge difference. It dies demystify it a bit for me and maybe explains why what i read is so different from what some people are saying their experience is in RL. I also feel a bit more positive because I realised that my H is so hands-on with our household and he is incredible at picking up the slack when I’m sick, so that gives me hope that he will be a hands-on parent and supportive of me too. I guess I didn’t realise just how big a difference that can make, but it’s like a golden thread through all the posts about how much it helps to have a person you can trust to do more than just “help out” but actually rely on!
There is nothing we can do about what kind of baby we would have (if the treatment even works, but thats a whole other story!) but I see now the importance of building up a good support network, making sure we address any underlying little things in our marriage and for me to explore how I adapt to change/respond to stress etc.
I’m kind of overwhelmed by how helpful these responses hve been! Thanks everyone!!
Post # 44
Bumping this because I found it a fascinating read! Darling Husband and I are going to start talking baby later next year, and being a type A person, I find these sorts of “what you should know” threads helpful. My mom was made to be a mom and has never once complained, but then it seems like 90% of the people I’m friends with on Facebook have one positive thing about their parenting journey/child to say for every two hundred negative things, so I don’t feel like I have a very balanced view IRL.
Does anyone here have a husband who is a little more anxious? If so, how did you guys handle the added stress? Darling Husband and I are both homebodies with very baby-friendly lives (on weekends we tend to putter around, we go for separate runs, maybe visit family) and flexible jobs, so none of that especially worries me. He arguably does far more cooking and cleaning than I do, so that doesn’t worry me either. I did notice on our first big trip together though that he gets anxious/frustrated fairly easy when he’s out of his element, so I’m definitely making a mental note to be prepared for that.
Anyhow, I don’t have kids yet and don’t want to talk out of my ass, but I have noticed that, as a bystander/outside observer, parent personality seems to make a big difference. One of my friends had a baby with some pretty serious health issues as a newborn, but she was very even-tempered and laid-back, so even his challenges didn’t ever phase her much. On the other hand, both a cousin and good friend (separate babies, not together) have ridiculously good and easy babies (by their own admission), but both of them are fairly high-strung people and REALLY struggled at first. Of course, I also strongly suspect that lack of sleep can cause some pretty intense personality shifts, so who knows!