*This is a guest post
Becoming a mother has been the most rewarding and beautiful experience in my life thus far. Throughout the good, the bad and the ugliest of times with my little one, it has been an amazing journey. With that said, I don’t want to sugarcoat anything for you. Parenting is hard. It’s physically, mentally and emotionally taxing on both parents and child. There are going to be times where you’ll want to give up and you won’t know what to do. Every decision you have to make – including those pertaining to buying the right baby gear – will be confusing, especially if you’re a first time parent.
I don’t want this post to seem negative, because I truly have enjoyed my parenting journey. I want to write this for you because I don’t want you to feel totally blindsided when things happen that you weren’t warned about. Everybody was so quick to tell me to “sleep when baby sleeps” or “supplement with formula” but there were so many things I wasn’t warned about at all that I wish I would have been.
Alone Time Doesn’t Exist Anymore
I knew that I’d be sacrificing a lot of my pre-baby lifestyle, but what I wasn’t prepared for was just how little time I would get to myself. We were fortunate enough to have a lot of help in the first few months after my first child was born, but parenting is still a full-time job.
I went from taking long showers alone to taking 5-minute power showers with my daughter sitting in her bouncer right outside of the shower. Naps were few and far between while we were trying to get her on a solid sleep schedule and it caused me to neglect myself as I devoted my entire being to doting to my daughter’s every need. I would go almost a week without a shower or brushing my hair simply because I would forget that I needed one.
That may seem gross, but alas it is one of the many harsh realities of parenting.
Don’t get me wrong, my daughter is my best friend and I love spending time with her, but I cherish those few moments I get alone in the shower as it’s really the only alone time I get anymore.
My suggestion? Make the best of it. Spend some time together outdoors. You’re still not alone, but your little ones have room to crawl and run around and you can sit back for a minute and enjoy yourself. If your little ones aren’t quite mobile yet, this is a good time to break out the jogging stroller and go for a walk together. Make it a habit and you’ll soon realize that being outdoors offer a tremendous amount of benefits to your little ones.
None of Us (Really) Know What We’re Doing.
Don’t spend all of your time over thinking about whether or not you’re making the right decision as a parent. I struggled for the first few months and still struggle with some things today because I want everyone to believe that I have the parenting thing down to a T.
We put way too much pressure on ourselves as parents to be perfect and I hate that there are people out there that make us feel like we have to be that way.
Prepare to be Puked, Peed and Pooped On
Actually, a month is a little lenient. I can’t tell you how many times I was peed, pooped, puked and snotted on in the first week of being home. You may get lucky, like my significant other, and not have to suffer until almost a month. However, chances are, if you’re a mumom, you’ll probably experience what I did I’m sorry to say.
If there was a way to avoid this, I would tell you in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, this is one of those unavoidable things that you have to deal with.
Your Sex Drive Will Never be the Same
I know this is among those things that nobody really wants to talk about, but unfortunately it is a reality for a lot of new mothers, myself included. I’ve always been pretty modest and I’ve never felt comfortable talking about anything that has to do with sex.
It wasn’t until recently that I found out just how common a low sex drive after pregnancy and birth is. Now that I know I’m not alone, I feel a lot more confident about owning up to my body no matter how embarrassing it may be.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) is Real and it can Suck
Fortunately, I was able to dodge the PPD monster, but a few other moms I see regularly dealt with it pretty hard. If you feel like something is off, don’t hesitate to seek help. If I were in that situation, I would much rather go to my doctor and find out it’s only hormones and exhaustion than not go and suffer from PPD in silence.
You should never be ashamed if you experience postpartum depression. In the UK 1 in 10 women suffer from Post Natal Depression according to the NHS. In the U.S, 1 in every 7 women suffering from PPD according to the American Psychological Association (APA), . The APA has a comprehensive list of symptoms of PPD to look out for, but here are the most common:
Disinterest in the care for your baby
Loss of interest in daily activities
Eating more or less than usual
Uncontrollable episodes of crying
If you suspect that you may have postpartum depression, contact your doctor for help. They will be able to point you into the right direction to recovery. The APA also suggests being open about how you feel with friends and family and spending time outside once the doctor “okays” it.
The Postpartum Health Alliance gives you the option to speak with other mothers who have had PPD and that can really help you feel like you aren’t alone, because you are not!
I hope I’ve prepared you for the rough stuff of parenting and I wish you the best of luck on your parenting journey. You’re going to have the ride of your life!
Author bio: Jenn is a blogger for Mommy Stroller, which focuses on helping parents figure out which stroller and baby gear they should get. The blog was started by Evelyn and her husband, Paul, who both decided to blog about baby gear after the overwhelming feeling they experienced when trying to pick out their first stroller. Both of them enjoy spending time with family and friend, live music, and going on jogs with their kids (in a stroller).