You’ve seen variations of this kind of blog post everywhere. “10 Brutally Honest Truths about Motherhood,” “Things They Never Tell You About Having a Baby,” or “15 Mistakes Made by First Time Moms.” Like, if you don’t read these blog posts then you’re going into child rearing completely blind and you’re going to be a failure at mommyhood.
This brings me to a quote by Seth Rogen from one of my favorite movies, Knocked Up. “I didn’t read the baby books! What’s gonna happen? How did anyone ever give birth without a baby book?! That’s right, the ancient Egyptians f***ing engraved What to Expect When You’re Expecting on the pyramid walls! I forgot about that! Who gives a flying f*** about the baby books?!” This. This is how I feel about all those dumb click-bait articles from BabyGooGoo.com, etc.
So, why am I making one of my own, you ask? Because this Mama likes to keep it real. I’m going to strip away the fluff for you and tell you my 100% honest opinion on the first three months of motherhood, aka the “fourth trimester.” Now, every woman takes to new baby life differently, so please don’t take this post too seriously. You’re going to make it through this, whether you read this silly blog post or not. I promise.
First things first: your baby is going to come out looking weird. as. hell. This was about five minutes after Piper was born. At the time, I couldn’t imagine laying my eyes on a more beautiful living creature. Looking back, I realize she looked identical to the baby from “Dinosaurs.” Not the mama!
Your fresh baby is going to be gross. She’s going to be covered in guts and white stuff and she’s going to be swollen and purple. Is that going to keep you from kissing her little face and thinking she’s the most perfect-looking newborn baby to ever exist? Nope.
Those first few days in the hospital feel like an actual dream. You haven’t slept in 72 hours, but you’re on this ridiculous “new mommy” high and it feels like you’ll never come down from the adrenaline. Even when Piper would sleep, either my mind would be racing or I would just lie awake staring at her. I kept telling myself, “you’re going to regret posting pictures of her to Facebook at 4am instead of sleeping.” Did that stop me? Negative.
Clearly, Blake did not suffer from the same problem.
In the words of Jigsaw from the “Saw” series: there will be blood. Good god. So much blood. This is not necessarily something I wasn’t aware would happen, but I just didn’t know the extent of it. I was not completely prepared for us both to be coming home in diapers.
Going home is terrifying. I have experience with babies. I worked in the nurseries of daycares for quite some time. I have a natural maternal instinct. When I was pregnant, I was never nervous about not knowing what to do. When we were snug in the hospital, I was so anxious to go home.
It didn’t hit me until our nurse was loading us up in the wheelchair and pushing us through the automatic doors into the real world. Suddenly, my heart was hammering. In my brain, I was shouting “how do you know you can trust us alone with this baby!? Why do you just assume we’re ready to take this on by ourselves after two measly days!? Turn this wheelchair around! You have entirely too much faith in me!”
After two to three days of round-the-clock care from nurses and doctors who are making sure your baby is healthy and safe, the outside world seems incredibly dark and scary. This baby is yours to care for. Like, you actually have to keep it alive on your own now. Terror. Sheer terror.
Once you’re home, you will feel so alone and so suffocated at the same time. I am the least depressed person on planet earth. Positivity and optimism ooze out of my ears. I’m naturally a very happy person. I had read that having a baby will throw your emotions for a massive loop, but I disregarded it. I’m not an unstable person. I truly didn’t think those postpartum baby blues warnings applied to me. Boy, was I wrong.
Those first few days at home were an absolute rollercoaster of emotions. One minute, I would be gazing into my new daughter’s eyes and feeling nothing but pure joy and then suddenly I would start sobbing because someone didn’t close a kitchen drawer all the way.
There are going to be a lot of family and friends coming by to bring you groceries or cook you dinner or just hold the baby. You’re going to be so incredibly happy to see them at first and then, for no reason at all, you’re going to want to throw things at them. They’re going to say things like “let me hold the baby while you get some rest” and without explanation you’ll be thinking “don’t tell me to get some rest! She’s my baby and I’ll hold her if I damn well please! Get out of my house!”
You’re going to be SO ready for some space and alone time. Before you know it, your husband will go back to work and the visitor count will greatly decrease and soon you’ll feel so incredibly lonely. It will be just you and your wrinkly little demanding baby. You will sob because you feel bad for thinking such mean things about the people who wanted to help you. You will sob because you want someone to come hold your baby while you get some rest. Postpartum hormones are an absolute bitch.
This was New Years Eve. Blake was working late and all of my family and friends had plans. I had a new baby, a pile of laundry, and a face mask. At midnight, I was watching “Friends” re-runs in the dark and cleaning spit-up off the dog. This is new motherhood at it’s finest.
Leaving the house will become the bane of your existence. Have you ever gone grocery shopping with a ticking time bomb in your cart? Repeat after me: Amazon Prime.
The first time you pull yourself together and wear a little makeup and wash your hair, someone better have a damn camera ready.
Plus, a mimosa (or five).
You’re going to be tired. Shocking, I know. However, you will find a way to carry on. You won’t get more than two hours of consecutive sleep for at least four weeks, but somehow you find a way to nurture and love that tiny baby. You give her everything you have, plus everything you don’t. You drink four cups of coffee and scarf down a banana, all while looking like the hottest of messes, but you’re content because your baby is content.
I was utterly shocked at the strength and energy I was capable of mustering up in these first weeks. You physically feel like shit, your hormones are acting a fool, and your house is a wreck, but you find a way to balance it all like a boss. Expect to truly amaze yourself.
Then, once you think you’re finally emotionally stable enough to go back to work, you burst into tears because someone ate a slice of your “welcome back” cake before you could take a picture. Such is life.
The love that you feel for this fresh human is overwhelming and completely terrifying. You will constantly think about all the awful things that can happen to her and you will worry yourself absolutely sick. I’m still learning that this is all part of what they call “motherhood.”
Those first six weeks of motherhood are magical, disgusting, heartbreaking, beautiful, exhausting, and exciting all rolled into one emotional ass ball. Now that I have emerged from that “fourth trimester” cloud and my sweet Piper is five months old, I can look back on those first months and smile. You will, too. Eventually. I swear.