You can read all of the parenting books and articles online until you’re blue in the face. You can talk to your mom and all your mama friends and heed all of the advice. You can think you’re prepared. But here’s the cold hard truth: There is nothing. I repeat, NOTHING, that can prepare you for having a baby.
It is, without a doubt, the most jarring and life-changing experience I’ve yet to encounter.
While there’s nothing that can prepare you for it, there are a few things I wish I would’ve known leading up to having Beckett, my first.
Y’all. I have no idea why I thought Beckett would arrive before his August 3 due date, but I did. I believed it with every fiber of my being. My bags were packed and set by the door at 37 weeks when the OB told me I had dilated 1 centimeter. Yes, one.
Believe me when I tell you that I cried in the doctor’s office in the following weeks when that dilation did not progress and my stubborn baby decided he was content right where he was – in my womb. Not only that, though, I was a monster – a real life monster – because I wasn’t going into labor despite all of my attempts to induce it. Pineapple, anyone?
Lo and behold, Beckett arrived three days after his due date on August 6. Due dates, y’all. They’re real.
Ummm ouch. Once that epidural wore off and I could feel all of the things, I knew I was in. for. it. I mean, I had just pushed a human being out of my body, but that epidural is a master at masking what’s actually going on.
Walking at all, even from one side to the other of our 850 square foot apartment, was treacherous. Coughing, laughing, sitting down, standing up, getting in and out of the shower, you know, all of the seemingly normal things you do on a day to day basis and think nothing about? Well suddenly, they’re all painful activities.
But you know what? I wrote a whole blog post on this topic, so if you want to hear more candid thoughts, join me here.
I actually could not believe my emotions after having Beckett. Just as due dates are real, so are hormones, and they will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. I was absolutely not prepared to cry over all of things and also nothing at all.
It’s one of the most out of control feelings I’ve ever experienced, because you literally can NOT control it. And in case you’re wondering, these are not all happy tears. There are some happy tears mixed in, but personally, I also experienced quite a bit of sadness.
In retrospect, I think a lot of had to do with the loss of my pre-baby life and the overwhelming feeling of knowing that you have to care for this person in one way or another for the rest of your life. Emotionally, it’s a lot to take on and your hormones are not helpful at. all. So when you’re out buying tiny onesies in preparation for your baby’s arrival, but the value pack of tissues too.
So this may seem like a shameless self plug seeing that I am, in fact, a newborn photographer. And maybe it is to some extent, but it’s also true.
I’m almost ashamed to even admit it, but I, Morgan Williams, did not hire a newborn photographer when Beckett was born. In my defense, I naively thought that I would take the photos. And I did… about two and a half weeks later once I could walk and squat and bend over like a normal human being.
What I didn’t know, though, is that newborns change fast. The difference between day 7 and day 17 is significant, and what I wouldn’t give to have a precious photo of my first baby at day 7. It actually makes me sick every time I think about it.
Not only that, though. Photographing his newborn photos myself meant that there were no photos of the three of us together. Cue even more feelings of sickness.
Believe me. I of all people definitely know that newborn photography is an investment. But those first few days, as rough as they may be, are days that you will never ever get back. So don’t make the same mistake I did. Hire a newborn photographer who will document that fleeting season of your life as beautifully as possible.
Even though you’re pregnant for nine months, you don’t anticipate the gravity of the change that’s going to happen. Of course, there are the big things like no longer sleeping through the night. You see that coming.
What you don’t see coming, though, are the interruptions to the seemingly routine parts of your life. An uninterrupted dinner with your husband, a stress-free trip to the grocery store, going for a quick workout whenever you please, spontaneously hitting the road for a quick weekend getaway and even cooking dinner from beginning to end without a seven pound human screaming at you suddenly become significantly more novel. Even unattainable at times.
When I say everything changes, I actually mean EVERYTHING changes. I actually don’t think there are words that exist that could accurately describe just how momentous this change is, though. Which is probably why I didn’t know this before Beckett was born. There was no way for anyone to tell me.
Here’s the good news about everything changing, though: your heart changes too. It grows and you fall in love with that precious child who’s just turned your world upside down. And despite the pain and the intense emotions, logic flies out the window and you wouldn’t trade it for the world. Because all of this means that that sweet baby is yours, and as you’ll soon find out, there is nothing else like it.