A couple of weeks ago, a friend who just had a baby had a baby shower (her baby arrived 5 weeks early). I was sitting next to her at this event and she leaned over to me and said, “Does it get easier?”
I just read a forum post that asked if anyone was really fully prepared for motherhood which got me thinking about 13 months ago when I found out I was going to be a mom for the first time.
My husband and I had decided when we first got married that we were going to wait a couple of years and then talk about having kids. He had a degree to finish and I wanted to get a good, full-time job so we could save some good money for a home. However, 5 months into marriage, we got pregnant. Sometimes we claim that we didn’t plan the pregnancy or that we didn’t know it was coming, but we actually did … we were just in strong denial and didn’t want to admit our plans had changed.
Lots of people gave me advice for pregnancy, labor and delivery, and for sleepless nights after the arrival of the baby. I read some books and read articles and forums online. I thought I had a pretty good idea of how tough it would be to be a mom. Little did I know, motherhood is nothing like I expected it to be. For some reason, there is no real, good way of explaining what it’s like to be a mother.
Like many people in the forum that I was reading mentioned, nursing the baby is a lot harder than I expected. I spent many hours crying from it because not only was I not producing enough milk , but it hurt more than I could have ever imagined. I felt like all I was doing was trying to sleep, feeding the baby, and changing diapers. In fact, the first couple of weeks, I’m pretty sure that’s all I did do. There just wasn’t much time for anything else after a one-hour feeding. I felt like I had a productive day if I actually ate three meals and prepared one of them myself – even if it was just pouring my own bowl of cereal. It was a tough few weeks.
At 5 weeks, my baby began sleeping 6-8 hours each night. I had never valued sleep as much as I did at that time. This was also when I started realizing how great motherhood is and realizing that I could make it through this. Looking back on the first 5 weeks, I have realized that sleep is really important to functioning normally. I don’t remember much of the first 5 weeks because of sheer exhaustion. At 5 weeks, when people asked me how I was doing, I could honestly reply, “Each day gets better and I love it.”
Now 5 months later, I am still loving being a mom. Some days I wish I didn’t have to clean up any messy diapers or have to deal with a grumpy baby, but I really can’t imagine my life being any different. This is the most rewarding experience I could have ever imagined for myself.
But at the same time, to all of my friends who have recently become new mothers, I cannot even begin to describe what being a mother is going to be like for the first couple of months. There’s no way to put into words the extreme lows and the extreme highs and everything in between. But to answer the question, “Does it get easier,” my reply is, “Yes! It gets easier and so much better!”