Perhaps you’ve heard a few horror stories about lack of sleep, poop explosions, or hysterical tantrums, but most likely you’ve been spared the truly bad and the truly ugly and only been told the adorable good. It’s probably just a defense mechanism, something we do to do preserve the continuation of the human race. If we told it like it really is, maybe we wouldn’t be so overpopulated.
I kid, of course. Having a child is the single most life-altering, incredible, hardest, downright beautiful endeavor that you’re insanely lucky to be on. If you are on the brink of discovering this for yourself, you’re likely wondering about the things you haven’t been told.
The 4 things every new parent should be told (but probably aren’t)
Your Priorities Will Shift
Becoming a parent suddenly puts things into perspective. You’ll realize–very quickly–just how short this life is. Wasting it is a travesty. Having a child is a practice in figuring out what really matters. This might feel a little overwhelming at times, but if you embrace it, it’s a magical gift.
Your Body May–or May Not–Bounce Back…and That’s Perfectly Okay
Can we just forget about this whole ‘body-after-baby/mom body/have-you-lost-your-baby-weight’ guilt we shame new mothers into stressing about? Who even cares? If you had your child via pregnancy (because, let’s face it, there are many ways to become a parent), your body is going to be altered. You might have forever widened hips, or bigger feet, or even, amazingly, new food allergies. And for some, you might even have a weakening of your pelvic floor muscles that can lead to incontinence (it’s far more common than you might think! And don’t worry, there are incontinence products for women that make this a little less embarrassing). Loving your body is, for most women, a lifelong struggle. Knowing that you will be altered after having a baby–in ways you might not have expected–is an important step to accepting this new self.
You will have different nutritional needs
Pregnancy is a wild thing. Childbirth is miraculous. If you breastfeed, it’s incredible. Our bodies made, birthed, and then sustained another human being. And all three of these things mean that your body has been thoroughly depleted of nutrients. It’s important to up your nutrition during pregnancy…and well beyond. A solid diet in colorful vegetables and fruits for vitamins and vital nutrients, and sufficient iron, healthy fats, fiber, and protein are essential to giving your own body what it needs to recover and then thrive during this period of sustaining another.
You’ll be hyper aware of potential danger
This one was unexpected for me as I’m not an anxious person by nature. I’m typically easy-going (to a fault), and I need a healthy dose of adrenaline in my life to feel my happiest self. But before I even knew I was pregnant, my body became hyper aware of all dangers…both real and imagined…all on its own. Of course it’s just nature’s way of keeping your little one safe and alive, but it can be a bit hard to come to terms with if, pre-baby, you weren’t aware that literally everything is a potential threat to your baby’s precious life.