A pregnant friend recently found out she is expecting and asked me what it was like to go through pregnancy and the first couple years of parenthood. I told her it’s hard to explain and gave her a generic answer about how wonderful it is to have kids, and how much I love being a mom, and of course, she would love it too. Then I gave it some thought and realized I can come up with a much better answer then that. So here goes!
Going through pregnancy: Going through pregnancy is amazing… at times. When you focus only on the baby growing inside you, hearing their little heartbeat for the first time, feeling that first little flutter, seeing them on the ultrasound screen. It’s amazing. Absolutely breathtaking. I was just as awed the first time I experienced any of those things as I was every time after that. It amazed me that my body was able to create such a perfect little being. But then there is the other side of all that amazingness. There are aches, pains, morning (ALL DAY) sickness, getting a cold and not being able to take anything for it… you get the point. There are two sides of it. And my answer as to whether I enjoy being pregnant tends to change depending how I feel that day. Then of course as you get to the end of your pregnancy, there is the countdown to a day that your baby may or may not be born on. I don’t know why we even get due dates. We just just get an approximation of when the baby will be here, that’s all a due date is anyways. But that’s not the point here. At the end of your pregnancy, you feel like a waddling whale, you can’t bend over to tie your shoes and you can’t sleep. Then the most amazing thing happens… you go into labor.
Labor is only amazing for the first few minutes when you realize that the baby is actually going to make an appearance, then you realize that you are in this for the long haul and all of a sudden it just hurts. Like nothing you have ever felt before. But we’ll fast forward through all that stuff and go straight to the point you can actually hold your newborn!
The first time you hold your newborn (once you have gotten past the pain and exhaustion) is amazing. Absolutely amazing. To think that this little creature grew inside of you for nine long, long months and now is looking up to you like you have all the answers… You do have them right? I didn’t. I guess my kids handbooks got lost on the way out. Or the nurses kept them. I didn’t get them that’s all I know. And so begins parenting.
What’s it like being a parent? Hmm… let me see. It’s exhausting. And stressful. And you will quickly learn there are no right answers. Just a lot (and I mean a lot) of theories. Like a lot of them. And most of them won’t work for you, your spouse, or (most of the time) your child. You might as well just accept right off the hop that you are going to have to make it all up as you go along. But it’s also the most amazing thing I have ever done. It’s overwhelming and scary to be sure. To think that this little being is going to be shaped by me… I doubt myself all the time. I wonder all the time if I am making the right choices for my kids. Especially when they are picking on one another, not sharing, not sleeping through the night like all my friends kids are. I wonder what I am doing wrong. But then I hear people tell me how well behaved they think my toddler is when he can walk through a store holding onto the stroller and listening to me. I hear my 2 year old helping his little brother learn to walk, and reassuring him when he falls down that it was a ‘good try Nick’ and my heart melts. I realize that somewhere along the line, I am teaching my kids to care about one another. Somewhere in all the chaos of a house with two toddlers I am doing something right.
My point? Going through parenting and raising kids is an adventure. Nothing is going to prepare you for it. There aren’t enough books in the world (and you definitely don’t have time to read them all anyways) to cover every single aspect to parenting there is. The best way to sum it up is Adventure. Buckle up and get ready, because my dear friend, nothing is going to be the same again. Ever.
Love, hugs and more to come later