Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What to Expect As A New Mother - 5 Things That Took Me By Surprise!

(Our guest post today is by beautiful Bethany, one of the sweetest and nicest people we know!  Thank you Bethany! :)

I have a 9 month old daughter, Hallie, who is just the cutest thing (in my very biased opinion :P) in the whole entire world!!

She is our first so I guess you could say I'm still relatively new at the whole Mother thing.
I often get asked by people "Is motherhood what you expected?"
I find those sort of questions difficult to answer because I'm not the sort of person who generally thinks things through beforehand or has expectations.  ...I realise that makes me sound like a bimbo! Lol. But what I mean is that I try not to over think things that I have no control over; that way I'm not disappointed if things turn out differently than I anticipated.
Having said that, there are things about being a new mother that I totally expected. I expected that I would love my child like crazy, I expected that I would have a huge amount of pride in her, I expected that life would change etc.
But thinking about it, there are also things that took me a little by surprise...

1. I didn't expect that my baby would cry SO much!

My daughter, Hallie, had colic. It started getting better when she was about 14 weeks old, but those first 3.5 months were a bit hard. She cried and screamed all. day. long.
From when she woke up in the morning to when she finally conked out at about 11pm (with no daytime naps in between) she was screaming. Quite loudly as well. The poor little thing. We found that the only thing that calmed her, besides feeding, was to bounce her up and down (some medical reason about the bouncing motion helping things move through her stomach better..). From that, the gym ball in our house became our best friend :) We could sit and bounce in semi comfort .
My husband would come home to find me still in my PJs just sitting on this big blue bouncy ball with Hallie. No I hadn't cleaned my teeth. No I hadn't eaten any proper meals besides a piece of bread or chocolate here and there (chocolate - the ultimate comfort). And yes, I could tell him everything that had happened that day on Dr. Phil, Ellen, Jag, the Doctors, Friends, the News updates, and whatever else had been on TV in the last 12 hrs.
Robbie would come and relieve me of bouncing duties so that I could have a shower and then throughout the evening we'd take turns bouncing and eating our dinner etc.

Before I'd had the baby people had told us that babies just slept and ate, so I guess I'd come to expect that.
Not true.
I'm absolutely astounded when I see a newborn baby that just sleeps and eats!

2. I didn't expect to be quite so anxious
One thing that would really get to me is when we'd be driving in the car and Hallie would be crying because she was hungry. I'd start to get really antsy. If she was crying because she was tired, it wasn't so bad because I knew that sooner or later, she'd fall asleep.
But if they were hunger cries ringing out from the back seat, it'd kill me. Because that's my job, to feed her, and it meant that I was somehow not fulfilling my Mother role properly. If I was the one driving, my driving would start to get erratic and quite frankly a little dangerous. If  Robbie was the one driving, I'd start to get really snippy and want him to drive faster, faster, faster! Whether driving or not I'd find myself fidgeting and tapping my foot.
Now I know that reason says we'll be home in 5 mins and she's not going to waste away, and getting edgy and driving dangerous or being snappy with Robbie helps nothing. But in those moments, reason didn't really count. I only wanted to be out of that car, inside our house and fulfilling my baby's needs.
I didn't expect to be so anxious about things like that. I thought I'd be quite mellow at such times :P

3. I didn't expect to be quite so doting
I grew up with a mother who has always been 100% loving, but very steady and firm in her discipline or expectations. I worked in a day care center with 18 two year olds each day and I loved them to pieces, but could always easily put on my serious face and remove them from an activity if need be.
I thought it would be easy for me to do the same with my daughter. But sometimes, when she's purposely doing something she knows is cheeky (like spitting food into my face during a meal or throwing toys around and tantrum-ing when she's meant to be sleeping) it's all I can do sometimes to not laugh, pick her up and just shower her with cuddles and kisses. Sometimes it takes all my own discipline to simply keep my face semi-straight and calmly tell her what she needs to do.
I used to think I'd be fine in the discipline area. Now I worry that maybe this little girl who can melt my heart with just the smallest glance will crumble all my careful plans to pieces.

4. I didn't expect to be quite so obsessive
I really didn't. But there's no other word for what I am sometimes. After Hallie's colic started getting better, we had the problem of a little girl who was not used to going to sleep any way but by being bounced, and who was excessively over-tired. I did not want to teach her that she could be bounced, patted or cuddled to sleep, but at the same time I didn't want to put her down on her own if she was in pain (which still seemed to come and go). I spent hours upon hours listening outside her door as she cried, debating with Robbie or myself (there's an interesting conversation to see) about whether or not she was ok.
Do you think she's in pain? Or is that just a tired cry? It's not stopping, and the book says that's a pained or hungry cry if the pitch hasn't changed and it's constant... I'm going to go get her...oh, wait....she paused....now she's going again - so does that mean it's a protest cry? Pauses mean protest cries right? .....I'm going to get that book out again.     Do you think she's too cold? Too hot maybe? Am I doing the right thing? Why isn't she sleeping? Everyone else on those online pages say their babies didn't even take half this long. I'm going to google again....
Call mum again.
Call my sisters again.
And not just about the crying thing (turns out we have a very strong willed little machine on our hands, she can go for AGES if she wants. Thankfully, she's in a good pattern now :) ....6 months later :P), I'm sure my mother can attest to countless phone calls about whether I'm doing something right, what would she do in my situation? etc etc. Nappy rashes, foods to feed her (how much, what consistency, what times), breastfeeding issues, cradle cap, whatever!
I also call to say, She's sitting! She's crawling! She's playing with this! She's doing that! She's learned how to...! and so on.
Clearly, I'm one of THOSE mums. *Sigh* So sue me, I don't think I can change :P

(She sleeps now :))

ANYWAY, so those are just a few of the things that if I think about it, I didn't expect. And I might also add that while I fully expected to love her will all my heart...

5. I didn't expect I could love her SOOO much!!!
She truly just makes my heart swell with every good feeling :) And I've been blessed with such a happy, sweet little girl!

To conclude, I just Love being a mother.


  1. And SHE has been blessed with SUCH an awesome mother!! Love love love her, and YOU :)

    xo Tammy

    PS. Loved reading this Beth - really well written and I kind of felt like I was there with you :)

  2. I hope you don't change at all! :)

  3. CRACKED up at the picture or her while shes eating and her spoons like in her cheek. Thats a hilarious photo!.
    yeah this was a great post I cant wait till my turn! makes me teary