18 Truths About the First Year of Motherhood

Truths About the First Year of Motherhood. 18 realities of the first year of motherhood. What life is really like with a baby.

mother holding baby girl

There really is nothing that can prepare you for motherhood and how it will change you. Being a mom will be the hardest thing you have ever done and the best thing you have ever done.

Let’s talk about some of the truths you will face your first year.

Truths About the First Year of Motherhood

When you become a mother, you find out things about yourself you never knew. You will see personality traits come out you don’t love and other traits that come out you are impressed by.

Delivery Can Be Rough

Before your baby is really even here, delivery can do a number on you that impacts your life for a while. A baby changes your body so much! You do not just snap back. You might have stretch marks, your tummy will be jiggly, your hips might not move all the way back in…pregnancy changes you.

Serra said: No one ever told me I could tear during delivery and then have to squirt myself clean every time I went to the bathroom for the next week or two. Ugh. So painful down there.

The First Few Nights Are So Hard

The first few nights at home are so very hard. I remember with Brayden wondering why on earth we ever decided to have a baby.

Lacey said: Those first three nights at home. Phew. Just so hard. I don’t know how in the world my husband and I ever make it out alive, and still married.

Casey said: Hardest days I’ll ever experience in my life… I didn’t want to leave the hospital because of all help from the nurses, cna’s, and lactation consultants.

Newborn Life Might Be Nothing Like You Imagined

We all have visions of life with a new baby. When I was a little girl and played dolls, my dolls only cried if I pretended they did.

Dani said: As A first time mom, Having a newborn was nothing like i thought it was going to be. I had a difficult baby, I thought it was going to be feeding, cuddles, lots of sleep, and diaper changes. I fast realized how much babies are capable of crying, how hard your own babies cry hurts your heart, and how emotional I became due to hormonal changes after giving birth. I didn’t think I would need help from my mom, but boy was I wrong.

Casey said: I couldn’t agree more with you. I felt the exact same way. I had this vision of becoming a mom and having all this time with my baby… there are so many challenges and it never ends.

>>>Read: 15 Quotes That Define Motherhood

You Won’t Necessarily Have Love at First Sight

You hear about love at first site. Sometimes that does happen for people. It doesn’t always though.

Jess said: Love doesn’t happen at first sight! If we don’t really believe that to be true about marriage, why do we think it will be true with our babies which – for a good while – is a very “one sided” relationship? It’s really ok if at first you don’t feel this magical, special bond with your baby. That comes with all the hard work you put in. And then one day, you’ll see your two kids playing in the yard and think “how amazing are these little people”

Kathy said: Jess thank you! I came here to share this and you wrote it much more eloquently than I could.

Chelsee said: Yes I second this. I felt a sense of “mama bear” over the tiny human but there wasn’t that instant firework show that everyone thinks will happen. Now that he is 4 months I love him more and more each day and I live for his morning smiles!

Kinsor said: Yes, this! I felt very little for my first baby in the first few weeks, and THAT caused me so much guilt! I thought there was something wrong with me. Then one day, she was about 8 weeks old, it just clicked, and I cried I loved her so much. At first it was just so much work, and I didn’t even KNOW this person!

Amanda said: omg yes yes yes to this !!!! N I feel the same way about my new baby.. I’m 20 weeks n I’m kinda like meh lol I know I’ll bond with it eventually but I wasn’t obsessed with my daughter until she was 2 months old .. now at 20 months I can’t get enough of her lol but it takes time ! I don’t know this new baby yet and I didn’t know my first baby at first either ! Lol

Truths About the First Year of Motherhood. 18 realities of the first year of motherhood. What life is really like with a baby.

Babies are Just Hard

There are many wonderful things about babies. You hear all about those things often. What you don’t often hear is just how hard babies can be. Babies are hard. If you have a baby and have hard days and weeks, that is normal.

Casey said: When you’re trying to conceive or when you’re pregnant no one ever tells you the truths of bringing home a baby or the truths of how challenging it can be from day to day: the sleep deprivation, the cry of your baby embedded in your brain, not having the time to shower or eat, your baby not sleeping, latching problems or refusal of the bottle, etc, etc, etc…. You only hear the positives…which are good but that’s not reality. Everyone else’s story will not be yours. Your vision will not go accordingly. You have to find what works best for your baby and you!

Emily said: Yesss! This. All of this!

Lynda said: There is also mother’s concerns , I remember the first day I got back home with the baby from the hospital I felt lost depressed and I thought I couldn’t take care of him and it’s bi responsabilité I found my self crying a lot because of baby blues , I never heard of that before neither heard how the feeling can change you and getting you nervous , more stressed and so and so and so … not only the first time mom is hard but when you are first time mom and no family around is more harder . I am grateful for my husband who helps .

Casey said: I can’t imagine not having family around. I remember the first few weeks of feeling that exact way; lost, depressed, anxiety through the roof, crying everyday. There are still days where I cry…trying to figure things out is hard on us mentally, emotionally and physically.

Ady said: I agree with all of the above. No one really tells it how it is. I think PLp block out those sleepless nights and don’t wanna remember lol! As a first time mom I didn’t know what to expect, but didn’t expect it to be so exhausting and full of mixed emotions. It’s been the hardest and most stressful thing I’ve had to endure but it’s rewarding. Just gotta take it one day at a time.

Amy said: Sleep when they sleep is an old wives tale… Especially as a newborn. There is no sleep for newborn parents.

>>>Read: The Worst Parenting Advice Given to New Parents

Babies are Messy

Babies are messy in so many ways. Diapers and feeding. Spitting up. When they get mobile, they create messes in new ways. Even just the time they take leads to other things being messier than you would like.

Anita said:  Mess. So much mess 🙄🤦‍♀️ If it’s not poo explosions and reflux in a baby, then marker pens and general everything tipped out everywhere for a toddler, then clothes/towels/toys/craft as they get older. And I don’t even have particularly high cleaning standards 🤦‍♀️

A Baby Amplifies Emotions

Not only will your capacity for love and selflessness grow over your baby’s first year of life, so can other emtions like irrational fears.

Amy said: No one really understands what fear is until you hold that baby in your arms.

Lovejoy said: At 19 I never was prepared for this extreme insecurity about my postpartum body. Always thinking my husband probably is looking at other women, one’s who haven’t had kids yet or who have “perfect” figures…😕

A Baby Takes a Lot of Time

Even seasoned parents find themselves surprised by this with every baby. A baby takes a lot of time! Just think of the time you spend just feeding a baby every day. If baby eats 8-10 times a day, and the feeding takes about 30 minutes each time, that is 4-5 hours a day just feeding the baby. That means you will be cutting out 4-5 hours of productivity every day.

Then you have diaper changes, dressing, bathing, holding, helping sleep…just basic baby care easily becomes a full time job each day. Give yourself grace as you adjust to this loss of time. You won’t be as productive in other areas of life.

>>>Read: How to Get Things Done with a Baby

A Smile Can Melt Your Heart

The first many weeks are hard for many reasons. One is that you constant serve this little human who can’t thank you and can’t even smile at you. That first smile is priceless!

Rebecca said: When they smile and look into your eyes your heart melts every time!

Moms Can Be Mean to Each Other (but shouldn’t be!)

Moms can and do really get into fights about things. We really need to work on supporting each other more. Motherhood is hard enough without mom-shaming.

Not only can moms be mean to each other, but cousins, aunts, parents, grandparents, etc. will all have opinions on how you should and shouldn’t raise your baby. Many will voice those opinions. One family member was very opinionated with me about whether or not my baby should be wearing socks. You will have to decide how you want to respond to the various people in the world who will tell you you are parenting wrong.

Sheri said: We are all in this together. Regardless of parenting styles, vaccinations, breastfeeding, or sleep training/scheduling, etc… even though I’m a strong believer in BW! 😄 lol Mommy life (especially the 1st year) is hard enough without all the judging & divisions. ❤️

Fed is Best

Feeding can be a hot topic among moms. Yes, breastmilk is almost always the best food for a baby, but in the end, feeding a baby is all that matters.

Aurora said:  It’s OK if you physically cannot breastfeed. FED is best.

April said: Preach! Although another mom truth, I felt like a failure the first week I formula fed and cried a lot. Then I realized my baby was still happy and healthy and I chilled out.

Aurora said: Same! My baby was in the NICU, had to have surgery at 3 months old, I had to have multiple iron transfusions….all that added up made my supply plumit and he just wasn’t getting enough so I had to start formula. Not gonna lie I still feel pretty guilty about it and he’s 9.5 months old now.

It is Okay to Hold a Newborn Through a Nap Sometimes

We all want baby on a solid schedule and can be scared to do anything to mess that up. Don’t be afraid to take time to just soak in and enjoy your baby, though.

Ariel said: You can’t spoil a baby. Hold them while they stay still!!!

Casey said: Some days I don’t want to swaddle my daughter and put her down in her crib, I just want to snuggle and cherish my time with her while I’m at home.

You Can Easily Forget Your Husband

It is really easy to forget about everyone other than your spouse. Babies take so much time and effort that we can neglect other relationships. On some level, those other people need to accept that. They need to have patience. On other levels, we mothers need to be cognizant of that fact and be sure to put some effort into our other relationships.

Hillary said: Keep in mind your husbands needs as well. Don’t let him get lost in all the chaos of a newborn. No babies ever suffered because mommy loved daddy too much.

Self Care is Hard to Do (and so is asking for help)

If you find yourself neglecting relationships, you will certainly find yourself neglecting yourself. It is important to take a bit of time and effort to do some self-care for yourself.

Deborah said: I really wish i knew how important keigel exercises were before birth! Preach those keigels! Lol

Marla said: 1 I found out how selfish I was/am and how easily I can get angry…..2 you need good mom friends 3 you need things to do for yourself that remind of who you are (besides someone’s mom and wife)

Kristi said:  It is not selfish to take time for yourself and don’t feel bad about asking for help! I have to remind myself this all the time! I tend to put pressure on myself to do ALL THE THINGS and don’t always remember what I need! I am doing better with baby #2 but do have to remind myself of this regularly. We can’t pour from an empty cup!

Amy said: No one understands hormones like a new mom

Cara said: Don’t let your own pride get in the way of asking for help! It is okay not to do everything on your own. This period may not have been what you expected but that is okay – it is the beauty of trusting in God. Remember, you are your husband are on the same team, no point playing the blame game. And importantly, find humour in the everyday situations! (I’m reminding myself as much)

Becky said: Community is so important. Having a baby can feel very isolating, but having people to encourage and help you can make all the difference.

Mom Guilt is Real

You will feel so much guilt! You will find your self beating yourself up for so many of the things you do and so many of the things you don’t do.

Love said: Mom guilt is real! Going back to work was the headrest and daycare😥

New Boundaries Will Need to Be Set

When you  have a new baby, life changes. The things you can commit to will change. Your flexibility will change. Your priorities will change. Your capabilities will change.

When we had our first baby, we had to create many new boundaries. We had to draw lines with family members who insisted we constantly travel to visit. We had met those expectations before baby, but about five months in, we realized it was too hard for Brayden to rarely have consistency  in his life.

You might need to cut back on volunteer work or employment.

Do not be afraid to make new boundaries in life each time you add a baby to it.

Your Second Baby Won’t Necessarily Be Easier

Just because this isn’t your first baby doesn’t mean everything will be easy and rosey. I can’t tell you how many questions I get with the mom saying “This is my fourth baby so I should know what is going on.” Every baby is a different individual. While some things are easier with subsequent babies, some are harder just because we try to treat the second baby just like we treated the first.

Vanessa said: Just because you have had one kid already, doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing when the next one comes , and the next and so forth. This is my fourth baby and I still don’t feel like I know what the heck I’m doing in a lot of aspects of newborn-hood.

Kristi said:  I agree!!! 🙌🙌🙌

This, Too, Shall Pass

As hard as different elements of stages can be, they won’t last forever. It is definitely hard to be patient through them, especially because you don’t know WHEN they will pass. But they do pass. Many of the truths listed above are talking about how hard life can be with a baby. It can be hard, but it also has many wonderful things. When we sacrifice so much and serve others, we feel so much peace and satisfaction.

Claire said: “this too shall pass” – those really hard newborn days, those sleepless nights, the toddler who keeps wetting the bed… As hard as it is to believe when you’re in the middle of it, it’s a season that will pass quickly in the grand scheme of things. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

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This post originally appeared on this blog January 2019

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