Say goodbye to late night cocktails with friends and hello to one of the most rewarding experiences a human being can go through.
From the very first moment that you discover you’re expecting, you’re likely to be on a rollercoaster of emotions. You’ll be wondering if you’re ready, if you’re capable, whether childbirth will hurt, and whether you’ll be a good parent. Then, there’s whether the baby will look like you, and whether your partner will still think you’re fun.
The reality is that having a child changes your life in countless ways, and you will never be quite the same again. There will be sleepless nights, moments when you’re covered in vomit and milk, and times when you just want to run away from the crying. But you’ll also grow, acquire new skills, and learn to love in a way you never quite imagined.
To help you get your head around the upcoming situation, below are some of the frustrating, mundane and quite frankly glorious ways your life will change post-birth.
You won’t make a dent on your to-do list
One of the most surprising things for first time mums is how much time and attention newborns need. Prior to giving birth, you might have had grandiose plans to carefully manage your time and build a business empire between feeding your baby. Once you have a new baby at home, you quickly realise how unrealistic those plans were. By the time you’ve fed your baby, changed their nappy 8-12 times, given them tummy time, changed their outfit because of milk vomits, sterilised their bottles, pumped milk or prepared formula, then made and fed them solids (when it comes to that time), there isn’t much time to do anything else. But remember – you have kept a small human alive and well all day, and that is a huge accomplishment you can be proud of! For more inspiration, check out this Thrive Global article about time management and planning when you become a parent.
You’ll probably see less of your friends who don’t have kids
Catching up with friends who don’t have kids is likely to become harder to coordinate as your schedules are more often than not out of whack. When you have time for a catch-up over coffee and cake they’re likely to be at work, and when they’re free in the evenings you’ll be doing the bath, bottle, book and bed routine. You are also likely to spend your weekends navigating nap times and routines, meaning it requires a lot more planning and help to catch up with your childless buddies. If you find yourself missing your friends and you feel a bit isolated, joining a mother’s group is a great way to stay social. It also keeps you heading out and about and with people who are going through the same thing.
You’ll have little or no ‘me-time’
Caring for a baby takes an awful lot of time. It just does. Whether you’re taking time off work for your first baby or are juggling a young family with childcare and work, there simply are not enough hours in the day to achieve everything you need to. The upshot is that with a new human being completely dependent on you for its survival, you simply aren’t going to have as much time to do the things that matter to you. But while, your ‘me-time’ will be radically cut, there are ways to make sure you still get your hit of self-care. Enlist your partner, a friend or family member to look after your baby for a little while so you can head out for some exercise, some alone time, a catch-up with friends, a beauty treatment or even just a quick dip in the ocean. It’s so important that you make sure you’re still looking after you. As the saying goes, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’.
Your priorities and views of the world may change
Becoming a parent doesn’t just change your sleeping schedule, relationships and social life – it can change the way you view the world. Before children, many of us are focused on issues and goals that relate to our own fulfilment and satisfaction. We obsess about getting that promotion at work, ensuring our beach holiday has the perfect weather, or on running a personal best in the upcoming half marathon. Once you have a baby, that all changes and your focus is likely to be on ensuring your baby is happy, safe and well. You won’t believe the things you used to stress about, and you’ll want to live a life that benefits future generations. You’ll still care about the things you always have, however now you’ll have a fresh perspective and an attitude of ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’.
Your body will change
Like generations of women before you, you’re about to discover that pregnancy alters your body. The task of growing – and giving birth to – a new human being requires a massive amount of energy and significant changes to the body. Postpartum (after the birth), you’re likely to notice changes to your breasts, hips and skin, a diminishing of strength in your pelvic floor, and that your feet have changed size (they can grow up to an entire size bigger!). Some of the changes will be temporary, and some will be permanent, as Better Health explains. While there will be positive and negative changes, take the time to marvel at your body’s ability to grow a human life. It’s an incredible feat and an absolute miracle of existence, so don’t dwell on what you may think to be a negative. Thank your body and love it more than ever for being able to give you the greatest gift of all, the gift of life. It can be difficult to come to terms with how your life and your perspective will change. It’s important for you to regularly check in with yourself and be aware of your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing during this time.