So, you’ve had a kid. That’s a helluva change.
All nine plus months leading up to this, you were feeling a plethora of emotions- excitement, fear, hope, more fear. Will the labor go smoothly? Quickly? Just how big is that epidural needle?! But! You survived all that. Now you’ve made it through the long, excruciating hours of labor on ice chips and pure adrenaline. Dealt with the jello; the constant, every two hour check ins from the nurses. The poking and prodding, the waves of visitors…and now you’re home. With a baby. Or maybe, like me, this isn’t your first go around on this merry go round. Maybe this is just a new addition to your wonderful circus. Whatever your situation may be, you know (or you’re about to find out) that life will never be the same.
1. it starts with sleep.
But you knew that. Leading up to birth, I think that’s one of the things we hear the most: “Get ready to lose sleep!” “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” “You won’t be sleeping for a while!”
And gosh if they weren’t right- if you’re lucky, your sweet, squishy bundle of joy will get anywhere from 2-4 hours in a stretch. But this can all be down the drain on a day to day basis- cluster feeding, low milk supply, teething, colic; the list goes on, and they’re all reasons why your sleep schedule will look more and more like a poorly performing stock market versus a healthy adult who knows how much 7 hours of sleep can benefit the body. Now, it gets easier- for small periods of time. Eventually, they sleep through the night- but with sickness, and fear of the dark, and even those terrible teeth- sleep goes right back out the window for all parties involved. Sleeping schedules are constantly a change that we go through, whether we want to or not.
2. privacy (of literally any sorts)
It got to the point where I was so tired at some points, that I would stumble into the restroom, half asleep, and plop myself in a disheveled state down onto the toilet- door wide open, hair a mess, knees bowed in. It was all C could do not to stare and wonder what the hell was going on. Now, we had been together a few years, living together for most of them when we had Monkey- but there’s still that small barrier that people have to cross: the bathroom. Our children being born made a hack job of that wall between us and has since just continue to bulldoze through any and all reserve we had left between us. This change wasn’t so bad, but it’s still definitely one to note.
Now, I’m lucky if I can even keep the door shut- Monkey officially knows how to open doors, and even when she didn’t, she would find a way to push it open if she was able. The door being closed while you use the restroom is like the ultimate insult- or at least it seems that way, with the audacious reaction that she would produce each time she pushed and it wouldn’t immediately give way to her entry.
For a brief period of time, the babies slept in our room. In their own bed, sure; but each one took a turn setting up residence in our room- mostly for convenience when it came to nursing, but also so we could make sure everything was okay while they were sleeping. Monkey had this luxury for the longest period of time- probably close to six months. We had to change the way we would wind down before bed- C is a big watch TV to fall asleep kind of guy, and if the TV was playing, the babies weren’t falling asleep.
Not only that, but I’m notoriously clumsy- it never failed that I would trip over some unseen object in the night and cause a huge clatter, thus waking the baby. This who room sharing arrangement for Monkey came to a screeching halt when she was able to sit up and pivot around to stare at us- it would be early morning and I would roll over, yawning, getting a nice just-woke-up full body stretch in and- I would see two little eyes, staring at me from over the edge of the bassinet. We made a quick change to relocate her to her own room, and each one consecutively after that after around 6 weeks or so.
3. general freedom & ease of life
Oh, I just need to pop down to Target real quick for- nope; you have to spend 10+ minutes wrangling the kids into semi-acceptable clothing plus shoes, pile into the car with any and all needed supplies for anything that could go wrong. Now you may proceed with your ‘oh so quick’ trip to Target- which in reality just turned into an hour plus long excursion.
Date night? Absolutely! Just have to make sure the sitter can come- oh, and can we leave by this time? I need to be back in time to give the kids a bath, kiss them goodnight, pack everything we need tomorrow- insert reason here. It’s any number of things, just pick your poison.
Gas station trips. The pump is running…and man, how good does a slushee sound?! A candy bar, a soft drink, a Big Tex cinnamon roll…my mouth is watering as I’m typing that! Let’s just run in right quick and…NOPE! Gotta take all the kiddos in- and in my case, this is an extremely cost effective way to keep me from spending any more than the necessary amount at the gas station- if I can’t reach it from the pump, I don’t need it. How do you think I keep my trim, girly figure?! Not by choice!
4. BUDGETARY change
Now obviously, seeing as C and I are “overachievers” in the family building department, our budget change might be larger than yours- but everyone can see this in some way or another. Fed is best- but both ways can rack up expenses. While nursing, you need nursing bras and pads, tubing if you pump, etc. Formula feeding can be even more expensive- on brand formula is practically highway robbery at some points. We switched to off brand formula when we discovered Bear’s appetite- after a long period of time spent comparing ingredients line by line in the aisle with my sister and mother in law, we realized it’s the same thing- and in some cases, the exact same thing, but cheaper and in a larger container (hello and thank you Sams Club.)
Then, there’s diapers. Wonderful, stinky, messy diapers. There’s so many brands, so many discounts; different sizes and colors and designs. Each brand promises to be better, absorb more, fit tighter than the last. But in the end, they’re all just an expensive, disposable necessity.
5. Body Changes
By now, you’re no stranger to the change you body experiences in all stages of motherhood: pre-motherhood, post, and then repeat. You may start out young, fit; perky upper and lower body ( you know what I’m talking about.) The stretch marks come, and then the fatigue. The permanent dark circles, the elasticity leaving your skin. All the change that comes with having a child, and that reminds you that you are strong enough to produce life itself.
change is inevitable,
But so is growth. And love. And a total adaptation and adoration of this new life stage you’re in. So, if you’re scared of change? Don’t be. Because it’s just another part of life. This one may be filled with more poop than you ever thought, but it should all be worth it in the end.