Birth Faith posted a wonderful article earlier this week on "Expectations" - what components of birth, breastfeeding and parenting were easier or harder than she expected. I thought I'd write my own version! You will notice that some of her "easier than I expected" are going to be in my "harder than expected" and vice versa - so much for consensus!
Harder than I ever expected:
- Establishing breastfeeding - YIKES! With both of my babies, this was incredibly difficult and required much time, tears, effort, and a supportive midwife and pediatrician. I now know why breastfeeding rates are so abysmally low in the U.S. - not only can breastfeeding easily be sabotaged, but it really needs the help of a small community to get started and be successful.
- Afterpains - They say these don't occur with your first baby. NOT SO. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. Enough said.
- Night feedings - Night feedings are pure torture. As a friend of mine said, "I hate it when late afternoon comes because I know that another horrible night is now before me." Try being utterly exhausted and then spending almost all of the night being up nursing a baby and then trying to put said baby back to bed. I thank God for our wonderful late pediatrician, who said "Take the baby to bed with you!" so that I only had to go through two months of those hideous nights before we discovered the joys of co-sleeping.
- Marriage - Much harder than I expected! Negative behaviors (nagging, negativity) are my default even when I recognize them as wrong - so incredibly frustrating, and a constant challenge for me.
- Parenting - If one thing has rocked my world, it has been parenting. I had no idea how difficult it would be (once they hit the toddler stage - infant stage was pretty easy), how it would challenge me to the core of my very being. I am still learning - and I think always will be - and am so grateful for godly parents who have tread the path before me (and whose advice I covet and treasure) and for the great books out there which have helped so much.
- Pregnancy - Hello, hyperemesis gravidarum!! So much for floating through a glowing pregnancy. :)
- Birth - This was really a lot harder than I expected, but it was also an amazing experience that transformed me from the inside out. Completely worth it (though I don't usually think that while I'm doing it).
- Adjusting to life with a first baby - Getting used to not having a true schedule, not having any true alone time - very difficult. Second baby was a breeze comparatively (also helped that he is an easy baby!). It will be interesting to see how #3 hits!
Easier than I ever expected:
- Healing after birth - Aside from those blasted afterpains (ouch! ouch! ouch!), it wasn't bad at all, most likely thanks to the wonderful treatment of our midwives (lots of olive oil, gentle pushing phase, no episiotomy, etc.).
- Waiting through the last weeks of pregnancy - Most women seem to be impatient to have pregnancy be over. I have never felt this way! I love being pregnant, and since the nausea is usually gone or manageable by this time, I'm usually loving being pregnant and am sorry when labor starts.
- Sleep sharing - It rocks. Love it and couldn't live without it.
- Adjusting to a second baby - After the shock to my system from #1, getting used to a #2 just wasn't that hard. Some moms have this reversed, though! A friend of mine had a super-easy baby for #1 and a challenging baby for #2, and it was that #2 who rocked her world.
Have I missed anything in there that I should have listed? Let me know and I'll add it in! What would you put on your lists?