Here’s the thing about becoming a mom. You know everything is going to change. You know that things will be different. You know you might freak out a bit, but you can never ever realize the extent of it. The freakouts run far and wide, covering topics you never imagined would be points of contention for you.
Being a new mom is terrifying. Your read the books and buy the things and prepare as much as you can, but nothing actually prepares you for what’s in store.
These are some unexpected things all new moms freak out about:
1. Will I ever want to have sex again?
Given the size of what just came out of you, it’s hard for you to fathom anything going back in there ever again, like ever. The doctor mandated six week period without sex sounds like a blessing, but as the days roll along, you wonder if that’s even enough. Are you ever going to want to do it again? How does anyone have more than one child? How do they not just close up shop for good after the first one comes out?
In TV and movies, they tell you pregnancy is uncomfortable, so you accept that part. But then after the baby comes out, everything seems to snap right back into place and go back to normal! No one tells you about the after part. About how sore you are, about how much it hurts to sit or walk, about the blood, oh man, the blood. Every time you go to the bathroom it looks like the scene of a gruesome crime.
And if you ripped or got cut, well it’s basically like the Elephant Man down there and you just can’t imagine that region ever having any sex appeal or desirability again.
You fear that first postpartum love making session more than you feared losing your virginity. And to be honest, the pain will probably be worse! But you do it (let’s be real, the first time you do it just to get it over with!), and you do it again, and again, and eventually it does start to feel pretty good again! Yes, seriously!
2. What if I get pregnant again?!
As if you weren’t scared of sex enough … the thought of accidentally getting pregnant while you have a newborn is enough to keep you off sex indefinitely. And it’s such a radical shift. Nine months earlier you were desperate to see that stick turn blue, now you are absolutely terrified of accidentally getting knocked up. Between feeling like a virgin again and being terrified of getting pregnant, it’s almost like being back in high school, but with significantly bigger boobs!
We’ve all heard the stories of the woman who didn’t know she could get pregnant while she was nursing … about the one time slip up that lead to another pregnancy. We all know a set of Irish twins … and after you’ve had one baby, you can’t imagine who in their right mind would have two babies so close together on purpose!
Being postpartum is hard enough, Being pregnant and postpartum? I shudder at the thought!
And so you will panic. You will panic anytime you feel a wave of nausea (is it morning sickness or just sickness?). You’ll panic anytime your boobs ache. You’ll panic if your period is a minute late.
And then before you know it, your baby will be a year old and from one day to the next you’ll go from being terrified of getting pregnant to desperately wanting to be pregnant again, and the cycle will continue!
3. Will I ever be free again?
If you’re a nursing mama, you will basically be in jail. Your baby needs to feed every three hours and it takes almost an hour to go through the whole process, so you basically have no time to do anything else. You are chained to that baby and while intellectually you know it’s temporary, you know that this little creature will get bigger, will feed less, and eventually will even eat food that doesn’t come out of you, it just feels like eternal damnation in your hormonal, sleep-deprived mind.
You may wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into if you’re really cut out for this. And this is where the inevitable postpartum blues will come in. You’re not you anymore.
But it does pass, you will leave the house again, the baby won’t always be a vestigial organ. It will feel like forever, but it’s actually a very short phase of your life that you will strangely miss once it’s gone.
4. Will I ever sleep again?
I know I’m not the only mom to google: “Can you die from sleep deprivation?” I know there are plenty more out there because the fear is real! You feel so tired that you could die. You feel sick with exhaustion. And it feels like it will never end like you will always feel this way.
Will you ever sleep the way you did before baby? No, those days are long gone. But you will sleep. You will sleep uninterrupted. You will feel somewhat rested. And you will adapt to your new reality and it will become just that, your new reality, just like sleeping until noon on weekends was your old reality.
5. Will I ever know what I’m doing?
No new mom knows what she’s doing. Maybe after one successful diaper change you’ll pat yourself on the back and say, “Wow, I’ve got this!” But then something will happen five minutes later that will cause you to crumble into a puddle of tears while lamenting, “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing!”
We all panic about this. Even the most seemingly got it together mom, the one you kind of hate but also envy, she also has no idea what she’s doing! No one knows. You just try to keep your kid alive and figure it out as you go. And you will figure it out.
Before you know it, it will be second nature and you’ll know all the tricks and all the hacks and taking care of your baby will just be easy and natural. But don’t believe the idea that your “mother’s” instinct” will just kick in right away giving you all the tools you need to figure this out because that’s just a recipe for feeling like a failure.