10 Totally Unexpected Things That Happened When I Became A Mom

Photo: WeHeartIt

By Aggie Armstrong

I read a slew of books during pregnancy. I loved finding out the size of my baby every week in relation to food/fruit dimension. I also had a book dedicated to “teach” parents about the first few years of toddlerhood.

And here I am.

Two years and a month into parenthood, and there are a number of things that I hadn’t expected to happen to me at all.

10. Expect the unexpected.

My birth plan, my birth music playlist, my wanting to do natural birth? All went out the window.

Being pre-eclamptic, I had to go through emergency Cesarean after being stuck at seven cm for a long time, with my blood pressure going off the charts. There was no time to think about soothing music, just enough to make sure that my blood platelets didn’t continue to drop and that I didn’t go through any seizures. I also stayed five days in the hospital postpartum because of this.

9. Postpartum depression and anxiety fueled by traumatic birth.

I was more susceptible to postpartum depression and severe anxiety because of the traumatic birth. I’ve written about my postpartum depression diagnosis and treatment before. I still continue treatment and it’s a constant work in progress, but I am doing infinitely better than I was at this time last year.

8. How certain I am that I am good with one child.

More power to multi-children families who thrive and make it work like a well-oiled machine, but having a child is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It could be because I’m an older mother, but I know my limitations—physically and mentally.

I’m so grateful that my child is bright, happy, and healthy. I don’t want to jinx the mix.

7. How much my daughter needs her routine.

The secret to anything with my daughter is ROUTINE. That includes: mealtimes, nap time, bath time, and bed times. We keep our schedules adaptable when we travel and for special celebrations, but when we do, we suffer as a family. So we try to stick to the routine as much as possible.

My social excursions revolve around my daughter’s schedule. Most people understand and are very accommodating. And for those who are, I’m extremely grateful.

6. I don’t care what you think about my choices or decisions about my child.

My child = my husband’s + my choices/decisions about her upbringing = the end.

I especially love it when I get judgy looks, comments, or advice from people sans kids, strangers and acquaintances alike. Note that my inner monologue is going haywire with expletives as I force a pained smile towards you and say "thank you, have a great day", as I try to get away from you as fast as I can before my inner monologue becomes an audible hiss and growl, and I make a scene at my favorite Starbucks or grocery store.

5. How much empathy I’ve built up for other people.

I know this may sound like a direct contradiction towards number 6, but unless you are a) crazy judging me with my kid, or b) undeniably daft, I seem to have gotten more patience and empathy for people.

Maybe it’s my own way to teach and reinforce kindness to my daughter, but I have noticed an increase of patience and putting myself in another’s place. It could also be a sign that I am happier with myself.

Note*** This is no way an indication that I’ve lost my snark or ability to don my cranky pants. Let’s be real, here.

4. How much I stop myself from being THAT mom with the over share on social media.

I’m not talking about poop or sleeping schedules, cause really, that’s just unacceptable. No one cares about that except for you and your partner or immediate family.

But over sharing every change or progress of word syntax my daughter goes through… every finished/conquered puzzle that is geared for kids 2+ yrs older than she is… every expression or mannerism that we think is absolutely hilarious.

I’m so proud of her progress that I just want to tell everyone. But then I realize that I’m not the only mother in the world, nor the only parent who thinks that their child is beyond amazing so I manage to curb my shares to major ones like her getting accepted at such a young age into the exclusive Mensa International because clearly, she is a genius.

3. How much I need time alone with my husband.

The first year was tough for us. It was a bit of a rude awakening since we have been used to being together and doing things just for us. Most of our energy these days is focused on making sure our daughter is alive and happy and healthy, so we tend to go on autopilot with our marriage.

We’re constantly trying to better our time together. It’s a work in progress, but one that we have determined that we clearly need. And I don’t just mean about the sex part of the relationship, which is a major component, but also just finding time to go to the movies or a dinner out.

2. How much I need time alone with myself.

I’ve always said I’m a high functioning introvert with extroverted skills. But I can only do it for so long. I can get overwhelmed with too much external noise, sometimes even the ticking clock or dripping faucet can get me agitated if I haven’t had some down time.

I value my time alone especially now, because it helps me refocus and recalibrate my mood. I need to hibernate even for 30 minutes without anyone talking to me or any buzzing in my ear. It does me a world of good.

1. How everything else means nothing without her.

I may crave more creative inspiration, alone time or more hours in the day to do all that needs to be done. But if I didn’t have my raison d’etre, nothing really matters.

The love that comes out of motherhood is unbelievably cliched as it has been purported; infinitely indescribable to anyone who is not in the same position, and all encompassing to one who is lucky enough to have the experience.

How about you? What surprised you most about being a parent?

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This article was originally published at BlogHer. Reprinted with permission from the author.