I Read All The Parenting Books, But These 13 Things Still Shocked Me As A New Mom

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overwhelmed mom
Editor At Large
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At the three-month postpartum mark since the birth of my son, the sleep deprivation is finally getting better (#BLESS) and I feel mostly like myself again. Oddly enough, this is also to say that the Old Andrea is dead, she can’t come to the phone right now.

There are so many competing truths that co-exist in parenting, I’ve given up trying to make it make sense. (See also: Becoming a parent simultaneously being the most joy I've ever experienced AND the hardest thing I've ever done.)

All that being said, I finally feel well-rested and sane (sort-of) enough to go over some things that I was not prepared for.

(Yes, me, ANDREA, who is always prepared and read, like, 17 parenting books.)

1. Whoever said delivering a baby with an epidural is ‘just a bit of pressure’ is a liar and a snake.

That being said, apparently, everyone is different and some people really do have easy, relatively pain-free deliveries and if that’s you, CONGRATULATIONS, we're all so happy for you. *wink*

RELATED: 30 Best Parenting Books For Raising Children

3. My birth plan was, “You tell me what to do and when to do it."

And I stand by it. If your birth plan is simply 'listen to people with medical degrees,' it's fine and you're not alone.

4. I didn’t bond with my son immediately.

I loved him, of course, but I was mostly concerned with keeping him alive and dressing him like the doll baby that he is. It wasn’t until he started smiling and interacting that I felt like I actually started forming an emotional bond.

5. Afterbirth smell: what the eff?

And it lasts for a few weeks? Hi, what?

RELATED: 10 Parenting Tips For Raising Unspoiled, Thankful Kids

6. There is a difference between pets and babies. 

It was only when I watched that crazy viral video of the girl pushing the bear away from her dogs that I realized I would die for my son but most certainly sacrifice my cat in case of a bear attack, and that pretty much sums up the animal/human difference and y’all KNOW how obsessed I am with my cat.

7. Pain in my breasts every time my breast milk let down: what the eff?

PS: This Ollie Gray maternity bra was life-changing.

8. You can 100% not really like kids and yet be obsessed with your own.

Myself, my mother, and my mother-in-law are testament to this. 

9. YAY for aunts, familial or otherwise.

'It takes a village' is a cliché phrase because it's true.

10. I secretly loved that nobody could visit me at the hospital because of Covid, but I pretended like I was really upset about it.

Most moms would rather just see you later, hot meal in hand. Noted.

RELATED: 5 Ways Parents Can Re-Bond With Their Kids At Any Age

11. If you had any body image issues before, having a baby only exacerbates them.

Not 'bouncing back' immediately has been extremely difficult for me. Quite frankly, I loathe looking at full-body photos right now, even though I know that's incredibly vain and superficial. I appreciate the ‘mama warrior’ body mantras but sometimes I just want my old bod back.

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(That being said, a few items of clothing — this Storq scoop tank dressA Pea in the Pod post-pregnancy pant, this Free Reign everyday tank, and this Saltwater Luxe kimono, in particular — made me feel a lot more secure with a few extra pounds, especially around my mid-section.)

12. I thought I’d be dying to get back to work, but it’s been the hardest part of the entire thing so far. 

Leaving my son every day is really hard for me. I miss him. (Not to mention, the lack of national maternity leave in this country is so gross. I’m ashamed I only started caring once I had a baby, but I truly had NO clue just how little support America gives moms — and parents in general. I was privileged to get 12 weeks; so many moms get far less.)

13. Don't comment on a woman's bump — no matter the size.

I had a really small bump — and a very small baby. (Five pounds!) In fact, I had to be induced because he had asymmetrical IUGR in the womb — and while at first, I reveled in being a "tiny" pregnant person (thanks, societal conditioning!), near the end of my pregnancy, I was really insecure and nervous — and actively trying to gain weight.

The day before I was due, I remember someone commenting that there was 'no way I was big enough to be delivering a baby,' and it really upset me — not to mention I was worried about my son's health. Don't comment on a woman's bump: big, small, rainbow-striped, whatever. 

Editor's Note: Did you guys notice there isn't a #2? I didn't either until a reader pointed it out to me. So there we have it: Becoming a mom means you forget that there's no #2. 

Andrea Zimmerman is the editor-at-large at Yourtango. She enjoys reading, traveling, and reading while traveling. Follow her on Instagram @angiecat86 or email her at andreaz@yourtango.com.