Being a mother is an amazing ride – with its ups and downs, obviously – but overall, amazing. However, there are some things no one tells you until you become a mother. These are the ones that surprised me:
You need to become a master swaddler. When the nurses at the hospital handed me my baby all wrapped up like the amazing present he is, I just thought it was a cute way to put him to sleep. Not a NECESSARY one. When we got home, he fussed every time we tried to swaddle him, so we decided to let him sleep without it. Completely impossible. After 5 minutes, his arms will start flying all over his head and waking himself up. Ok, let’s swaddle him. Also impossible. 5 minutes later his arms somehow will manage to emerge from the all tied up swaddle and he would startle himself again. I called my mom for help. She was a nurse at the NICU. She’ll have some answers. But, she didn’t: “Back then, we put babies to sleep on their stomachs so we didn’t have that problem.” Lucky her. Putting a baby on his back is a big no-no now, because it has increased SIDS in the past, so what’s the solution then? Becoming a pro at swaddling. How? By watching all the YouTube tutorials that you can and praying to all the Saints you know. And it still might not work, just so you know. Your baby might be a ninja – able to escape all sorts of swaddles, in which case, I’m sorry to say, you won’t sleep much in the first few months.
Your official title from now on is “Mama.” And not just for your son (obviously), but for your husband, mother-in-law, baby’s pediatrician, and the rest of the world. It doesn’t matter if for the past 10 years your boo has called you ‘honey,” “sweetheart” or another personalized sexy nickname. Now he’ll call you “mami” forever. So I hope you like it!
You’ll become an expert on decoding baby language. Your baby has a repertoire of 100 different noises and you somehow will know the meaning of each one. The “I’m sleepy” sounds, the “feed me” ones, the “I want to play” ones… you’ll learn baby talk in no time.
You’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on books about how to make your baby sleep. And nothing will work. Or it will confuse you. So be smart and spend that money on some lavender Epsom salts and a good bottle of wine for when you have 10 minutes (if you are lucky) to take a bath and relax.
You’ll be on your toes all the time. Don’t get too comfy if a technique to put him to sleep worked today. I promise you it won’t work tomorrow. You have to constantly find creative ways to make your baby laugh, sleep, or eat. It’s exhausting, I know. Welcome to motherhood.
You’ll become that person you made fun of a while ago. I would always make fun of the anti-vaxers. Until they gave Rafa his first shot and he looked at me as if I was selling him to the enemy. Then I would see myself asking the pediatrician, “Is this vaccine really necessary? Can we just wait a little bit and give it to him when he grows a beard?” and things like that…so be careful what you say you would never do…
You’ll rediscover the world through his/her eyes. For your baby, the plant at the entrance of your building is not a boring prop. It’s an amazing discovery! And thanks to them, you’ll see ordinary things as extraordinary again.