As a mom, I would have to say there were a lot of surprises about motherhood.
Over Mother’s Day weekend I started to think of life before babies. I started thinking about what I was like. The person I used to be.
Things have changed so much since having kiddos. I’ve heard it said that two people are born when a baby is delivered. A baby and a mother.
That couldn’t be any closer to the truth.
There were a lot of surprises that came with motherhood. This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, here is a list of things that surprised me most about becoming a mama.
My top 10 surprises about motherhood:
1. My Ability to Push Through
It’s crazy how far I found I was able to push myself. Honestly, during pregnancy, that was one of the things I was scared most about.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to be strong enough or if there would be times I just “couldn’t”.
Once I had my first, I was blown away at the amount I was able to withstand. All because I was pushing myself for the baby.
The amount of pain while trying to nurse him (read my post about the golden hour to learn more.) It basically didn’t matter. I was determined to nurse that baby.
The level of exhaustion I reached but just kept going. The overwhelmed feelings I felt but pushed through. The amount of trauma and crazy my brain was experiencing after Parker James’ birth (check out his dramatic birth story here.)
It’s incredible what you can do when your mind is focused on helping your babe. The mind is amazingly powerful when you have someone you care about so deeply.
This was definitely one of those surprises about motherhood that was a blessing!
2. How Instantly Your Wants Matter Less
This goes right along with the last point. Your brain basically just stops thinking about what you want or need.
When the boys were newborns, I would go a whole day and realize… I don’t remember the last time I ate…
Now that they’re older, I couldn’t go more than a few hours without feeling hungry.
Your brain after having a baby becomes so wired to focus on your baby, you literally don’t think about what’s going on with you until your body starts screaming at you to do something about it.
Now that the boys are older, I still find myself mentally mapping out the day and every situation with how they would react or what they would prefer.
When I do have free time (as in TRUE free time away from the house, work, the kids, etc.)
I can hardly figure out what I’d like to do! It’s either to hard to come up with something because I haven’t thought about it or there’s just too many choices!
I was amazingly surprised how much your brain changes to focus on the needs of your baby.
3.The Pain When Hearing Baby Cry
This one through me for a loop.
So we all know that hearing a baby cry can be hard on the ears. Especially if it goes on for very long.
However, when I had Jaden, I was blown away at what hearing his cry did.
Everytime he cried, my whole body felt a reaction. My muscles would clench, I’d hold my breath, my adrenals would shoot a crazy amount of “panic” adrenaline.
I would basically have a small panic attack every time. It was even worse in the middle of the night.
I would usually be holding my breath and staying perfectly still until he would fall back asleep or I would have to intervene.
After talking with other mamas, I was relieved to know I wasn’t the only one who had a full on physical reaction to their baby’s cry.
It was surprising for sure.
4. What Mama Bear Hormones Really Do
This goes hand in hand with my previous point.
Part of the reason hearing the baby cry is such a physical reaction is because of the INSANE amount of hormones that are raging around trying to dump out of your body.
Out of all the PMS hormones, period hormones, pregnancy hormones or any other hormone shifts I’ve experienced, the worst for me have been the postpartum hormone shift.
Before having my first, whenever I would hear “mama bear instinct” I thought about this awesome super mom who stands between danger and her kids.
I mean yes… that’s partially true but mama bear hormones are NO JOKE. Those postpartum hormones make you think like a crazy person when it comes to your baby.
The fear and anxiety I experienced the first few weeks with both babies was on another level. It’s like every time I closed my eyes, I would see pictures of the worst possible thing happening to my baby.
Obviously, this made staying calm and sleeping very difficult.
Side Bar…Admittedly, because of Parker James traumatic entrance, I was diagnosed with PTSD and postpartum anxiety which of course made those hormones worse.
I felt like a crazy person after both babies with the amount of worry and anxiety I felt about every single detail about life.
I definitely wasn’t prepared for the true mama bear hormones.
5. The Person I Was Before Kids Seems Like a Lifetime Ago
It is so strange to me to talk about events before having Jaden. It’s almost like I was still in high school or not an adult or something until I had him.
When I had Jaden I was 25 so I was definitely a “grown up”. HA! But before him, it’s like nothing I did felt like I was taken seriously. Even to myself.
I know this isn’t the case for everyone but I think I truly found my identity after becoming a mom. Yes I love singing, dancing and performing, but truly I wanted nothing more in life than being a mama!
My whole world and outlook changed for the better after having my babies.
6. How Much Difference a Routine Makes
Before having my kiddos, I knew babies had a certain schedule. But I didn’t really know anything about it.
How many weeks they should start doing xyz, when they could start sleeping through the night, how often to feed them, etc.
I knew it was a lot of feeding, a lot of napping, and not much sleeping at night, early mornings, but not much besides that.
Until! I found the book… If you’ve read my other blog posts about routines, you’ll know how incredibly important a correct baby routine is!
(GO READ THEM NOW IF YOU HAVE BABIES OR PLAN TO! IT WILL SAVE YOU SO MUCH HEADACHE!)
After reading this book, both of my boys slept through the night by 8-10 weeks old (and never looked back!).
They took solid naps, ate well, and were content and more secure because they learned to know what was coming next.
Go read those posts and get the book!!
7. The Unbelievable and Undescribable Connection
Yes. I know every mama talks about this but it’s totally true.
The moment Jaden was placed on my chest, I knew him. We had been together our whole lives it seemed.
Yet I still couldn’t get enough of him. It just didn’t seem like I could hold him, kiss him, smell him or look at him long enough.
No matter how crazy my hormones were making me. No matter how anxious I was about x, y, or z, I still wanted to have that baby in my arms day in and day out.
The connection I felt with both boys was strong and unique. Each of our bonds were different.
Jaden was 4.5 when I had Parker James, so we had a LOT of one on one time those first 4 years. I was worried I would have trouble connecting to Parker James like I did Jaden.
However, I almost feel that I connected faster to him once he was born because I already knew what amazing joy was ahead since I had experienced such wonderful happiness the past 4 years with Jaden.
It’s amazing how much you love your baby like it’s something you’ve done your whole life.
8. The Happy Drugs from Your Baby
Ok so those of you who nursed your babies, probably felt the “happy hormones” that were released when nursing.
I always felt them most while nursing during the first few weeks. With both boys, the hormone release leveled out the further I was from delivery.
However, I think I felt an even STRONGER hormone release just watching and kissing on my boys!
I saw a study done recently on what happens in a mama’s brain when kissing her baby. It was remarkable! I was blown away at the endorphins released in the brain while snuggling your baby.
But I definitely have experienced this! There is on greater joy I have ever felt than to kiss and squeeze my babies.
Although I knew I would love them, I didn’t know what that love was and the extent. This surprise about motherhood was one of my favorites!
9. How Much Room Your Heart Really Has
Just like I said above, I knew I would love my baby. I just wasn’t prepared for how much and in what way.
Those hormones and the connection truly change your brain to be all about your sweet babe. And there’s just nothing better in the world.
Before having Jaden I had never experienced any love like my love for him. It was so strong and intense. Overwhelmingly powerful stuff.
Because of this, I was worried when I was pregnant with Parker James how I could ever love like that again. Could there be room in my heart to love another like this?
Well, I’m sure you already know the answer. My heart just exploded with the two of them. And seeing them play together and their love for each other is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced.
This overwhelming love was one of the greatest surprises about motherhood.
10. No Matter How Hard It Is …
And lastly, this point almost goes without saying.
There are so many excruciatingly hard days in motherhood. Pushing through the pain and exhaustion of pregnancy, delivery, postpartum, nursing, weaning, and just daily tasks of being a mom can be at times unbearable.
But it’s amazing to me that we just keep going. All those “happy hormones” – all that love for our babes helps us push through. Even when we’re sick or healing or hurt or whatever it may be.
No matter how hard it is, it’s never THAT hard to care for our babies.
I wasn’t sure if I had what it took. But now after doing it twice, I’ve realized that’s not the case at all. And that was my favorite surprise about motherhood.