When maternity leave ended, I was a wreck. I cried the whole day I returned to work, called daycare 500 times to check in on my baby and promised myself I would give it a month before quitting. My boss, who had just returned from maternity leave herself, told me “give it two weeks, it gets better”. There’s just no way, I thought, she’s just saying that so I don’t quit, how dare she?! But, sure enough, the next day was better. And the day after that, even better. It was nice to get dressed and go out and talk to people. Adults, specifically, talking about adult things like the weather and who might win The Bachelorette.
Being a first-time mom I have often found that when I complain to another mom about something, be it my lack of motivation to work out or how hard it is to change my squirmy baby’s diaper, I often hear either “it gets better” or “it gets worse”. When I hear “it gets better”, I am usually so far sunken into whatever state it is I am complaining about that I can’t fathom how it could possibly get better. “It gets worse”, well that just scares me.
Managing expectations is key when you are a new parent because, ultimately, everything is a phase. It could be a baby phase that lasts three days or three months, but it is still just a phase, and we all need to know if it will in fact get better or worse. To that end, I’ve put my business degree to good use once again to bring you a series of PowerPoint charts on what to expect in the first eight months of parenthood.
Hormones: It gets better. Nothing and no one prepared me for the hormonal insanity that took place after I gave birth – I cried every day for two weeks. It certainly didn’t help that one of the songs on my baby’s swing sounded like the really depressing song from the musical “Once”. Luckily for me and everyone else around me, this phase ended the day John returned to work after paternity leave.
Sleep: The good news here is that there is nowhere to go but up from “Atrocious”. The first six weeks of my baby’s life were a delirious blur. Then we started a bath, bottle and bed routine before invoking the Ferber method and everything started to shine a little brighter.
Your Relationship: It gets better, then worse, then better again. Nothing will put your relationship to the test like lack of sleep, lack of personal hygiene from said lack of sleep and a screaming baby in the background to round it all out nicely. I am just happy we never made it to the “Atrocious” stage.
I wish I could tell you what to expect in the coming months but I haven’t got a clue. Maybe you more experienced moms could tell me?