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The Truth About the First Three Months

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This article is brought to you by the bitch that's going to tell it like it is. Me. Jennifer.

mother carrying a crying baby

Jennifer Farrell: You are not going to like it. You might even be offended. That's okay. No one is forcing you to read this. But if you are a pregnant woman having your first baby, I strongly urge you to continue. If you don't, you will find yourself back here after your first month as a new mom crying "but you never told me how it really was!" I won't feel sorry for you! Okay, maybe I will. But only a little bit. After all, I tried to warn you and you didn't listen.

What you believe: Pregnancy classes will accurately prepare me for birth and my birth will go smoothly without any problems because I am prepared.

I'm warning you; the reality is that no pregnancy class on the face of the planet can prepare you for your birth. By 'your,' I am referring specifically to the birth you alone will experience. All the good expectations in the world, all the practice, all the training, all the breathing ... how do I say this with kindness? This is a business, ladies, in which a well-trained instructor sells you on the idea that you are prepared. It is a lie. Birth is going to be scary, hard, and painful, not what you expected and something you absolutely cannot avoid. I'm sorry if this hurts -- it's the truth. I'm not here to hold your hand. I'm here to tell you the things that your mom friends won't.

What you believe: Reading parenting books will prepare me for being a new mom and will help me know what to do with my baby once I return from the hospital.

I'm warning you; the reality is that you could read every single book on the market and -- given your luck -- you would have the one set of tits that spurts orange juice instead of milk. Alternately, you could be mentally prepared for severe sleep deprivation to find you have the only infant in the world that sleeps 8 hours a night. As prepared as these books make you feel, they cannot accurately provide you with any realistic idea how difficult those first weeks and months will be. The only advice that makes any sense in parenting books is "Sleep when the baby sleeps." That is the only useful bit of information. Period.

What you believe: Sleep deprivation is not/cannot be/will not be as bad for me as it was for my sister/sister-in-law/neighbor/best friend/cousin. I will not be affected as badly as they were and they might have been (possibly) over-exaggerating. I honestly believe it can't be as bad as they're making it out to be!

I'm warning you; sleep deprivation really IS that bad and if you honestly think you are going to be the one woman on earth who will never be sleep-deprived, you are delusional. Do yourself a favor and prepare yourself for it before it happens to you. Go online and Google 'sleep deprivation'. Read up on what sleep deprivation does to people. That way, when it happens, you'll be prepared for it. Otherwise, you won't understand the urge to accidentally 'drop' your baby down the stairs so it will stop crying and you can finally (finally!) get some sleep. I can practically see you rolling your eyes and thinking "it just can't be that bad!" I'm here to tell you to wake up! Where do you think the jokes about sleep deprivation came from? Why do you think it's used as a form of torture? Why do you think hospitals send new parents home with armfuls of pamphlets exclaiming in blaring capitals "NEVER SHAKE YOUR BABY!"?? I bet you're one of those women who see baby-murdering mothers on the news and wonder "How could a mother ever kill her own child?" Do yourself a favor and ask your mom friends. After they're finished lying to you about how perfect their kids are, ask them to tell you the honest truth. You'll be surprised that most of them have entertained the same thoughts. Am I scaring you a bit? Good. This is your wake-up call.

What you believe: Maternity leave is going to be just like a paid vacation. I get to sleep in, feed my gorgeous baby, take her to the park, and do some light shopping. Then, in the afternoon, I get to have a long luxurious nap. Maybe I'll bring her into the office? Maybe we'll go swimming at the community pool? I'll have lots of time to prepare a wonderful dinner for my husband. It sounds like bliss.

I'm warning you; it sounds like bliss because bliss, by definition, is a state of extreme happiness. It's unrealistic. If you are used to working as a professional 9-5er before your baby comes, then you have a taste of the kind of work you will be doing after your baby comes. Why? Because being a new mom is hard work! Maternity leave is not a paid vacation, unless you are being paid to vacation in hell. You will work harder physically than you have ever worked before and you will complete these tasks while suffering from sleep deprivation (like my friend Aimee) or postpartum depression (like Rebecca) or healing from a C-section (like Sarah) or suffering through 33+ stitches stretching from your vagina to your asshole (that was me!). You are going to run your ass off for your child who will cry, spit up, not sleep, urinate and defecate on you. All the things you normally did during 9-5 will seem like Child's Play (ha! pun!) compared to your new responsibilities. During the first three months, you think you're going shopping or to the park? You will be lucky to get out of bed and shower once a day. Hey, don't shoot the messenger, I'm only telling you the things we all wish our mom friends had told us.

What you believe: Colic is over-exaggerated by moms who want to scare you. It can't be as horrible as everyone says. I'm not even sure Colic exists, but if it does, so what? How bad can a crying baby really be?

I'm warning you; it's not over-exaggerated and it is as horrible as everyone says. Do yourself a favor. Ask to borrow a friend's baby or, better yet, get a recording of a baby crying. Now play it for 2 minutes. Are your nerves on edge? Now play it for three hours. Still think Colic is no biggie? It's even worse if you are the type of woman who believes that having a colicky baby is somehow your fault and you're ashamed to admit to anyone that you need help because you're suffering. You lie to yourself, trying to convince yourself that it's not really as bad as it is. I'm here to tell you, it is as bad as it is. There is a reason for the old saying "It takes a village to raise a baby". Think about it. I'm warning you, if you don't swallow your pride and ask for help when you need it, you will live to regret it.

I'm warning you; motherhood is the most wonderful, rewarding, heart-warming experience in the world. The first three months are as close to hell as you will ever experience, but once you are past them you will feel sheer joy that borders on bliss. There will be many, many moments every single day you have this same feeling, from the very first time you hold your new baby. My goal here isn't to reinforce how much you will love your infant because -- lord knows -- no one has trouble talking about that. Look, I'm here to tell you the truth, okay? These are the facts no one else will tell you because they don't want to scare you. I scare you because I care, because I wish someone had told me the truth, because I know (from experience) that we all go through the same things and maybe, for whatever reason, we don't talk about it like we should.

What are things they didn't tell you about pregnancy? Discuss!

next: Found: The Busiest Time of the Week
40 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jane April 14, 2009, 11:46 PM

Ha, and you are not even touching on the teenage years, :) Trust me, the first three months are child’s play compared to the teens.

cyndi April 15, 2009, 8:43 AM

Have to agree with jane! I had five teenagers at one time…trust me—whatever hell you think the newborn time is, you’ll look back on it with fondness and regret that you didn’t appreciate it. The teenage years are indescribable!

Sarah April 15, 2009, 11:00 AM

“I was as stressed and as close to insane as I ever want to be. Then I understood how moms somestimes kill their babies, even though they love them.”

I cant believe I just read that. From a Mother. You should be ashamed of yourself for thinking that!!

Anonymous April 15, 2009, 9:53 PM

omg are you mothers sure you should of had kids are you all are doing is complaing about motherhood when you should be celebrating it what about the good things like the baby holding onto your finger and holding the baby at looking into their eyes and feeling the strongest love you ever had come on moms lets be moms

Anonymous April 15, 2009, 10:10 PM

A good article that clearly and honestly describes some of the potential difficulties with childbirth and the beginnings of child-rearing. Lets face it, not everything is going to be perfect or even run smoothly. Babies don’t come with instruction manuals that fit all cases. Anyone who works with children on a consistent basis can attest to that.

Since this is my first pregnancy, I may still be a little over-optimistic, however, the reality still exists that there are going to be REALLY tough times. Times when a mom is on the edge of a precipice when an infant is up every hour of the night for a variety of reasons and sleep deprivation takes over. It’s normal.

I think it is important, as the author explicitly states, to recognize when they need help and ASK for it. Most people are willing to help if they know what is needed. There are lots of options from family and friends to support groups.

It’s incredibly hard work to raise a successful child. It takes time, dedication, patience, and a whole lot of love and understanding. Done right, with the child’s best interest in mind, the rewards are absolutely endless!!!

- Anonymous

Linda April 15, 2009, 11:44 PM

I agree with this entry. The first 3 months for the first time mom are the hardest. I remember when my first son wouldn’t stop crying, I wanted to throw him out the window, so to speak. It was sooooo frustrating. My SIL is a first time mom with twins. Not only does she have to deal with the life change of being a first time mom, she also has to deal with 2 newborns simultaneously. She has not gotten any sleep since her babies were born (they’re 1 month old now). When the first baby wakes up, the other is sleeping. And when the first baby falls asleep, the second one wakes. Aaarrgghh. She and her husband are having it rough. I can only imagine how hard it really is for them.

Nicole April 16, 2009, 2:55 PM

I can’t wait to pass this article on to friends. Although the first 3 months of my son’s life are a bit blurry now, I remember crying hysterically to my husband because all I wanted was 3 hours of sleep in a row. My silver lining of the first 3 months was that my hormones actually calmed down a bit…I’d like to apologize formally to all those who had to deal with me while I was pregnant. Especially during the first trimester when I cried my eyes out for 2-3 hours everyday. I wish someone had told me during pregnancy was that it might not be love at first sight. I thought that once I saw my child I would feel an overwhelming sense of love and an immediate bond. Honestly, it took months. Don’t get me wrong I knew I loved him, but as a girl who fell in love with my husband at first sight I didn’t feel the same way for my son. Even at his baptism party, 3 months after he was born I remember thinking. I could run away right now and never look back. It is embarrassing to admit now, but it did happen. I don’t think I really felt a true bond until about 4 months when his personality started to come out and I was comfortable enough to start getting out of the house showing him the world.

Jennerific April 16, 2009, 3:17 PM

hey readers, thanks for all the feedback good and bad! :)

i’m pumped that the article triggered such strong reactions in most of you, as it was designed to do.

feel free to stop by my blog and yell at there if you want. or not. or you can just say something nice. either way i always write back ;)

XOXO Jennifer Farrell, loving mom of one toddler

Ali April 16, 2009, 4:21 PM

This article is very true for me. I had my 1st baby 9 months ago and boy was I in for a rude awakening. My whole life I’ve had 8 hours of sleep per night and while I knew my sleep routine was going to change drastically I had no idea the toll it would take on my body. I was so crazy, on top of the sleep deprivation I was recovering from a c-section, my hormones were all over the place, I felt disgustingly fat and my husband and I fought like mad because I was in disbelief how chaotic my life felt. It really does get so much better at the 3 month mark, my daughter started sleeping a lot longer, my hormones leveled out, I was able to exercise again so I didn’t feel so gross. I see why people have more kids though, we want another. Even though the 3 months are very hard it’s so worth it. She is the sweetest, happiest little baby and makes me smile from ear to ear about 100 times a day.

ShannonCr April 16, 2009, 8:35 PM

So, so true… I starkly remember the first few weeks, the sleep deprivation, the utter confusion at what to do with this tiny person!! Refreshing honesty. Of course, I wouldn’t change it for the world- what would I do without my little girl?

SG April 21, 2009, 4:08 PM

Wow talk about someone who absolutely hated the first three months of their child’s life then used it as a scare tactic for new moms-to-be. Talk about someone who doesn’t take stress well or just simply wasn’t ready for a child. Yes, it can be VERY difficult to go through, but like others have said, EVERYONE’S EXPERIENCE IS DIFFERENT. I experienced sleepless nights, but surprisingly, didn’t find it as drug out and difficult as this author makes it.

Jennerific April 23, 2009, 3:20 PM

i didn’t write this article to mommy-coddle anyone, rather to tell it like it is. i also didn’t claim that my experience was horrific, just that in general, these seem to be the commonalities most women experience. as i explained on my blog, this article was the result of a collaboration of a lot of women sharing their feelings about new motherhood. keep the comments coming! i’m glad most of you could relate :)

Anonymous April 23, 2009, 8:14 PM

This article could not be anymore close to the truth. I read every book under the sun on pregnancy every website I could find to help myself prepare. My daughter was born last may. I had to have a c section because my daughters heartbeat spiked up to 180 and then during the c section I lost 1600’s of blood. I spent a week in the hospital with other complications with myself. My daughter was an angel, she was perfect .. didnt cry, fuss,have any medical problems .. nothing. Trying to deal with the hormones going back to normal was awful I think i even devoloped a little bit of post pardom. I spent the first 3 mths in pain from the c section, dealing with not being able to have my daughter naturally and will never be able to get that experience. I also wanted to breastfeed and wasnt able to. Everything I prepared for was not going the way it was suppose to. I felt like I failed my little girl. Feeling like a fat blob. Not being able to sleep at night and then getting up and taking care of her. It was hard and we both managed. But then again nothing in life is meant to be easy! I dont know where i’d be today without her

Michele April 29, 2009, 3:58 PM

Jennifer - you rock! Thanks for telling it like it is. While my baby was awesome, no tummy problems and slept through the night at five weeks, I’m sure my subsequent children will give me a run for my money.

Anonymous May 27, 2009, 8:10 PM

Wait until you’re dealing with a teenager,
you new mothers will wish you were back to dealing with a three month old!

Tfpvxbjs June 22, 2009, 11:00 AM

iC8Yoi comment5 ,

ScottNola September 14, 2010, 1:15 AM

It’s cool that we can take the loans and that opens completely new chances.

Golf September 14, 2010, 10:37 AM

Nice! I twittered this

Fashion Design October 1, 2010, 4:46 AM

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Cheap Conveyancing  February 15, 2011, 2:44 PM

Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

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