The Newborn Stage: Expectation Vs. Reality

The last few weeks of pregnancy are a special time in the lives of expecting parents. Many moms-to-be are filled with a mix of feelings regarding their baby's impending birth. Fear, joy, excitement, and nervousness are all normal. 

Most soon-to-be parents also spend a lot of time thinking about what life in the newborn stage will be like. Will their baby sleep? Will feeding be difficult? Will they ever get to spend time with their friends again? In the spirit of examining how the reality of parenting a newborn stacks up to the expectation I asked new moms what they thought. Check out their answers below!  

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Image via Flickr/ Palmer House Photography

In the weeks after giving birth, some women realized they had deeper motherly instincts that they realized. Shannon said, “Before having your child you freak out thinking you can’t raise a human. But in reality, once they arrive, it’s like a natural born instinct and you just go with it!” 

Other moms realized just how exhausting thinking about and taking care of family members and in-laws during the newborn stage can be. “I didn't realize how much family would want to visit even though I was exhausted and really didn't want to entertain,” said Ashley. 

Some moms, like Julie, realized that feeding their baby was tougher than they anticipated. “I was surprised how difficult breastfeeding was. I thought I was so prepared.” 

Others, like Megan and Tasi, figured out just how exhausting being a new mom during the newborn stage is. “I thought that newborns would sleep all of the time. Well, when my little guy was born, I found that not to be the case!” said Megan. Tasi agreed. “There aren't any real words that describe the fog-like tunnel vision that happens those first few weeks of having a newborn. I found it so hard to think about much else outside my baby.”

For some moms, like Stephanie, disappointment about not having help from family and friends tainted the newborn period. “Expectation: friends and family bring you meals, help you out, offer to hold the baby so you can shower, etc. Reality: you're isolated. Alone and trying to cook anything to eat for your one meal of the day while listening to your newborn scream for boob is hard.” 

No matter how the first few weeks of motherhood stacked up to compared to what moms had expected, they could all agree on one thing. “No matter how hard it is at first, you get better at it every day and soon you’re in love with your baby and you feel like a real mom!” said Maggie. 

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What was the newborn stage like for you? Did it meet your expectations? Share in the comments!

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The Newborn Stage: Expectation Vs. Reality

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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