When I found out I was pregnant, there were millions of things that started running through my mind, but the biggest worry I had was the fact that I lived five hours away from any of our family. My boyfriend is in chiropractic school and I moved to Chicago to be with him after I graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
We always knew we'd have children one day, we just didn't think it would be until after we moved back home. But life happens and we didn't want to let the worry of not having family around damper our excitement that we were going to have a baby!
I already have two nieces but didn't spend much time at home because I was away at school. So while I thought I would know what to do when I got pregnant, reality set in and I realized I was lost. I began reading baby books and checking websites to try to learn as much as possible about taking care of a baby.
This is what I've learned since I became a mom:
Being a mom is hard: They aren't kidding when they say a baby is hard work, but it's hard work that's also the most rewarding. From getting on a breast pumping schedule to navigating my baby's signs, there's a lot to learn and do. Being a mom isn't always hard, but when it is, you find that your natural instincts kick in and you figure it out. With each difficulty comes a moment of glory – for example, we cherish each night when the baby takes her bath and the three of us get to bond.
It's much harder to get grossed out: Sure, the idea of getting baby poop on your hands or thrown up on sounds gross, but when it happens you'll often find yourself just shrugging your shoulders. The first time she puked on me, I thought I was going to toss my cookies, too. But after a couple of weeks at home, it became just another part of the job.
People are really nice: I found myself freaking out when she would cry because I didn't want to upset the people around me, especially when we were in public. But I soon learned that people are more than willing to help out. We were recently at the grocery store and I had her in a carrier on my chest when she started crying, a random woman with a cart full of groceries and three children approached me and offered to help me get the sling off. It was something I never expected and an act that certainly restored my faith in humanity.
You'll feel a love like never before: I feel like this is something you can't grasp until it happens. Of course you know you'll love your child more than anything, but I feel like I can't kiss, hold and snuggle my daughter enough. Every time I look at her I'm amazed that I created such a beautiful little person and watching her grow each day makes me love her more than I did the day before.
These are just a few of the things I've learned since the birth of my daughter. What have you learned? Share your comments below!