The reality of life with a newborn
It’s amusing how sometimes in life you create these expectations in your head about how things are going to be…only to realize after the fact that reality is vastly different than expectation. This was certainly the case with my wife and I after the birth of our daughter.
Finding out I was going to be a new dad was followed by a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. I was extremely excited and happy…but completely overwhelmed and nervous at the same time. As the pregnancy trucked along, we got caught up in all the preparation (shopping, baby proofing, baby showers, and, of course, the classes and the books). We were so busy that we almost couldn’t wait for our daughter to be born just so we could get back to our normal routine. Or at least to that new routine we envisioned somewhere along the way.
Funny thing about that; nobody mentioned our “expectations” to Maevyn (our daughter)…she had other ideas!
Expectations versus Reality
I am going to lose a little sleep.
I knew we were going to lose a little sleep at night. I knew that babies needed to be fed and changed often and that we would probably be pretty tired for the first couple of weeks. I was mentally prepared for all that. But mentally preparing for something I knew nothing about was about as beneficial as putting ice cream in the microwave to keep it from melting.
I had no idea babies make so many noises when they sleep. I also had no idea I would be SO worried and anxious anytime she made a gurgle or shifted in her crib. I certainly was not prepared for every little noise she made causing my heightened senses to go into overdrive. Sleep as I had known it before she was born was certainly out of the question. I don’t think I “sleep” so much as doze now.
A few months ago I believed I wouldn’t be able to survive on 6 hours of sleep over an extended period of time. Now those 6 hours seems like sleeping in. Expectations definitely didn’t meet reality…but as every new parent has ever done before us, you find a way to make it through.
So much for that regular schedule we used to have.
Even though it didn’t always seem so, life was so easy before the baby came along. You had work and then other activities you could choose to do or not to do. Should I mow the lawn Saturday or Sunday? “Babe, let’s just go out to dinner tonight.” Spur of the moment was not a problem.
Well, those days of spontaneity are gone and even those moments are fewer and farther between. Now, my wife and I even have to “schedule” who gets to take a shower and when. Who knew I would actually have to “plan” on when I ate or when I would go run errands?
My body is my temple that is closed for renovation.
Was I a world class athlete? No. But I like to hit the gym and keep myself in shape. There was a time when I would actually get pretty tense about missing out on a workout session. Oh those days of free time!
It’s not like I can’t go workout, but taking all of that time to myself is something I just don’t want to do right now. Add up the driving time, showering, the post workout meal, and the workout itself; that is a lot of time…time I’m not spending with my little girl (and taking away from any type of break for my wife). Stressing out because I DID take the time to workout is definitely a far cry from my “past life” and certainly not what I expected.
I never knew I could love something so much.
Do I love things? Of course I do. My wife, my family, and my football team are all things I love. Other parents have said you don’t know what love really is until you have a baby. They were right…
I honestly had no idea how much I could love something until I saw her. The feeling I get just holding her when she sleeps or when she smiles at me makes everything else pale in comparison. It’s been 7 weeks now and we still just sit and stare at her when she is sleeping thinking how lucky we are to have a healthy baby girl and just amazed that she is a part of each one of us.
Has having a baby played out how I expected it would be? Certainly not. Is our “new life” with the little one harder than I imagined? For sure. But at the end of the day, is it as rewarding as I imagined? Not even close – having Maevyn is SO much better than I could have possibly imagined. And that makes all the little stresses and changes we’ve gone through seem so small…life is good.
Photo credit: jessicafm