26 Weeks: A Little Optimism

June 1, 2012

5 years ago (almost to the week!) Matt and I were getting ready to get married. Pretty much every person we met had some kind of marriage advice for us. The overwhelming majority (mostly those of older generations) said: “YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO CHANGE! YOUR RELATIONSHIP WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!”

Since Matt and I had never gotten married before, we didn’t really know what to expect, but in private we both agreed that we couldn’t imagine anything being different. We already lived together and we’d been together for 5 years. We didn’t think the labels of husband and wife would really change us much.

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And you know what? We were right. Nothing changed. We were exactly the same pair! We had new commitments and new challenges, but there was nothing inherent about marriage that changed either of us. If anything, things got way better.

I can’t help but feel like my life is on replay. As we share with others that we are expecting, people loooove to say “YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO CHANGE” in an ominous, warning tone. (Again, older generations seem to love this phrase! Surprisingly, younger parents are actually the ones who offer the most encouragement and excitement.)

Allow me to be a bit flippant here, but I KNOW! Luckily we chose this path and have both always wanted to be parents. The change that is coming is one we welcome with open arms. We know there will be sleepless nights (and I’m sure they’ll be even worse than I imagine) and tough days and times when we miss our old lives, but we still know this is coming.

I’m sure the folks with the ominous tones have good intentions. Perhaps they just wish they had been more mentally prepared when they were having their first child. But the tendency to dwell on the negative rather than the positive when it comes to having kids makes me sad. I am thankful for those who have said things like “It’s the most wonderful thing in the world.” As an optimist, I like to hope for the best and deal with the struggles when I get to them in my own journey.

Sarah recently wrote a post about people saying “Just you wait!” to her.

But I absolutely love the “just you waits!” shared by Katie in this post.

I loved Callie’s message to “Let Her Dream”

Please DO let us dream – and if you’d like to say “I told you so” when I’m complaining about all the messes, the stress, the sleeplessness a year from now, let that be your moment : ) **

**I’d like to say though that in my BERF comments you guys are all so supportive and I’m preaching to the choir : ) **

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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ashlynn June 1, 2012 at 8:19 am

Ugh, Katie’s “Joy or Just you wait post” made me cry. My dad has alzheimers. And, he repeats a lot of phrases these days and one of his favorites is “just you wait until they become teenagers.” I’m not sure where he picked it up because my siblings and I were good kids. And, he always let us know that then. But, something in him makes him say this phrase now, and it hurts. I know he’s sick and he probably doesn’t really mean it, but it’s still hard to hear him say it. So, when someone makes negative comments, it doesn’t always just hurt or discourage the person they are saying it to. And, sometimes people say things without thinking or knowing, so you shouldn’t take it to heart but it’s hard not to.

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2 KERF June 1, 2012 at 9:01 am

I’m sorry to hear about your dad. My grandmother Younger did similar things when she was getting very old and we all just smiled like it was the first time she said them

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3 CaitlinHTP June 1, 2012 at 9:08 am

I am sorry about your daddy too :(

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4 ashlynn June 1, 2012 at 9:20 am

Thank you both. It sounds bad, but it’s something you get used to after awhile. I think my point was just that some people say negative things without thinking or really knowing what they’re saying and while it may bother you to hear them say it, you just have to remember that it was often said without much thought. And, I feel like a lot of people throw the “just wait” phrase out there because they want to show that they have experience or make it seem like they know something you don’t.

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5 Mom June 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Your dad might not mean it quite as negatively as you think. Teenagers have lots of pep and opinions, and they can certainly challenge their parents, but I bet he loved you to pieces when you were a teenager. He knows you will feel the same way about yours.

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6 Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com June 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I second this. My dad says all the time that he loved it most when we were teenagers – but he also tells people “just wait until they’re teenagers!” Not because he wants to make them feel anxious about things to come, but because you think it’s great now? Just wait, it gets better! He’s always surprised that people think he means they should dread it; he doesn’t.

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7 Sarah June 1, 2012 at 8:25 am

When my son was born, there was a mixture of ‘people don’t talk about how hard it is!!!’ and ‘people don’t talk about how great it is!!!’

You never known how you’re going to feel about the unknown anyway, and everyone’s experience is different.

I’d also like to add, getting this kind of advice when you’re pregnant for the second time has also been super annoying.

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8 Linda June 1, 2012 at 8:25 am

There is no doubt that having children is hard work, but the most important thing to focus on is that it is also one of the most wonderful things you will experience in your life. You cannot explain the pure joy you will carry in your heart until you have your own child. I am so excited for both you and Matt!!

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9 Lindsey June 1, 2012 at 8:25 am

My least favorite peice of advice while pregnant was “get sleep now while you can.” During the 3rd tri, especially near the end, I was waking up so many times and I was so uncomfortable that sleep was never as restful as I’d like. Then, napping was out of the question because I had to work.

Now my baby is 17 days old and I am still sleep deprived, but I sleep so much better and I can nap. There are some nights worse than others and it is hard when he is upset or cluster feediing. Overall, it so very worth it.

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10 Jennifer June 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

We were told the exact same thing before we had kids but nothing really changed. We just added a few extra little bodies to share our lives with. :)

I think most people who say that either don’t have any kids or they enjoy “their” time of going out without the added responsibility of children too much. But, if you include your children from the start in everything you do, you will find that nothing really changes.

Just like with your marriage, I think you will find that your lives will change for the better. :) Don’t listen to any negativity. :)

Oh, and just as an FYI, having more than one child doesn’t change things either. If you decide on having another in the future, you’ll hear how much harder it is. It’s no harder than one. Again, it’s just another little person to love and add into your lives. :)

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11 Emily June 1, 2012 at 8:33 am

I know I was resentful of this when I was getting married and then recently during my pregnancy BUT honestly, no one can prepare you for how challenging and amazing this time period will be. Now that I am on the other side, I realize people say those things because they are processing their own experience. Women especially, seem desperate to tell their stories. The take away that I have is that while there are qualities that are similar, each journey into parenthood is unique and different. It is wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. :)

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12 Ann's Sister June 1, 2012 at 8:36 am

The thing is, you can’t know how much it will change your life until you experience the change yourself, it’s true. But as an optimist myself, I kind of wonder if maybe those old generations aren’t trying to be negative. :) Sleepless nights, a little person that demands your attention and care 110%, poopy diapers and crying aside, you’re also suddenly going to have a part of YOU outside of your body. Things will happen to him you can’t control, you’ll want to protect him from everything bad in the world, and your heart will sudenly feel like it’s quadrupled in size. THAT is what is truly going to change your life – and it’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and unfathomable to imagine until it happens :)

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13 Cindy June 1, 2012 at 8:52 am

Great post! I couldn’t agree with you more. As a mom of a 5 month old, I still get those words of doom. But I just try to shrug it off. We were are so happy to be parents ad gladly take the good with the bad, at the end of the day the smiles from my little guy and seeing him grow and change make it ALL worth it! You will be great parents and I know you will love the journey that parenthood takes you.

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14 BB June 1, 2012 at 8:58 am

Raising a family is hard work. Awesome, wonderful, hard work. You’ll do just fine.

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15 Katie June 1, 2012 at 9:04 am

So true. I read an article on pregnant chicken.com that listed the top ten things u shouldn’t say to a pregnant woman and that we one of them. Also on the list: you look huge/small, sleep now, etc. everyone does focus on the negative!!!

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16 CaitlinHTP June 1, 2012 at 9:08 am

I also hate the “sleep while you can” comment. There is no way to stock up on sleep. It is a stupid comment. LOL

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17 Sarah (the SHU box) June 1, 2012 at 9:18 am

I sooo agree! Wish you could though!

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18 Kristin June 1, 2012 at 10:07 am

Also agree with this comment! We just had a baby 3 weeks ago and I’m sleeping better than I was when I was prego. I’ll take being able to sleep on my stomach and not peeung every 5 seconds any day over being huge prego.

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19 Allison k June 1, 2012 at 10:22 am

My son is 25 days old….and I was just thinking about the sleep now comment the other day. I think what people mean is “cherish/enjoy/covet” your sleep, because the newborn phase is a whole new ball game. It does sound stupid to think you can stockpile it.
We don’t have consistent sleep pattern yet (obviously) but when we do get 3 or 4 hour stretches, I sleep better than I did in weeks 36-41 of pregnancy!

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20 KERF June 1, 2012 at 11:33 am

Another dumb thing about the sleep: If you CAN sleep, you will. It’s not like pregnant women are staying up and not going to bed on purpose. And so many have insomnia and to tell someone with insomnia to sleep doesn’t make sense either – sleeping isn’t always a choice!

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21 Hope June 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

Right? And like you need to be told to sleep when you can. If you are exhausted (which is pretty much all of the time) and the baby is sleeping of course you are going to sleep.

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22 Nicole June 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

We had so many people tell us the same thing when we got married at 23 (after living together for three years). We were exactly the same too, but when I tell people that, it’s like they think there’s something wrong with us!

This kind of reminds me of this post from XOJane: http://www.xojane.com/family-drama/first-time-daughter-i-hate-you. It’s like, look, there are going to be some less-than-stellar moments when you’re a parent, but it’s how you deal with those things that really matters.

We’re not ready for kids yet, but when we are, I want to embrace everything about it–the good and the bad–just like you’re doing. Maybe this is me being naive, but aren’t the sleepless nights and diaper blowouts sort of like part of the greatness of this new life? It’s like when you going camping or throwing a party or something…it’s more fun if there’s a little bit of conflict/stress because then you feel way prouder when you pull it off.

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23 KERF June 1, 2012 at 9:12 am

it’s how you deal with those things that really matters.

Great point!

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24 Sarah (the SHU box) June 1, 2012 at 9:21 am

Aw thanks for the shout out :) I think there is so much to love about having a new baby and I’m so excited for what it will be like as she grows, too. Of course things have changed but it’s not a bad thing! I am confident you will also love the new adventure as well as your beautiful baby!

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25 Sarah @ Williamsburg Baby June 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

Another thing that drives me nuts is when people tell me how I am going to feel about managing certain things with a newborn or small baby. Like ‘oh, you won’t want to/can’t leave the house til after 6 weeks when he’s had his immunizations.’ or ‘There’s no way you are going to want to drive/fly to a friend’s wedding when he’s 2 months old.’ I tend to think that people who are overwhelmed by travel, or nervous about germs will continue to be that way after their child arrives…who knows how I will react, but I reserve the right to make those decisions when the time comes. Barring any health complications, I may well be that ‘crazy lady’ with her newborn at brunch etc. When people tell me otherwise, I feel like they are somehow resentful that with their children they didn’t feel they could do those things for whatever reason.

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26 Allison k June 1, 2012 at 10:27 am

My husband and I just drove 8.5 hours with our Almost 4 week old son yesterday, so we can attend a dear friends wedding tomorrow! Although it should be noted the drive usually takes 7 hours. :)

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27 Cortney June 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm

THIS. I am most inspired by people who make the baby a part of their lives, not the center of it. My ex’s two sisters were great role models about this for me. They did stuff like take a newborn camping, they would strap babies to themselves and hike up in the mountains, they moved cross county with tiny babies and took them everywhere. One of them went to summer camp every single year with her husband (it was his summer job) even when two of those years she had two relatively small babies (under one, I think, and one was a few months old). They both also worked out hard to stay in shape during pregnancy and get back in shape after.

I think that people who are kind of unmotivated to begin with just hit the jackpot when they have kids because honestly it’s the perfect excuse. Blaming your kids for why you can’t travel or clean your house or go camping or visit family or workout is really quite easy in our culture, and it seems like an excuse that you’re never allowed to question.

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28 Kelly June 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Your last paragraph just made me go “Wow.” I’m sure there are people who use their children as an excuse to not do this or that in the same way that there are some people who use a job, or finances, or what have you. But I also think there are a lot of people that realize that no matter how much you prepare, certain life decisions have the power to change you (good and bad) and that you can never really know how you’ll react to a certain situation until you go through it. How many times have you heard people who thought they would be X or Y kind of parent and found themselves reacting completely differently once they actually had a child? It doesn’t mean there isn’t value in preparing, imagining, and planning, only that you have to be prepared for the fact that your future may be very different than you imagine and it is OKAY if it is. And that while you might not always agree with their opinions, people who have been through the process before probably know a bit more about it than those who are have not. It doesn’t mean you have to do exactly as they say, but generally I’ve found that well meaning advice does hold some value. Personally I think there is value in balance. Yes, it shouldn’t be all doom and gloom, but if it’s only focusing on the 100% rosy and positive it’s probably not realistic either.

I’m not sure I’ll ever have children and in some ways I’m glad because I feel like there is so much judgment related to parenting. As long as the child is healthy and happy, whether or not someone’s life changes because of a kid or what changes they choose to make should be their choice and neither should be seen as any better or worse than the other. Not to mention there are some places that just aren’t always appropriate to bring a child because depending on the child’s behavior it can be incredibly rude to those around you so I think sometimes people realizing that babies shouldn’t be part of their every activity can be a good thing.

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29 Cortney June 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I’m not saying that babies should be hauled to 5 star restaurants or concert performances or what have you- but that also falls under my “don’t blame your kids” umbrella. If you don’t want to do those things, don’t do them, but don’t blame your kids. My comment may not have been as nuanced as I’d like it because I didn’t add a ton of disclaimers, but clearly I’m not ragging on people in extenuating circumstances like poverty, or PPD, or having a hard time adjusting to being a parent.

I’m just saying that in addition to the examples I gave above literally every single one of my close friends/family who are parents have not let having kids be a convenient excuse for why they can’t do this or that. They’ll say “eff that, I don’t want to go” but it’s not “oh, it’s too hard to do X,Y,Z with the baby.” The examples I have had all around me of friends/family becoming parents are people who welcomed baby into the fold, but didn’t then give him a throne and a crown and make him High Emperor Decider of All Life Things- nor did they make him a scapegoat for everything they never did before kids, anyway.

Sorry if the comment came off blunt or insensitive. Maybe I spend too much time on stfuparents…

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30 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More June 1, 2012 at 9:23 am

You tell ‘em, girl! Besides like you said, you know your life is going to change, but why does it always have to be said in such a negative or ominous tone? Why can’t it be in a happy, your life is going to change for the BETTER kind of way?

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31 Kelly@Runmarun June 1, 2012 at 9:29 am

Great post and you have a very down-to-earth perspective about what having kids is going to be like. You two are so adaptable, I imagine you will do exactly what you always did, with your little one in tow!

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32 rosie @ rosalicious June 1, 2012 at 9:29 am

People tell us all the time to “enjoy each other while you can” — sorry, but I don’t plan on not having date nights and such with my husband once we have a kid! And I’m not not quite sure this one bothers me so much, but I find myself getting irritated when people tell me not to get to attached to my birth plan because nothing goes as planned. OH REALLY? I THOUGHT I COULD ORDER UP THE PERFECT BIRTH.

I know people mean well and are just spouting out canned advice, but at this point I’m looking for really good practical advice, like who a good doctor would be for delivering my baby in C’ville (I’m going to email you now!)

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33 Danielle June 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

Its really annoying when people launch negativity into such an amazingly joyous event! But the ‘just you wait’ that I will add, a la Katie’s post, is– just you wait until you see how much it is possible for you to love your baby! People said this to me, and I kind of half dismissed it because OF COURSE I will love my baby, but you know what, they were right. I could not have imagined this kind of heart bursting, universe shifting love, that erupted when our baby came along. And it is the best.thing.ever!

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34 Marie June 1, 2012 at 9:48 am

You’re 26 weeks into the greatest job you’re ever going to have. You’re already a mother and life only gets sweeter.

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35 SB June 1, 2012 at 10:09 am

Nothing can prepare you for how amazing being a parent is. Nothing can prepare you for how challenging it can be. But you will figure it all out.

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36 Kathi June 1, 2012 at 10:11 am

Yes you will be just the same, except your relationship will be better!! The love you have for your newborn is so unbelievable and just increases the love you have for your spouse. I loved the “Just You Wait” article. Last night we sat out back on the patio eating dinner with our kids, ages 19, 19 and 23 and laughed for an hour after dinner. Life gets better each year…….

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37 lauri June 1, 2012 at 10:18 am

Sure Things are going to change… for the better!

So many people ‘warned’ us that I was to the point of accepting I would never shower, brush my teeth, eat, sleep or see the inside of target ever again… but its actually been the complete opposite! Sure I wake up 2-3 times per night to feed, but we go back to sleep.w/in 30mins most nights. Yes I have to plan showers and daily hygeine around her naps, and I’m a little slower when shopping around target now that I have a little one to tote around (loving the ergo!!!). But its not nearly as ‘bad’ as I thought it was going to be based on what everyone kept telling us. I’m starting to think that if you are calm, relaxed, and just take things as they come then your baby will be calm and relaxed and life with a newborn won’t seem so hard:-)

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38 Nikki T June 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

This post is perfect! It’s exactly how I think and feel, but of course I just take the advice/comments graciously with a smile :)
I feel sad when people say things that make it sound like they regret or resent thier children…there are so many people out there that want nothing more than to be a Mama or Papa and they can’t be for whatever reason…
I love hearing “There’s nothing like it! It’s amazing!” much more :)

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39 Hope June 1, 2012 at 10:33 am

Nothing will mentally prepare you for having a baby. It’s all completely new territory and you won’t know what it’s like until you are there. I think people are trying to help by warning you but really it won’t do any good. The sleepless nights were nothing like I imagined. But you know what? It got better and it keeps getting better. When my son giggles it’s pretty much the best thing in the world. Some aspects of parenthood are worse than I imagine but mostly things are way better!

It really is the toughest most amazing job you will ever have. I think it’s great to go in with a positive attitude and just accept that things can go in a whole different direction than you expected. But that’s ok!

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40 Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength June 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

HAHAHA…I love this. It is annoying…especially because people CHOOSE to have kids. I think most moms say it kind if joking around, but I can see how it is frustrating and I think I felt the same way …it’s like “let me be and dream about how cute and wonderful my baby is going to be” :)

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41 KERF June 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

Even if the baby was a surprise, it doesn’t do any good to be all ominous after the woman is already pregnant. Like she could just change her mind! I watched that show “16 and pregnant” once and the mom was being all mean to the daughter about what’s to come and the daughter was finally like “I CAN’T UNDO THIS NOW!”

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42 Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength June 1, 2012 at 11:33 am

That is SUCH a good point. :)

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43 lauri June 1, 2012 at 10:50 am

Oh, and there were SO many people that said the cloth diapering sill never last (I even got laughed at a few times!!) And everyone told me how hard and brst feeding was (one girl told me it was like rubbing sandpaper over my nipples!). I was scared! But now that I’m actually doing both, I LOVE it! Cloth diapering is not hard or messy or time consuming. And breast feeding does NOT hurt now (it did at first, just gotta toughen up those nips :-) ) so definitely don’t let anyone scare you out of trying different things… if it works out, great! If not, at least you can say you tried it!

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44 Johanna B June 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

I am older and often find myself thinking that hated phrase “Your life is about to change.” When I got married, babies were something that came along as part of the deal. There was little choice for women. That has changed and now young families PLAN when to get pregnant. They have time to settle into life before a baby comes along. Maybe that is why we older folks don’t always understand what it is like for you. We couldn’t choose when to get pregnant. I know from reading your blogs for several years that you and Matt will make wonderful parents and I can see you welcoming what lies ahead. I wish you only good things.

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45 Cailin June 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

As someone who is pregnant with #3 (and yes my oldest isn’t even 4 yet- but almost)— you cannot imagine the comments now (most negative and mostly from friends no less!)— about how crazy we are, how chaotic things are going to be, have we really thought this through etc. etc.
It gets old hearing these things because – yes- we planned on having 3 and I feel blessed that I am able to be pregnant a 3rd time. Coming from a family of 7 (5 kids)- 3 doesn’t seem all that big to me. On the flipside, I know having 3 ages 4 and under will be crazy. Time to embrace a little “Crazy!” I guess! THank goodness my husband is not type A like myself. He really loves the wild ride of life with kids and helps me remember to relax and soak it all in.

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46 Kate June 1, 2012 at 11:43 am

Great post. My sister is 11 months older than me and my brother is 13 months younger thand me and my little sister is 13 months younger than him. I remember people commenting all of the time to my Mom about how crazy she was and how hard it must be. I love that she always responded….”Hard sometimes but Great most of the time and Joyful all of the time–look at them–I am so proud and grateful!”

My mom let us know that we were AMAZING, wonderful kids all of the time…even when we were struggling in some way….and you know all of us are happy, independent, loving and giving adults. I so wish all children were able to have parents like mine.

You and Matt will do great and will have such fun and happiness as parents–I can tell!

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47 Courtney June 1, 2012 at 11:54 am

Ok I know this is super cheesy, but it reminds me of the lyrics from the Trace Adkins song “You’re Gonna Miss This”… even though it will seem crazy and so hard, it’s a part of life and it should still be cherished since it goes by in the blink of an eye…

Five years later there’s a plumber workin’ on the water heater
Dog’s barkin’, phone’s ringin’
One kid’s cryin’, one kid’s screamin’
She keeps apologizin’
He says they don’t bother me
I’ve got 2 babies of my own
One’s 36, one’s 23
Huh, it’s hard to believe

But you’re gonna miss this, You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times, So take a good look around
You may not know it now, But you’re gonna miss this

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48 KERF June 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Love that song :)

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49 Jordan June 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I’m almost 31 weeks, and I’m getting the “your life will completely change” comments too! It’s getting kind of annoying. You know what, my life completely changed almost 8 years ago when I began dating a man (and married him the next year) with a 3 year old little boy. It will be different with our own child, but we already have the responsibilities of having a child. I think people forget that sometimes, or discount our parenting of my stepson because he’s only with us 50% of the time. Ugh, and most of these comments are coming from my husband’s family! I usually just smile and nod.

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50 Cara June 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Kath, This is a fantastic post with great perspective. Way to focus on the positive, beautiful things in life.

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51 Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana June 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I have to say that having a baby has totally added a layer of joy and wonder that I never knew was possible to our lives! I also fall more and more in love with my husband as I watch him be a father to our daughter…there are many good times ahead!! :)

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52 Leatitia June 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Something that brings you that much joy also brings a lot of challenges. My life is completely different postbaby but that doesn’t mean I don’t like my new life. You’re surrounded by people that loves you that will help you I’m sure you’re going to adjust to your new life witan mother and love every minute of it.

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53 Marci June 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm

People just like others to feel misery too I think so they aren’t alone. However, the first few weeks were very difficult for me and I cried a lot (daily many times) and I’m not a teary person. It is more frustrating than I imagined, and I think people try to warn for what’s to come.

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54 Emily@the doodlebug June 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

So so so true – I’m expecting and we’ve been hearing all the same things. Love your thoughts on it :)

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55 Kelly June 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I think most people have good intentions, and if you have experienced certain things – i.e. pregnancy, marriage, college, etc. – it’s hard not to “tell” other people how it is. Of course, that’s just one experience. There are many different experiences in life – some have good ones, some have bad ones. So, maybe the person saying “just wait” or “sleep now” is just going off of what THEY know. I’d rather have someone WITH experience offering up “advice” than someone who just assumes they know what marriage or childbirth is like, you know? I think it’s always a good idea to take it ANY and ALL advice people give…it’s good to hear the good, the bad, and the oh-so-ugly. Doesn’t mean it will be this way for us, but it’s good to have that knowledge on hand, just in case. So, you could take what you are terming “negative” advice and still make it positive to your situation.

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56 Kaya June 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Agree! I think when you’re in a place of excitement and anticipation, it’s easy to see anything less as negative. I think advice is typically offered in a genuine way, and before you know it you might be that parent saying “prepare to never sleep again!” to a friend who’s expecting….it really is different once you’ve been there, done that.

We tend to be all “just you wait….” because we’ve been you – we felt that we were prepared, our lives wouldn’t change, that what other people commiserated over wouldn’t happen to us. The true reality is you can NEVER be fully prepared – for the love you’ll feel, or for the moments of frustration. Your life WILL change, in good ways and sometimes in not so good ways. You’ll forge a new path, but it will be different than the old.

Speaking only for myself, it’s got nothing to do with wishing I were more mentally prepared, and to be honest that kind of ticked me off. I went through fertility treatments to conceive, and had many years of yearning to become a mother – during which time I read all I could, spoke with mothers about their experiences, babysat nieces and nephews and just generally “imagined” being a mom. Even with all that, there’s nothing that can fully prepare you for actually becoming a mother – not for the immense love and joy, nor the occasional but oh-so-real moments where you’re ready to give up. It’s HARD….there’s a reason every parent on earth will attest to that. That’s not to say it’s without reward beyond all measure! But there will be bumps in the road, situations that arise that no amount of “mental preparation” could ready you for. I don’t know that there’s a mother alive who could honestly say that she never had a hard time or struggled with some part of being a parent for the first time – but I’m sure most, if not all, would say they felt they were very prepared ahead of time.

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57 Jennifer June 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm

There were two comments I hated when I was pregnant. “Your life is about to change” drove me crazy. I finally just started saying, “I know and I can’t wait! I’m so excited!!” I also hated when people would say things like, “Wow! You’re really getting big!” Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t give you the right to comment on my body.

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58 emily campano June 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

People said the same thing to us when I was pregnant! It made me crazy!! We struggled with infertility for a long time, so as you can imagine we were just so excited that we were going to become parents! Now two years later I still think my daughter is the coolest little human ever. After she goes to bed at night, we often ask each other if we should go wake her up to play some more :-). You guys will LOVE being parents, there is nothing more fun and rewarding!

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59 Cortney June 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm

The constant commenting and butting in and unwanted advice is a huge part of the reason why I have often not so jokingly said that if I ever get pregnant I’m not telling anyone for as long as possible. I can’t even imagine how exhausting it is to have the same conversations over and over, to hear the same advice, to have to politely smile and listen to everyone and their dog’s birth stories, to answer questions about names, etc.

I know that sounds super negative, but I just mean that I found it annoying to make the same banal chit chat every day in my early customer service jobs, and I cannot imagine having to do something like that with something as personal as one’s own body/baby. I think I’ll just let people wonder if I’m getting fat and then be all “Surprise! I’m due in two months!” haha.

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60 Lindsay @ Fuel My Family June 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm

life does change with a baby, obviously! But who says change is bad? Just like marraige, sure there is change, but its the best kind!

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61 Anna @ On Anna's Plate June 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Hahaha…I felt the same exact way during my pregnancy when people would say that– I always just wanted to shout, “I KNOW!!! I KNOW THINGS WILL CHANGE!!!” I pity the fool parent who goes into parenthood thinking that everything is just going to stay the same, and you and Matt don’t sound like that at all, so y’all will be all good! It’s tough to “get” the change before the baby is actually here, but I think as long as you’re expecting life to be at least somewhat different (and not at ALL in all bad ways– some of the change is wonderful!) after childbirth, you’ll be okay.

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62 Jen June 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Agree agree agree. Life changes after a baby, but clearly every pregnant woman knows that. The sleepless nights are so, so worth it <3

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63 Lindsey June 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm

It is SO helpful how you have the links set up here so we can scroll back through the weeks. None of the other pregnancy blogs do that and it’s so frustrating. Thanks for doing this!

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64 KERF June 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm

So glad!! I always wanted that on other peoples’ blogs too :)

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65 PM June 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I’m of the “older generation” and I’d also say your life will change. It’s ever so much better than you can imagine. I’ll never forget holding my first baby for the first time and thinking what a privilege and responsibility I’d been given–even after preparing for her for nine months–it was such an awesome realization having that baby of ours in my arms. And it just gets better–so yes, things change–I think for the better. You are going to love it!

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66 Kristen @ The Concrete Runner June 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Kath, I have to tell you that while being a mom is really, really hard, it’s also the absolute greatest thing in the entire world! It has been hard on our marriage – going from worry about yourself + someone who is fully capable of caring for themselves to having a baby who is totally reliant on you is a huge adjustment. My time is spent focusing on our baby and we have to find the time to spend with each other. Our priorities and sense of freedom have changed, but it has made me a better person. Stay optimistic and don’t let those people get to you. I promise, it’s worth the sleepless nights!

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67 Brandy June 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Wonderful post. I’ve just been going through a bit of this myself – I’m 32 and getting married this year, and most of my friends have celebrated 5 years or more of wedded bliss with 1-2 children. I’m getting SO tired of hearing the “just you waits” as if somehow in our same 32 years I’m somehow “behind” and they have an upper hand. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one, and I’ve really been trying to think about all the times I might say the same thing!
Also – glad to know being married didn’t change anything. I can’t imagine it will. We’re just as committed now as we will be after saying “I do.”

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68 Beth June 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Your post reminded me of this post – Choosing Positivity in Parenting from A Collection of Passions. http://acollectionofpassions.com/blog/choosing-positivity-in-parenting I saw it in the twitterverse months ago. It’s so true that so many people are so negative about kids (re: sleep, life changes, etc). My son is almost 7 months and honestly he is the best thing, I agree with her comment in the post, that I have never wanted to work so hard at something in my life as I do at being a mom. It is such an amazing experience and you are going to love every moment (even the tougher ones). And @Courtney I love that song by Trace Adkins always reminds me to slow down and enjoy every moment of motherhood!

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69 Wendy June 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm

As mama to a 7yo and a 5yo who will both be in school when you’re welcoming BabyKERF (sniff, where does the time go?!?), I feel qualified to say….

Just you wait….your life is about to change….and once that baby is here, you won’t be able to imagine it any other way! :)

This is such a wonderful, fleeting time in your life. Soak up every precious moment of your pregnancy and those newborn weeks. You can’t EVER get these times back, especially the newness and wonder of your first. Enjoy, and just let those negative comments go in one ear and out the other!

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70 KERF June 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm
71 britt June 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm

your life will definitely change. and it will be hard. but in the best way ever!! it’s not like anything you can possibly imagine but nobody can ever explain it to you…you just have to live it. my favorite part of my first pregnancy was not really knowing how everything was going to be. so i think you are wise to just soak that up :)

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72 Wendy June 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm

AGREED!

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73 Diane June 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Change is for the better, and your mind blocks out all of the harder stuff when they get older and you are then wishing they were itty bitty again. That is why people have multiple kids.

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74 Julia June 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Great attitude! The only things we haven’t been able to do much anymore are late nights out with friends & “fancy” restaurants – but that’s what babysitters are for, right? I think life gets so much more interesting & fun with little kids – they are messy but they’re also a blast :)

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75 Erin Motz June 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm

This was a fabulous post – my fave so far! I love your thinking and agree with you. Change, in this case, will be an amazing thing and not something to dread. Plus, all the good stuff that comes along with kids far outweighs the occasional meltdown or sleepless night! ;) It’s all about perspective!

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76 Monica June 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm

My daughter is 8 months old, and I used to hate the “just wait” comments, too. For one, because, um, DUH, I knew our life will change (for the better!), and for two, we tried for 4 years to conceive our baby, and we could not WAIT to incorporate her into our family and adjust things here and there if need be.

Having our baby has been awesome, and it has changed things in our daily life. (Note especially for you: I used to be the same way as you- didn’t think about dinner until 5pm. That is completely impossible with a baby!! Get ready to think about dinner the minute you wake up in the morning! Some days it will take you all day to get prepped!!) She is SO worth it though :) We are so grateful to be her parents, and so thankful that she is finally here!! I thought the commenter who said that someone she knew didn’t change anything from her life pre-baby- just packed up her baby and went camping, etc- was kind of over-generalizing as far as people who don’t do stuff after their baby were lazy in the first place. That is so great that that baby was so chill about having such an on the go lifestyle- our daughter is pretty easy going, too, but in our experience, sometimes babies (especially newborns) need to just slow down and be cuddled, and if that means missing out on Fridays After Five, then that’s what it means. Also, we have a pretty regular bedtime routine, starting about 7:45, which has meant choosing to forego alot of evening activities. But providing her with that stability has really allowed her to thrive and get excellent sleep at night, and there will be plenty of years for evening things later. Right now, we’ve been blessed with a baby, and we’re going to drink up every second!!

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77 Jenn June 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Great post. I have a 3yr old and 1yr old and always tell expectant friends – “you’ve got so much to look forward to”.
Yes life changes, and yes there are hard bits, but its so great. So so great. You’re in for some fantastic times ahead. <3

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78 Ashton June 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I feel the same way, me and my boyfriend of 3 and half years aree trying to have a baby and because we’re younger then some people may agree with we’re constantly being told “oh its so hard, your lives will never be the same” generally negative comments and sometimes I want to be like so you regret having your children? Since that’s what it comes across as. It drives me mental constantly having people act like our choice is a bad one. I know people sometimes mean well but when you know what its going to be like because you have watched so many other people become parents it can drive you nut and make you angry. Just be happy for us, congratulate us, and yes there has been a couple people who are genuinely happy for us and I’m very greatful for them. I am optimistic I will love being a parent and I will love my child endlessly through the sleepless nights and endless crying. So please stop trying to tell me other wise, tell people how amazing seeing your child smile for the first time or say a word. Pass on some happy cuz I know I will.

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79 Susan June 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm

We have 2 daughters, one is 9 and the other almost 7. I remember when I was pregnant and so many people had the “just you wait” comments. I hated that! Both pregnancies were hoped for and prayed for; I had an ectopic pregnancy and one of my tubes ruptured so we were not all that sure that we could have a baby at all. We were so grateful for both pregnancies and all I wanted was to celebrate. I would never make those comments to anyone. Yes, your life will change but in the best of ways. I look at it differently than many; it was a struggle for us but our girls are the most cherished. Naysayers be damned! Parenthood is what you make of it. Just make it good ( which I am certain you will :-)).

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80 marin June 1, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I’ll preface this by saying we had two easy babies. The part that terrified me was the part between walking and common sense (don’t shove the scissors in the electrical outlet). We hired a person to come EVERY SUNDAY AFTERNOON and we both took 4 hour naps. Nope, not “naps”. We SLEPT. OMJEE. We looked forward to those four hours all week.

And we never nailed any piece of climbable furniture down. Never heard of it back in the olden days (kids 12 and 14). I wish we had-holy crap we dodged a bullet there.

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81 marin June 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm

But it was pure joy-we had tried for seven years. We loved every minute of it. Except picking the baby up from daycare and the sun in her eyes and she screamed. Funny the little tiny irritants you remember.

And when you see the oldest “reading” a story to the baby……MELT. All the corny Hallmark cards came true.

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82 Angel7 June 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Optimism… That is the reason I like to read your blogs. You are honest, but have a positive tone to your posts :)

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

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83 Sam June 2, 2012 at 12:59 am

Like you, our lives didn’t change a whole lot when we got married.

When we had our son last year…that was different. :) Our lives changed in a HUGE way. It has been challenging as he is an intense one, but he has brought us SO much joy. Every day after we put him to bed and exhaustedly fall on the couch, after a few restful breaths, we start telling each other about all of the cute, silly, ridiculous things he did that day. We start laughing and have to resist the urge to wake him up because we miss him already.

I knew I wanted kids when I got older but I never realized just how much I would absolutely love being a mom. I think you will, too. :)

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84 Karen June 2, 2012 at 7:55 am

I just love your “don’t spoil my joy” message in this post, Kath. And, now that I’m getting a bit older, my tendency is to offer well meaning advice from the trenches, but your point is very well taken. I like hearing your sassy side come through, and am enjoying these stronger opinions that emerge on BERF vs. KERF. For that reason I think it evokes stronger passion among us all and deeper, richer conversation.

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85 Jessica June 2, 2012 at 7:58 am

Personally, I give people the benefit of the doubt; most of the “just you wait!” type of comments I got weren’t particularly negative (maybe I’m just lucky that I don’t have a lot of negative people in my life? ha!), and were a way to make conversation and talk about the huge changes, good and bad, I was about to undergo.
And the thing is this – they are completely right. Your life will be become much harder than you have ever, possibly imagined. But it will also be much more rich, beautiful and satisfying as well. And it will make you a better person – if you want to be a good parent, you don’t really have the opportunity to be lazy or selfish anymore, which is a good thing.
The comparison to marriage is a little silly, especially if you were already living together beforehand; it’s a non-event. My husband and I were committed to each other before we got married, we’re committed to each other now (the only difference post-wedding is now we have nicer kitchen appliances!). But the first few weeks postpartum are like being dropped into a war zone. There’s no way to “mentally prepare” for the level of sleep deprivation, or possible issues with breastfeeding, and the massive drop in hormones is no joke. Your relationship with your husband will change (in the short term, at least). But you get through it, like millions of women before you have done, and the joy you will get from your baby is immeasurable.
Another reason the marriage analogy doesn’t hold is that you know your husband beforehand. Your child is a complete unknown. Having a child is a huge leap of faith – you hope that your baby will be “easy,” and that your child will have a happy, fulfilling life. But it’s also a tremendous risk – my brother has a severe mental illness, and my parent’s lives have changed so dramatically, in every aspect – emotionally, financially, time-wise, etc., just to be take care of my brother. When you decide to get pregnant, you have to consider the (hopefully rare) possibility that you may be taking on the role of a caretaker for the rest of your life, if your child has a disability or chronic illness, etc.
But it’s all completely worth the risk, when your baby first smiles at you, I can’t even explain it. It’s like trying to describe colors to a blind person, you just can’t ever do it justice!

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86 KERF June 2, 2012 at 8:15 am

I wasn’t saying it was apples to apples – just that I was getting deja vu

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87 Jessica June 2, 2012 at 8:25 am

Ah, that wasn’t super clear to me from reading it – although, it could be me! 5+ months of 4-6 hours of sleep a night will do that to you (says the mom with the five month old, ha)! ;)
Honestly, though, I’m excited for you, parenting is SUCH an amazing adventure!

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88 Lindsay June 2, 2012 at 11:04 am

I love this post. Unsolicited advice is one of my least favorite things. I understand people want to help you out and prepare you for what is about to happen. But why do they think you aren’t prepared. I would rather hear about the amazing aspects of being a parent and then read about the challenges and learn to deal with them as they come.

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89 Janet (Round Rainbows & Other Realities) June 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Enjoy your dreams and please know there is a reality where children bring exponential joy and blessings into your life at EVERY stage,..so cherish each day!….Mine sons are 23 years old, 21 yrs, and 2 years,…so I’ve been at both ends and know this to be absolutely true!

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90 Janet @ Round Rainbows & Other Realities June 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Enjoy your dreams and please know there is a reality where children exponentially bring joy and blessings into your life at EVERY stage. My sons are 23 yrs, 21 yrs, and 2 yrs,…so I’ve been at both ends and know this to be true! :)

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91 Jessy June 3, 2012 at 2:24 am

Just you wait, the flood of emotions when you see baby the first time, the list of firsts that go on and on. Just you wait being a parent is better than you can even fathom! Parenthood is one of the most complex roles ever! There are plenty of positive moments to balance out the less than pleasant times. We found that people wanted to tell us that what we were choosing to do was wrong and I simply wish to others that they will enjoy their little one and follow their hearts. Everybody will have something to say, take what you want and leave the rest. Good luck!

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92 Tara June 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm

The next thing you’ll hear over and over again once the baby arrives is “they grow up SO fast” or “enjoy this because it will go by so quickly”. Ugh! I wanted to scream, I get it! Quiet down so I can enjoy this and stop reminding me.

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93 Sarah June 4, 2012 at 8:53 am

You just can’t imagine how it is until you’re living it, but your attitude is great! The biggest adjustment is doing things on the baby’s time. If the baby is sleeping, then you can sleep. You can’t just decide you’re tired and going to bed.

It’s sort of upsetting to see Hollywood celebrities to make it all seem so magical. It’s great, but it’s hard work and sometimes you’re just sick of being covered in breast milk :) (Spoken by a mom with a 4-week old…ha ha)

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94 Dani June 4, 2012 at 9:16 am

Ooooh I hated the “just you wait!” comments too and the “ugh cloth diapering?” and the “why don’t you just sleep train him already???” bits of advice. Things do change and things are hard, but that doesn’t mean its a bad thing!! My husband and I love how are lives have changed! Was it a transition? Yes, it was really hard for awhile; but would we want our old lives back? Not one bit. How nice it would be if, instead of “just you wait,” we could hear “hey you seem like you will be a great Mama!”

The one thing I do tell all of my new Mama friends though is to go easy on themselves those first 3 months. Expect and hope for the absolute best, find joy in the wonderful little moments, but don’t beat yourself up on the tough days either. Ask for help on those tough days, go easy on yourself, and remember that they don’t last forever. Things do get easier and your baby will become the most beautiful, amazing, entertaining person you’ve ever met before long. If you had told me at 8 weeks, how much fun I would have as a Mama, or that my son would one day learn how to take a nap in his crib when he was ready, or that feeding him would cease to be a stressful, painful endeavor, I might not have believed you. But its true now, it’s so true.

Becoming a Mama to a little baby boy who gives me giant drooly kisses on the nose, giggles and laughs when we play hide and seek, who likes to snuggle in my arms with the most beautiful smile in the world–that was the best thing that ever happened to me. Just you wait. :)

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95 Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) June 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Ugh, people are so annoying and they always assume your experience will be exactly like theirs.

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96 Sara June 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Love this post! We were told how much our lives would change, too, and yes, it did, but we’ve still incorporated our kids into our fun adventures and have never looked back.

On the other hand, don’t ever feel that you can’t be annoyed at how much work and stress motherhood is! There seem to be lots of people out there who will judge you if you say that you’re sick of having to put up with poopy diapers or that you don’t love having your child throw up on you. Be realistic. With all the good comes all the bad and IMHO it’s fine to do a little complaining along the way, too. :)

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97 Brit June 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I am not an expectant mother yet (husband and I are still trying) but the comments that rub me the wrong way are the ones that seem to downplay the tasks I do (as a non-parent). For instance, I could say to someone that I spent the whole day cleaning the house and the response would be, “Just wait until you have kids!” or “I take care of the kids AND clean my house”. It always makes me feel like everything I do in my life right now isnt really an accomplishment because I am not a parent. I dont have the extra responsibility of kids AND housework, work, etc. Or I dont seem to have the right to say that I am tired after a long day. I would love kids and all the work that comes with having them. Like you said, “welcome it with open arms”. But should my hubby and I never have children…Id hate to think that we were less of a person in life, less accomplished, etc…because we never had children. I agree that parenting is the hardest job in the world from what I hear, read about, observe….but to us folks that are not parents…we still work hard and live accomplishment lives. We still have bad days, tired days, lack of sleep days for other reason besides being up with a child all night. Expectant parents, parents, and non-parents all equally deserve respect :)

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98 KERF June 5, 2012 at 6:38 am

Totally agreed!

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99 eliza November 22, 2013 at 3:18 pm

loved this post! i just got married and everyone was saying things would change.. but they are just as happy and good as they have always been

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