Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Crushing the Fantasy...

Parenting is hard. And you probably can't understand how hard until you experience it first-hand.

I remember when our first child was a few weeks old thinking that, up to that point, I really had NO idea what a life change we were in for. And somehow I felt a bit cheated. After all, I had read all the parenting books and magazines... I "knew" all the information out there about breastfeeding, attachment, caring for your baby, caring for yourself, how your relationship & sex life would change... but I really didn't hoist in the fact that your whole LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT changes with a new child! And that adjusting to that change is hard. Caring for a baby is hard. Like 24/7 hard. Not sleeping well is hard. Arranging your trips to the supermarket around this little person's schedule is hard.

Nothing is easy once you go from being a non-parent to a parent.

Except falling in love with your child. That's pretty easy. It may take time, but it will happen, usually very easily. Being awed by tiny toes and tiny fingers and silky smooth skin is easy. Loving the smell of your baby's hair is easy. Melting when your baby smiles at you and reaches for you is easy. Becoming someone who would go to the moon and back again for this child is easy because you don't work on this- it just happens.

Do first-time parents have fantasies about what their lives and their child will be like? I'd bet that most do. We sure did. Reality has a way of correcting that fantasy... VERY quickly!

But you know what? The harsh reality of parenting is the true wonder. The fact that we willingly change our lives to respond to the needs of a little person and that we will LOVE doing this, so much so that maybe we'll do it again and again, is pretty amazing.

Hard work pays off. When it comes to parenting, it pays off in ways we sometimes can't imagine before we have a child in our lives. For new parents who might be feeling that this is not what they expected, hang in there. It gets better- maybe not easier, but definitely better!


Doris & Dan said...

Thanks for the encouraging words!

Keep smilin!

Anne Marie said...

Thanks for the beautiful post, Carolyn. It resonates beautifully with the article you suggested (I haven't read it in full yet, but it is printed and ready to go).

redmaryjanes said...

I couldn't agree more. I have hopes and dreams for all of my children, but the reality of their lives is so amazing that it outshines everything I had dreamed for them so far.

Elizabeth said...

Ya i desired by first so so badly, it was a harsh reality what parenting was really about. I learned on a very sharp learning curve. There were moments I didn't think we could survive it. But here I am and now I love it. I do want adoptive parents to know that it can be a real adjustment and to give yourself time.

Norma said...

I think it is great when BTDT parents can give us first time parents an idea of what to expect. Even or maybe especially the experience that are not so pleasant - it will be less of a shock when it happens to me. Thanks for the comments on the article I posted - it's great to hear other's perspectives on the issue.