There are the things you're told about being a new Mom (Yes, proper noun.); There are the things you aren't told; And then, there are the things you're told but fail completely in their quest to represent reality.
This list is to correct those lies by omission.
1. Baby clothing sizes are just as whacked as the sizing of women's jeans.
There's teeny three months, huge three months and "three months years".
The only thing left to do is change the lighting in Carter's to make you look like total crap.
2. Newborn diapers are suitable for 5-8 lb. babies…who make very little urine.
When my "early term" (read: almost premature) baby was still a feathery seven pounds, he began to literally pee through newborn diapers. Each diaper-soaking was, in fact, a complete costume change, until a lightbulb when on: Try a size one.
Size one diapers made my son appear to have quite the badonkadonk, but a dry badonkadonk it was.
3. Each lactating breast has a unique personality…and then they switch.
Like a set of menacing twins, this formerly seductive pair seeks to astonish and confuse. Just when you become accustomed to Leftie behaving as the Niagara Falls of milky cocktails, it then takes coaxing and empty promises to do its work…just before you rename it Cybil.
4. Follow your gut. "Mom" and "Dad" are credentials unto themselves.
On day nine of my son's life, I had a melt down: He was not pooping on schedule. His rectum had not read the text book, and it sent my stress level into the stratosphere.
My husband calmly asked me, "Do you honestly think there's something wrong, or are you freaking out because of what a lactation consultant told you?" The truth was in the latter part of his question, but I didn't have the confidence to trust myself or even him.
I was completely wrong.
There will come a day--and that may be on day one--when your baby cries, and you know exactly why. It isn't necessarily because of the tone of the cry or because "he acted this way the last time he _____", but just because you know.
It's the privilege of being present since this being was a cluster of cells. Trust yourself.
5. Stock your pantry with healthy foods…that can be prepared with one hand.
Buy healthy foods, they say. Cook meals ahead of time, they say.
"Breastfeeding burns more calories than growing a baby."
"Eat several small meals throughout the day."
The parrots who assault our eyes and ears with such advice said nothing about accessibility.
Our house was filled with uncut and unwashed veggies just after our son was born, as were blocks of celebratory cheese ("celebratory" because they were "illegal" in the prior nine months) and honey wheat pretzels that were kept under the padlock of an unopened, noisy, cellophane bag.
At 4 a.m. with a sleeping newborn nestled in the crook of your neck, an unpeeled carrot might as well sing nah-nah nah-nah nah-nah in your unwashed, haggard face.
Want to help new parents? Yeah, the lasagna is nice, but the more practical, appreciated option might be a large container of washed/peeled/cut veggies and fruit, cheese and any other healthy, easy-to-eat option for the 4 a.m. blood sugar plummets.
6. The back pain while pregnant is nothing compared to the back pain with a newborn.
Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, the Cirque du Soleil-like contortions of your upper body know no bounds.
If you are breastfeeding and your nipples look as though someone walked over them in cleats, the initial few seconds of each feeding inspires all sorts of subtle and overt clenches that would send any yoga instructor into convulsions.
Before you know it, your jaw is clamped down so tight that it feels like you've eaten five tablespoons of peanut butter; You've hiked your shoulders up so far toward said peanut butter mouth that severe scoliosis would be an improvement, and, generally, you look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Keep calm, and remember that you can now take ibuprofen.
7. Your baby's clothes will fit for approximately five days.
After heeding the advice of the Moms who came before me, we owned only two newborn outfits, with an eye toward several 0-3 month ensembles.
Despite our son weighing over seven-and-a-half pounds, he positively swam in many of the 0-3 month outfits, leaving his feet curled up to his chest while the legs of his fleecy sleepers dangled below him like the limbs of a cheap puppet.
Magically, several weeks later, these outfits fit: The elasticized wrist bands met his delicate wrists and the footies, in fact, held his tootsies. (Because, several weeks after the birth of your child, you will talk like this.)
You bask in the glow of how cute your little bundle looks in his now well-fitting wardrobe. And, a handful of days later, you'll go to bed, only to wake up to 12 pairs of socks whose heel pockets lay at the middle of your baby's foot and footed pajamas whose fibers are holding on for dear life with every baby stretch.
In short, your baby will look like Harry Potter dressed in Dudley Dursley's cast-offs for huge portions of his first few months.