Before I had my daughter lots of people gave me advice, but this one stuck with me: “The first three months are terrible.” It stuck with me because even though people warned me that we would be tired, and joked about dirty diapers, everyone usually ended with something about how being a parent was the best thing they’d ever experienced.
Sure, being a parent is totally cool, and it is still amazing to me that my body grew another human being. But the raw honesty of “the first three months are terrible” stuck with me and actually comforted me in those first three amazing, life-changing, and terrible months.
When my daughter arrived, it was an exciting time, and she was the cutest newborn we’d ever seen. But my friend was right, it was kind of terrible. Trying to breastfeed was probably the most stressful thing I’ve ever done in my life. She woke up all the time. She would cry, and we didn’t know why. We weren’t sure we were ever doing the right thing.
I was recovering from a very hard labor with a c-section as the grande finale. She was so fragile my husband and I were convinced we’d accidentally break her at any moment. I actually took scissors to about half of her cute little onesies and cut the bottoms off because I was so close to the edge that those three little buttons were all it would take to push me over.
For those first three months I just kept telling myself, “The first three months are terrible. You’ll get through it.”
It was like I had one of those Christmas advent calendars in my head. “Okay, 76 more days to go. It’ll get better.” I’m not sure what I thought would happen when we woke up on her three-month birthday. I think I kind of thought I would wake up to a whole new baby who slept through the night, with no more tears, and we would have it all figured out. It would be a magical day.
At some point during those first three months I stopped counting down; things were getting easier. We were sleeping more. She seemed sturdier and way less fragile. We had a better idea of what made her cry and how to avoid it. Those six words, “The first three months are terrible,” sound so negative, but they actually made me feel better during that time. It was so comforting to know that other people struggled. I felt relieved to know I wasn’t the only mom who didn’t fall head over heels in love with my new life, which completely revolved around this new tiny human right off the bat.
Now, she’s actually ten months old today as I type this, and I love it. I actually find myself wanting her to slow down. But man, those first three months were terrible. Amazing, but also terrible.