When my husband and I first found out we were going to have a baby we were slightly stunned. We had planned it sure but actually getting pregnant is a whole lot different from just thinking about it. There was now an actual real life baby on the way! Shock was the initial feeling. Then we began to think about the reality of life with a baby....and so the lies began.
1. Lack of sleep...we can handle that!
One of our many pre-birth chats centred around not getting any sleep. I, oh so foolishly, came up with a plan; a way of making the sleepless nights less torture more fun. I decided we could re-watch our old Frasier box-set. Why not make the most of being up at night and cosy up with our favourite sitcom? I'll tell you why not because when you are utterly and completely sleep-deprived the only thing you want to do is sleep. Also your husband/wife becomes less of your couch buddy and more of your boxing opponent (more on that later). Needless to say my Frasier plan was immediately dropped and replaced by catching as much sleep as humanly possible while minding small baby.
2. Our relationship won't change...
Ah yeah about that...The first few days we were coping fine, laughing at ourselves and our little slip-ups....by week two the gloves were off and the growling began. Oh lack of sleep can make you a very different person. No you got more sleep...no I had to get up...no it's your turn....and on and on. We nearly came to blows during bath time (on more than one occasion) due to the severe stress involved in trying not to drown a tiny infant. So yes your relationship will change from those care-free pre-baby days but with a bit of luck (and lots of coffee) you will get back on track after a few months or so. I only try to kill my husband once a week these days.
3. Our child will be well-behaved and tantrum free...
Fast-forward to said child turning one and a half and morphing into a tiny monster. Seriously I didn't know a child could reach that level of noise. Those lazy brunches out and about with baby turned into red-faced food marathons while toddler shrieked in the background. One parent would then be nominated to distract child while the other finished his/her coffee. I became one of those mothers you see battling their small children in the middle of Tesco while trying to do the weekly shop. Things have improved slightly since she turned two but we still have the odd meltdown or two to contend with. I have also learned that tantrums happen to everyone and are not a sign that you are a bad parent.
4. I will be back in shape within 6 months...to a year...
This was my own particularly comforting lie as I watched myself grow into a walking balloon. At first I just looked as if I had eaten all the pies but soon I became quite attached to my cute little bump....and very attached to eating whatever took my fancy; pancakes at 9pm, mars bars at 11am, you get the picture. Anyway let's just say I put on some weight. After my little girl was born I took to comfort eating to relieve the stress involved in caring for a tiny person. Sure she slept a lot but the times she was awake I was afraid I would break her. Ten months passed and I was no closer to squeezing into my old jeans. However, a particularly unflattering photo emerged around this time and put a swift stop to my over-eating. I will say, however, that I have learned to be okay with my mum-tum. As Beverly Goldberg would say - it's where I baked my baby!
Sometimes we need to lie, we need to convince ourselves things will be okay. Otherwise we might never go through the whole birthing another human thing. And, at the end of the day, you will find you cope much better than you would ever have imagined.