What people never tell you about first time parenting

Motherhood, if only that came with a manual. No matter how much advice people give you, nothing actually prepares you for the real thing. The journey is tough, really tough, and it takes a lot of skill and patience to get through it. You don’t have to have a specific set of skills, as there isn’t a right or wrong way of doing things. Each mother knows what’s best for her child’s and her own well-being. 

I’ve been advised on a lot of things, on pregnancy, on delivery, and parenting. What one of the many things they did not tell me is that it’s tough, it’s not a ride in the park, although that’s what many tended to portray. That, I think, is what shocked me the most. What people also don’t tell you is that you don’t sleep, not for the first month, or the second, you don’t sleep, period. Another thing people don’t talk about is the post delivery phase. Mothers, a lot of them, tend to have post-partum depression, anxiety, and suffer from severe exhaustion, and that’s okay. As a mother you could feel like you can’t do another day, and that’s okay. Sometimes you just want the noise to stop, and that’s okay. Sometimes you ask yourself “what did I get myself into” and that’s okay. Sometimes, you don’t feel the love towards your child that everyone talks about, and that’s okay. Sometimes love comes with time, and that’s okay. Sometimes as a mother you can feel very lonely no matter how much help you get or no matter how many people you have around you, and that’s okay. You feel that a single day feels like an entire year. But something a friend of mine once told me and it kept me going, “the days are long, but the years are short”. 

What people tell you about being a parent could be something extremely different when you are in it yourself. People will tell you and keep telling you how you should feed him, burp him, change him, and even parent them. As intrusive as it is sometimes, always believe people have your best interest at heart. Listen to them, then make your own informed decision about what needs to be done. How do you make an informed decision? Read, read, and read. The amount of knowledge out there on parenting is profound and are often written by experienced professionals. Once you’re done with that, ask advice from people you trust and share similar values and beliefs. Since you will be receiving an overwhelming amount of advice and information from other people, which is at times helpful, it could get confusing. So instead, resort to asking a few of them whom you trust. 

Lastly, although there is no such a thing in parenting. Enjoy it. Although that could be very hard at times, especially when you are exhausted at 2 AM trying to calm a teething child. Enjoy the micro-moments, his smile, his laugh, his first coos, his first flip, his first meal, his first steps, every time you give him a bath, because one day you will wish for these days to return. So do it with absolute awareness, and let these moments sink in. 

Shamma AlDabal's Bio

My name is Shamma, I like to initiate small talk with people because I believe that human connection is what we live for. 

I am the type of person that, when I believe in something, I do it from the heart. That is why I spent most of my career and research in the fields of education and human rights.