When you become a parent for the first time, your life can feel like a snow-globe that has been picked up, given a good shake and then slammed back down.
It looks and feels similar to before, but it’s not quite the same. Things aren’t quite in the right place, and the contents of the living room (okay, and your bedroom) are upturned. As you stumble around, exhausted but happy, trying to make sense of your new life, it can be almost too easy to forget what life was like before the baby arrived.
With your heart overflowing with love, and your entire body pulsing with pride, you won’t even have the time to think about how things have changed. If you do find a rare quiet moment where you are not changing, feeding or soothing, you’ll almost certainly spend it staring at your baby and marvelling at just how wonderful she is. There simply isn’t time to think about the way things used to be. But, we wouldn't want it any other way.
10 Sacrifices New Parents Make
Here are 10 sacrifices all new parents make… gladly of course:
Sacrifice #1: The Use Of Your Arms
Just take a moment and think back to how useful it was to have TWO arms. You used to be really good at two-handed jobs such as opening jars, putting casseroles in the oven and hanging out the washing. You could even multitask with those two free arms, making a cup of tea with one hand whilst reaching for the biscuits with the other. You didn’t even know how good you had it back then!
These days, your baby has a monopoly on your arms thanks to those weak neck muscles that need supporting. Even when your baby can hold her head up, you’ll still only manage to free up one hand. It’s not ideal, but you will become the master of doing everything one handed. Seriously, in a couple of months, you’ll be tying your shoelaces, kneading dough and making cocktails all with just the one hand.
Sacrifice #2: Space On Your Phone
In your child-free days, you could have as many songs, apps and photos as you wanted on your smartphone. You had an app for just about every eventuality, allowing you find out the name of the constellations, swap the faces of your loved ones and throw cartoon birds at boulders whenever you wanted.
Not anymore! Now, your poor phone is filled to the brim with baby picture after baby picture. When your baby was just 24-hours old, you had already taken 300 photos of her doing various things. Well, ok, most sleeping, but also one of her yawning. You are very slowly deleting all of the apps and music from your phone, because how could you possibly choose which adorable baby photo should be deleted?! They’re all perfect!
Sacrifice #3: Having A Finger On The Pulse
You used to be one of those people who knew things. You knew which bands were cool, you knew what was happening in the news and you knew the cocktail prices at the new bar in town. You knew everything, because you did everything, read everything and went everywhere. You were in the know.
Times have changed! Unless it’s nipple creams, postpartum bowel movements and baby massage that people want to know about, you are well and truly out of your depths. Your brain that once stored useful and interesting information is now filled to the brim with baby facts, useful and interesting to other parents, but probably not so much to the rest of the population.
Sacrifice #4: Sex
Not many brand new parents can brag about their sex lives. In fact, it’s safe to assume that if you’ve recently pushed a baby out of your vagina, you’re probably not feeling all that in the mood for romance. Add to that sleep deprivation, postnatal hormonal changes and the fact that you are 100 percent focused on your new baby, and it’s no wonder your bed hasn’t seen much action lately.
That’s not to say your sex life is dead and buried, just that you’re on a hiatus at the moment. These days, your relationship is about much more than sex. It’s about support, love and finding your footing as new parents. The sex will happen when you’re both ready, but until then just enjoy the intimacy and closeness that comes with being new parents. Here are 5 things you can do when she prefers sleep instead of sex.
Sacrifice #5: Sleep
It’s almost too cliché to include, but then there’s a very good reason for that; new parents don’t get much sleep. Most babies get their night and day muddled up for the first couple of weeks, and the influx of daytime visitors means that you won’t be getting much sleep.
You and your partner will become shift workers, divvying out sleep on a turn-taking basis. And even when it’s your turn to sleep, don’t expect to wake up feeling refreshed. You’ll manage a few hours at most before it’s your turn to look after the baby again. You might be surprised to hear that newborns can sleep up to 18 hours per day, so why do you feel so tired?! Yawn.
Sacrifice #6: Taking Care Of Yourself
Your new job description is to take care of your baby’s needs, there is no mention of your own needs and that’s because you won’t even have time to identify them, never-mind meet them.
You will go days without showering, and won’t even really have any idea of how long it has been since you last washed your hair. You will judge how clean your hair is based on how much baby sick is in it. Just one patch? Great, must have washed it yesterday! Mostly vomit? Bad luck, must have been a while. You won’t sit down to enjoy a healthy lunch everyday like you did during the pregnancy. Instead you’ll use your one free hand to open a packet of biscuits, and hope that a food-bearing visitor shows up soon.
Sacrifice #7: Your Style
No matter how much you usually love all things clothes, fashion and beauty related, you should expect to spend at least two weeks wearing only pyjamas after the birth. And it will probably be the same pair for the whole two weeks, because who has time to do another load of washing, especially when they only have a tiny bit of baby wee on?!
When you’re busy looking after a newborn, you won’t have the time to match up a perfectly coordinated outfit and accentuating accessories, instead you’ll probably just grab something off the floor and be done with it. It won’t be like this forever, but give yourself a break, you’re not a celebrity about to appear on the front page of a magazine so you don’t need to look like one. Give yourself some time to just enjoy motherhood and settle into your new role without putting pressure on yourself.
Sacrifice #8: Privacy
If the experience of giving birth wasn’t enough of a shock to your-usually-private-self, then the postnatal chatter might just do it. In the afterglow of childbirth, and with the oxytocin pumping around your body, you will be only too keen to share your birth story with every person you meet. And there will be no filter, nope, you’ll be happily chatting away about needing a sieve for the birthing pool, the frozen condom you sat on after the birth and the cracked nipples. Your poor elderly male neighbour won’t know where to look, thank goodness you have that adorable baby for people to fix their eyes on in awkward moments!
Sacrifice #9: Time
Remember how the weekend hours used to stretch ahead of on a Saturday morning? Or how you always seemed to manage to get things done in time, no matter how busy you were? That won’t happen anymore. As soon as you gave birth to your baby, you put your life on double speed. All of a sudden the hours, day and weeks are flying by at an unprecedented rate. You’ve barely gotten round to cleaning up after Sunday lunch and all of a sudden it’s Sunday again. Your baby is just about strong enough to hold her head up and then all of a sudden it’s her first day of school. Life will fly by now, and you will never find the time to be bored again.
Sacrifice #10: Control
After years of having total control of your life, it’s time to kiss goodbye to that independence. From now on, you won’t be able to shower, eat dinner or leave the house until your baby is ready for you to do so. Rest assured she will always become clingy when it’s time for you to take a shower (now is the time to master the one-handed shower), need feeding when your dinner is ready and do a huge poop the very minute you open the front door to leave. Your baby is an evil genius and will be scuppering all of your plans for the foreseeable future.