You won’t believe it

When my best friend had her first child, she couldn’t believe how hard it was caring for a baby. 

She’d heard all the stories about sleepless nights, endless crying and nasty diaper blowouts.

She was a longtime babysitting pro and an auntie, too. She was great with kids. She even worked with elementary school children for a living. She had all the best baby products and enjoyed a relatively uneventful delivery. 

And, yet, nothing prepared her for the reality of parenthood, not to mention the grind of breastfeeding and pumping, which seemed to take over her life.

I remember when her son was about 2 months old, she bleated to a good friend, a mother of three: “Why didn’t you TELL ME?”

Her response? “I’m sorry! I didn’t want to scare you.”

This story makes me laugh every time I think of it. 

The secret horrors of motherhood! They’re real! 

The truth is, my friend’s friend easily could have told her. 

In fact, she probably did tell her. But my dear friend never would’ve believed her. 

Parenting is just one of those things you have to live out yourself. I learned it the hard way, too, thinking I knew what to expect, but never really knowing until I was actually forever mothering.

And, because every child is different, no one really knows exactly how things are going to go anyway. You may have a “dream child” who likes to primarily snuggle and coo. You may have a colicky little cuss, who seems never content with peace or quiet. 

But, if you’re reading this while pregnant, know this: All that really matters is that you’ll have a child. And you’ll find your way. And then you’ll be the one giving the advice about the hardest job you’ll ever love. And you’ll be in it with the rest of us.

I believe there’s never been a better time to have a child.

Thanks to the rise of super-supportive social media moms/dads groups, helpful parenting apps, advances in pediatric and obstetrics care — and a small but gradually growing number of companies offering paid maternity/paternity leave/work flexibility — parenting is changing for the better. 

My son was born in 2008, and the changes since then have been astounding.

You’re lucky. 

Welcome, parents-to-be, to the club! 

It is a fine club indeed. 

Trust me.