You find out you’re having a child and you expect your life to change. However, I am not sure people fully appreciate the amount their lives will change. I had a lot of other things happen at the same time so my life changed beyond all reasonable recognition and hasn’t gone back there since. This isn’t a bad thing by any means but I definitely wasn’t prepared for how different things would be. I think I was physically prepared for a child but emotionally I had no clue whatsoever. Now, almost three years into parenthood, I thought I’d share some insight into what to expect.. only a little though as I wouldn’t want to scare you!
Obviously and most unfortunately, whether you’re the parent carrying the baby or the parent in the supporting role, I’m afraid your body will never be quite the same again. For me, pregnancy actually triggered a thyroid condition making it more difficult to lose weight but that also plays havoc with your emotions as well as effects your energy levels and how tired you are – brilliant.
If you’ve carried a child then like me you may have a c-section scar or you may have had a natural birth and some tearing. Of course you may have had an amazingly perfect birth and managed to get back into your pre-pregnancy clothes within 6 weeks and gone on your merry way. However, there is also the tired thing. You’re going to be more tired than you ever thought possible, especially if again like me, you have a child approaching 3 who still rarely sleeps through the night. I’d say it gets better after the baby stage but…
So I was living in a very un-child friendly house just before I had Alyssa. I had moved back in with my mum and her partner after the breakdown of my friendship (Bullying and Betrayal: What the Hell Happened to Friendship) with my roommate and obviously we were all grown up!
It was okay in the initial months as the majority of the baby stuff was in my room and this had been set up beautifully. However, when Alyssa began to move and roll and want to play that is when changes needed to be made. We had a big stone open fireplace that we had to buy a cover for. We had to buy a few stair gates to restrict her access to certain places and obviously a lot of ornaments had to be moved.
I got her a walker so she could follow me round and this was a huge mistake house wise as our skirting boards were never the same again and we had to do a fair amount of DIY before we were able to sell and fix all the marks, dents and finger prints that had been left.
Your house will still be your house, but you’ll be amazed by the amount of baby paraphernalia around and also how high up all your stuff ends up – you’ll probably think twice about the nice things you buy too and you’ll become a pro at storage!
I’d have to say that this one is probably the hardest one to come to terms with. I cannot personally speak for a parents relationship because Alyssa’s father and I, apart from the first two weeks of her life, have not been together as a couple during her life. Perhaps if we had had a more solid foundation when going into parenthood we would have survived but obviously Alyssa’s arrival was a wonderful surprise and not planned.
From a single parents perspective I will say that if you are keeping the other parent as part of your child’s life (totally your decision) you need to be strong, firm but also adaptable. You have to find something that works for both of you. A way for you both to be the parents you want to be. Make sure you talk – communication is key. You might hate their bloody guts (believe me they all have their moments as I’m sure we do) but make sure you keep that between yourselves. Let your children decide for themselves.
I found it also effected friendships as well. Obviously I lost my best friend and also found that all the other friends I’d had slowly fritted away too but honestly I did nothing to stop this. Their lifestyle wasn’t mine anymore – they were all single and out partying and I was just content to cuddle my baby and attempt to get sleep.
It took me a few months before I realised how lonely I was and so I did something about it. Now I have a wonderful group of mum friends – there are 9 of us in a WhatsApp group together and some of us are able to meet up. Then I have a local mum friend too. I may not have been friends with these wonderful people had I not had my little one so change isn’t always a bad thing because they’re much better for me than my previous friendships.
Becoming a parent will change everything, I am not going to lie. Some of those things will make you happy and some of those things will make you sad. However, it is just the way that life is. You will lose people and gain people. Your bodies and lifestyles will change and if you aren’t happy about the changes it is only you who can make a difference. Talk and communicate with people, don’t lock yourself away. Face the world head on and even if you find it hard, you will come out the other side.
*This is a collaborative post