So for nine(ish) months, you are pregnant and sometimes miserable. Every time you mention a pregnancy symptom, from morning sickness to back pain, you hear, "Oh, it will all be worth it when you hold your new baby in your arms." Now, I won't argue with that statement; for me, it was certainly true. The problem is, the advice always ends there. You are left with the image of two happy parents gazing endlessly into their new baby's eyes. There may or may not be beams of light and soft, fuzzy clouds involved.
Unfortunately, that's not the whole story. Sure, you will spend time staring lovingly into your baby's eyes. But there are some things that people, for whatever reason, don't seem to want to warn you about (or at least they didn't warn me).
1) You will remain hormonal. Your hormones don't go back to normal instantly just because you gave birth. In fact, I think hormonal reactions are actually worse. You will cry at random, stupid stuff. I remember once, about two weeks after I had my baby, when my daughter peed all over the changing table while my husband was changing her diaper. I stood there sobbing because I would have to give her another bath. I mean just weeping. My husband looked at me like I was crazy. LOL. I cried more in the first two weeks postpartum than during my whole pregnancy (and possibly my whole life)!
2) Having a baby is hard on even strong relationships. Remember the image of two happy parents gazing lovingly at their baby? It seems like this ideal is all we think about. Now, I'm not saying that having a baby will ruin your relationship forever, and this surely varies for everyone. But those first few weeks, when you are trying to establish who does what, can be rough. When you are up for the third time in four hours and your significant other is sleeping peacefully, you will contemplate smacking him with a pillow. Getting past this will require plenty of communication, honesty, and compromise.
3) The first month is likely to make you feel like a survivor of the zombie apocalypse (except you won't be sure that you aren't one of the zombies). Your baby will be scared and uncertain after being thrust into this bright, loud, crazy world, and s/he will let you know it. They will not like being put down. They will not enjoy being put in their bassinet or crib to sleep. You will grow more skilled than you can imagine at doing things one-handed. That's not even considering the multiple night-feedings! But it WILL get better. Try not to feel bad if your house isn't spotless or some things have gone undone. You can do them later. Guilt helps nothing.
Are these things scary? YES! Can you get through them? YES! I'm not posting this to scare other women but to prepare them. Come up with plans to combat these situations before you have your baby. I recommend multiple plans. :-)
If I think of more things, I'll post them. Feel free to add your own to the comments. :-)