Illustration: Sam Island
1. “That you will cry so much.” —Hillary M.
2. “The waves of insecurity about being a mother, as well as waves of incredible confidence and excitement.” —Leah D.
4. “That having a baby is not like a Dove or Huggies commercial, and no one can prepare you for the first few weeks. You will be an unbathed animal whose first language is crying, and the sunlight streaming through the windows of your apartment will only highlight the filth on your coffee table. It’s not the slow-motion smiling dance you thought you’d be doing with your newborn, while wearing a flowy white blouse.” —Laura S.
5. “That the baby’s first kicks feel like a tap-tap-tap message from within, the start of the most intimate conversation I’d ever had. And that when she was born, I felt actual grief that I had to start sharing the baby, as if our private partnership was invaded after months of a wordless conversation between us.” —Andrea H.
6. “I felt like such an efficient multi-tasker, especially with my second. Going to work, getting it all done, taking care of a toddler, while ALSO GROWING ANOTHER HUMAN.” —Ariel B.
7. “I had never heard of prenatal depression, so I thought I was losing my mind. It was the darkest time of my life, but since having a baby was all I have ever wanted, I beat myself up further for my ‘lack of gratitude.’” —Sarah S.
8.“No one warned me about the great responsibility I would feel. Before getting pregnant, I commuted to work by bike, but at around eight weeks, I got into an accident when a car cut me off and I fell. No one was harmed, but it was a wake-up call. Throughout the pregnancy, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt and anxiety over everything I did. Some days it was overwhelming. Was I going to do something stupid and harm the baby? What if I ate something that made me sick? Should I still go to the gym? On a trip? I felt like the fate of this baby was completely in my hands, and I hadn’t expected to feel that level of responsibility—and guilt.” —Simone O.
9. “How truly amazing moms are. I feel like I can conquer anything now. Also, how truly special and wonderful motherhood feels, and how no matter what shit (literally and figuratively) your day brings, seeing your little one smile just for you, or tell you he loves you, is the best feeling in the world, above all else.” —Michelle P.
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