I wish I'd known how tiring it would be to have a child. Not how hard--I knew raising a child, and taking care of a baby, would be hard work. I knew I would dedicate hours every day to doing things I didn't necessarily want to do. But I wish I'd known how absolutely overwhelmingly exhausted I would become: the kind of exhausted that a good nap or a good nights sleep won't cure. I wish I'd known that my days would start at roughly 4:30am and I would not stop, with a break for myself, until I fell asleep at 9pm that night.
I wish I'd known that my hobbies would cease to be hobbies, but rather activities that I fondly remembered. I wish I'd known I would have to ask for help, for time for myself. I wish I knew how to ask for it without getting angry.
I wish I'd known the right things to research. While I scrutinized mattresses and the amount of diapers I would need, I should have read about breast pumps, breastfeeding holds, and nursing pillows. I should have understood how to breastfeed better and maybe I would have been more successful. I wish I'd known that it's not as easy as it seems: there is more than just putting the baby to your chest. I wish I'd known it was ok to not succeed that this particular endeavor, that there are other (just as good) ways to feed a baby. I wish I'd known how to stand up for myself in the hospital better.
I wish I'd known how all-encompassing a tiny person would be. In my long days of pregnancy, I imagined nap times and nights in the crib. I imagined a world that was completely different from how things ended up. I wish I'd known to stop planning, to stop having expectations for what would happen, what would come next. I wish I'd known that, regardless of where the baby sleeps, my work would never really stop.
I wish I'd known, earlier rather than later, that no matter what happens, no matter what amount of planning goes in to having a baby, things will always change. The baby will or won't sleep; the baby will or won't eat the way you want them to; the baby will or won't follow the "guidelines" for development. I wish I'd known that babies change their schedules as rapidly and suddenly as everyone else on the planet: they are criminals of spontaneity, making you think one thing and then doing another. I wish I'd known to throw the plans, everything I ever thought about having a baby, out the window.
Mostly, I wish I'd known to savor more: to stop crying about breastfeeding in those early weeks and, instead, cuddle with my little baby who is now not nearly as little; to let myself co-sleep from the beginning without worrying; and to stop worrying about every little possibility and just allow myself to enjoy the time I had.
I wish I'd known that being Forrest's mom would be the most challenging, rewarding, demanding, and exhausting thing I've ever experienced--but I wouldn't change it for the world.