19 Most Surprising Things About Having a Baby (No One Warned Us!)

Wendy Robinson | Feb 10, 2017 Baby
19 Most Surprising Things About Having a Baby (No One Warned Us!)
Image: iStock.com/Onfokus

newborn holding mother's fingeriStock.com/OnfokusWhen I was pregnant with my first child, I read everything about having a baby that I could get my hands on. I just wanted to be prepared, to know what to expect. I thought I could be ready for anything with enough reading. 

And then my actual baby showed up, and being a mom was everything and nothing like the books said it would be. I was constantly being surprised. My feelings were bigger than I expected. The tiredness was worse than I expected. The highs were higher and the lows were lower. 

(Also, I constantly felt damp because there was usually either milk, pee, or sweat on me. Who knew postpartum sweatiness was a thing?)

I asked other parents if they faced their own "why didn't anyone tell me about this" moments once their babies arrived, and oh boy they did! It turns out almost all of us were shocked by things as new moms. Read on for the hidden truth about having a baby. 

before having a baby

  • You don't need all that baby stuff.


    "Nobody told me -- or at least if they did, I didn't listen -- that you don't need like 90 percent of the baby gear in the stores. Diapers and a few other basics are all you really need, especially in the early days." -- Martie N., Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • You may fall in love all over again.


    "I had the sleepless nights, a baby that wouldn't latch, and other challenges, but my biggest surprise was to see my husband love our child (then children) and turn into such an amazing dad. It makes me fall in love with him all over again. It makes my heart swell." -- Patty P., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • You will question yourself constantly.


    "Nobody tells you how two competent, confident adults could second-guess EVERY LITTLE THING in fear of not messing up their child for life." -- Laura W., Oakdale, Minnesota

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  • It's okay to bring baby along for the ride.


    "No one told me to just continue life as it was and bring baby with me everywhere. My only friends with kids at the time were crazy-strict about naps and feedings, so they could never go anywhere for more than a couple hours at a time. Thankfully I quickly figured it out that many babies will adjust to whatever lifestyle they're brought into. Car naps and nursing in public all the way!" -- Molly O., Saint Paul, Minnesota 

  • You'll learn a lot about yourself.


    "There was good and bad about what I learned. Good: I see people and humanity in a different way. I am more understanding and tolerant. Also, I have learned to 'go with the flow,' which I was terrible at before. I am better at appreciating the moments.

    Bad: I realized I had a very limited understanding of childbirth (emotions about emergency C-section) and breastfeeding (ouch). Also how hard the transition to mom life is -- new schedule, new expectations -- until you find mom friends." -- Annie M., St. Louis, Missouri 

  • Babies have opinions of their own.


    "I was not aware that babies had opinions. I thought he would happily accept all the shower gifts and clothes and toys. NOPE.

    He was not into swings. He hated shirts being pulled over his head. He grew so fast that his clothes didn't fit him in the right season. I actually had to take a day off work to buy him clothes when he was a year old. The seasons changed and he didn't have any warm clothes." -- Yesenia A., Saint Paul, Minnesota

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  • You may enjoy things you never expected to.


    "I really had no interest in babies before I had my own. I didn't realize I would like having a baby so much." -- Leslie B., Tucson, Arizona

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  • A cranky baby is not your fault.


    "I had one baby who screamed in the car, screamed in the stroller, would tolerate a carrier for approximately two minutes, and got super agitated by any sort of loud noise.

    PSA: If there are any new moms struggling with a cranky baby who are reading this: I know you didn't choose this. I know you are struggling. I know you'd like to be able to leave the house more. YOU ARE DOING NOTHING WRONG! It isn't you. Some babies just need a little more time to adjust to the world. I have been there. It is so, so, SO hard. If you need someone to come hold your cranky baby so you can get a few minutes to yourself to get out of the house -- ask for help. You are doing great. Keep on keeping on. " -- Ann L., Memphis, Tennessee

  • Newborn snuggling is a simple pleasure.


    "Nobody can tell you how you'll feel about some of the really physical aspects of parenting. It turns out I freaking LOVED babywearing. And nursing. Some people hate that.

    Also, I liked my kids in that stage a lot more. It was simpler." -- Jenn R., San Diego, California

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  • You may cry more than the baby does.


    "'Hard' doesn't even begin to explain how hard it is. I felt like it was emotionally, physically, and financially harder than anyone could describe. I'm a freelancer and I really overestimated what it would be like to work with a baby. My income took a huge hit and so did my ego. I cried more than the baby did those first few months, I think." -- Laurie M., Long Island, New York

  • Your friendships may change.


    "My group of friends changed dramatically and it was really hard. Some of my friends were super judgmental about how hard I found the transition to motherhood. Other women, with whom I hadn't been very close before, saved me.

    Looking back, my oldest was a HARD baby, and while I struggled a lot to get to know her and figure out what she needed, it was much harder with all of those people saying things like, 'If you really cared about me, you'd find a way to make it to [fill in activity]' scheduled right in the middle of nap time.

    I wish I had tuned them out much earlier." -- Kristy P., Des Moines, Iowa

  • You'll be infatuated ... but maybe lonely too.


    "The good surprises: the total fascination with this little creature that you made with someone and grew in your body. It's so crazy. The bad surprises: the loneliness and the feeling of losing yourself." -- Melissa E., Saint Paul, Minnesota 

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  • You may become a control freak. Let go a bit.


    "Nobody told me that I would turn into a total nag to my husband. I thought I knew everything about taking care of the baby and was so bossy to him. We had some major battles that first year until I realized I needed to get out of the way and let him bond with the baby and take care of him in his own way. Sorry, honey!" -- Alexis C., Huntsville, Alabama

  • There's no limit to love.


    "This is so cheesy but true! I didn't know how much love I was capable of. When my first son was born, I thought I'd explode with love for him and for my husband. When my second son was born I wasn't expecting that feeling again but it totally did [happen]. I'm an emotional sappy mess these days." -- Shanna D., Oakland, California

  • You may get angry. Ask for help.


    "I was so surprised at how angry I could get at this little being that I absolutely adored. Also I could do nothing about my anger (perhaps, hey, let's talk about this). I had times when I seriously could not understand what was going on with me. I was just so tired and overwhelmed." -- Name withheld by request

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  • You'll still be you.


    "Becoming a mom doesn't magically change who you are. I didn't magically become sweeter or more feminine. I was just me -- with a baby." -- Paula E., Austin, Texas

  • Getting out the door takes an eternity.


    "People try to tell you, but nothing really prepares you for the reality of the fact that it takes FOR-FREAKING-EVER to go anywhere or get out of the house with a baby. A simple run for takeout for dinner becomes a 30-minute expedition requiring stuff and the perfect timing of a fresh diaper and recently fed baby. I'm never on time anymore." -- Claire R., Houston, Texas

  • It can be hard to connect to your partner ... and to yourself.


    "I didn't know [how] difficult marriage is during the young years with babies and kids. So hard to connect with your partner when there is little time and energy left at the end of the day.

    Also, how hard it is not to lose yourself a bit (or a lot) throughout the journey of motherhood. I thought I'd hold tight to my hobbies, passions, friends, etc. But years with the littles, being a stay at home mom on a very tight budget makes nurturing your needs as a parent a lot harder than I thought!" -- Katie C., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Other moms can make you feel like you're doing a bad job.


    "Other moms are the worst. Not all of them, but every group has a few super smug, self-righteous moms who feel like they have it all figured out and are more than happy to let you know what you are doing wrong.

    And blogs and Pinterest and the comment sections of articles aren't any better. Chill out, people, we're all just trying to freaking survive." -- Anna Kate E., Grand Rapids, Michigan

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