Nothing can prepare you to be a parent.
Back when Julia was expecting, and when Anna was still “Peanut,” we read all the books. The obligatory What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the sassy Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy, and the dad-centric The Expectant Father— we read them all. They got us through the pregnancy, though just barely, but no book could prepare us to be a parent.
Nothing can prepare you for the sleepless nights, the every-two-hour feedings, the spit-ups, the clean-ups, the diaper changes, the diaper emergencies, the diaper catastrophes, and the diaper apocalypses.
Nothing can prepare you for the way your life will suddenly center on a person who until recently didn’t exist. No matter how organized you are, your precise schedules mean nothing now. And if you’re chronically disorganized—like me—may God have mercy on you. Your life is about to become a never-ending series of crises and no matter how hard you try you will never get the better of it.
You might as well accept it and learn to live with it. This is your new normal.
So why do we do it? Why do we bring these little people into the world that poop all the time and cry all the time and by the time they figure out how to communicate and how to use the toilet they also learn to say “no” and fuss and argue and learn how to push every button that will transform you from a reasonable adult into an irrational, incoherent lunatic?
It starts that moment in the hospital when you hold your baby for the first time. There is nothing that can prepare you for that moment. Nothing I can say that can explain it.
But if you’ve experienced it you know exactly what I mean. There is nothing you wouldn’t do for this brand new baby in your arms. Nothing you wouldn’t sacrifice to make this little one happy.
And after that, in retrospect, all the rest seems like nothing in comparison.