There’s a fad all over the internet right now of “expectation versus reality.” There are tons of memes and YouTube videos with funny takes on the whole expectation vs reality concept. It generally works like this: the expectation is something wonderful or perfect, and the reality is a far cry from that. The relatable thing about “expectation vs reality” is that they’re often true, and make you feel like you’re not the only one who feels the way you do. Here’s an example:
Becoming a mom was like this for me. The difference though, is that the reality turned out to be both harder and much more beautiful than I could ever have expected.
When I got pregnant (and long before that), I daydreamed of having a baby. I had all these lofty ideas about snuggling my little one, playing with her, and dressing her in adorable outfits. I just knew if would be the best time of my life.
Now, don’t get me wrong, all of those things are true. I love snuggling my little girl and watching her smile when we play. And she has some adorable little outfits! But here’s the reality: being a mom is hard! That was never part of my expectation. Yeah, people warned me that I would lose sleep and things would be tough, but I was not prepared for how difficult it really is.
It starts the moment your baby is born. Suddenly, a huge piece of your heart is living outside of you, and all you want to do is protect it. It’s a feeling beyond words – the love and the worry rolled into one as you stare at this perfect little baby.
On top of the worry come the hormones, which for me were almost unbearable. I would just cry and cry and then feel so guilty because I felt like that. I guess the “baby blues” are common, but for me it was more than that. I ended up having to get medication for postpartum depression (a story for a different day), which has helped immensely.
My expectations about being a mom never included all of the trials – the utter lack of sleep, fighting with my husband about what to do or just because I was exhausted, or not showering or brushing my hair for several days just because I’d rather sleep when I could.
But here’s the flip side – the reality is not only more difficult, but so much more amazing than any of my expectations ever prepared me for. Despite all of the struggles and sleepless nights, I look down at this beautiful baby girl and am filled with so much awe and love that my heart just might burst. Seeing her smile for the first time, holding her as she sleeps, watching my husband interact with her, and cuddling her in the middle of the night – nothing could have prepared me for how incredible these moments are. I thank God multiple times a day for this time and for this precious miracle he has given me. And let me tell you, the reality is turning out to be so much better than the expectation!
“For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”
I Samuel 1:27 NKJV