When Hafiz was 3 weeks old I took him to out to this big party to celebrate my friend Emily’s non-profit organization. He slept in my Sakura Bloom ring sling the whole time, thankfully, giving me the opportunity to catch up with many people I hadn’t seen in months or years. The father of one of of my childhood friends asked, “Is being a mom harder or easier than you expected?”

I think about this question a lot as my weeks of motherhood stack up. I think about my pre-baby self and try to remember what I thought being a mom would be like. I had difficulty answering his question and I still struggle to answer, but this is what I consider.

Childbirth. I stupidly researched childbirth more than parenting because I was SO anxious about it, especially since I was very committed to having a natural childbirth. I laugh at the 20 freaking library books I read and notebooks full of notes I took since my body just did what it was going to do in the moment and there was absolutely nothing I read in a book that decreased the severe pain. That being said, I appreciated some of my research because at least I knew that the horrific pain and sheer terror I felt the whole time was normal! Deep down, I also had faith in my body and that really did come from Ina May. However, my birth was nothing like the ones in her book (calm, spiritual, HA!!! Yeah, right). I’ll say childbirth was different but no harder or easier than expected.

Recovery. First day or so was harder than expected. I don’t understand people who are up walking around right after. Uh, I could barely stand for a good 24 hrs. And then whatever the hell was happening down there for the next few days… ugh yeah, worse than I had imagined, THANKS intense tearing!

Breastfeeding. SO MUCH HARDER!!!! Like, at times I seriously felt like BFing was more painful than labor because it wouldn’t end. My nipples hurt when clothes touched them. They hurt in the shower. They ached so bad if I got slightly cold. They throbbed when Hafiz latched and hurt the whole time he nursed. They bled. His latch was great and it still just fucking hurt! I completely understand giving up on BFing. If money were no concern I might have just done formula, honestly. Now I’m happy I saw it through because it does become painless, so convenient and enjoyable. However, at the beginning the BFing pain + hormonal roller coaster + newborn baby = hot mess. Rough. I wish I had been more prepared for that.

Sleep.This is another little-of-both ones. Nights were way easier than I expected since I was prepared to be kept up all night and Hafiz just kinda slept through the night from the beginning. Naps were harder than I expected though. I thought reading signs of tiredness and putting the baby down to sleep would be as easy as I just made that sound. HA! I didn’t have a clue what a beast overtiredness is and I never expected Hafiz to fight naps and need to cry pretty much every time. Even though I’m used to it now, it still sucks.

Diapers.I never anticipated how weirdly much I would enjoy changing diapers. This is one of those things you can only possibly take pleasure in when it’s your own kid. Also, cloth diapers were way easier than expected, too. So happy we are decided to Invest in them.

In conclusion. I have to say motherhood was easier than expected for really just one reason that matters more than all the rest. Before having Hafiz I truly could not comprehend loving someone so much. The inconveniences of a baby seems insane to willingly subject yourself to until you factor this in. I thought having my life turned upside down by him would overall be super difficult, but even the most difficult or painful stuff quickly fades the second I see him smile. This isn’t to say I don’t have moments of frustration where I break down crying, or that I don’t miss the freedom I had just a few months ago. Sure, there’s that, but there’s no doubt on my mind that Hafiz is worth it.