The last 6 weeks have taught me so much. I've helped raise 2 younger brothers, 4 nieces and 2 nephews. However, when the child in question is yours, all bets are off. Suddenly, you become the most ignorant person alive. Here are a few things I desperately wish people would have told me before the babies arrived.
1. You will cry a LOT at first, and wonder what the heck you've gotten yourself into. It's normal, but you feel like complete crap when these things creep into your head. The first few days/weeks are really, really, really hard, so go easy on yourself. If I'd known these feelings were normal, I'd have talked to someone about them instead of feeling ashamed. These passing thoughts do not make you a terrible mother. They make you human, albeit a thoroughly stressed out and overwhelmed human.
2. You can accomplish much more than you ever thought possible- things like hauling two 6 week old babies to 4 different stores in less than 2 hours because there are things that you cannot do without (like dog food, perhaps?). It is also totally possible to push a stroller and pull a shopping cart at the same time. Note that I didn't say fun, easy or enjoyable, but it is definitely possible.
3. No one is as hard on you as you are on yourself. Whether you have issues with breastfeeding, or colic, or you're just not sure how to do this whole "raising a kid" thing, you'll figure it out. No one will judge or second-guess your decisions more harshly than you will, but if your baby is fed, changed and loved, then you're doing it right.
4. It is so important to maintain a connection with your significant other. Taking care of children is stressful and time-consuming, and it is so easy to neglect the relationship that brought your babies into being. A hug and an "I love you" goes a long way when you are both frazzled, exhausted and snippy!
5. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Literally. I'm going to have killer legs from all of the squats and lunges I do on a daily basis and the babies aren't even mobile yet. I have spent more time on the floor of my living room in the past 6 weeks than in the 6 years we've lived in this house! Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I'm also going to need knee replacements from the aforementioned exercise.
Any more tips or pieces of sage wisdom you'd like to share before I figure it out for myself (and wonder why you didn't tell me in advance)?