While everyone's experience is different, the one thing that I can assure you of is that being a parent is the greatest, most beautiful, horrifying, frustrating and joyous experience you will ever have in your life! Sleep, as you know it, will cease to exist and the terms 'exhaustion' and 'fatigue' will be completely re-defined. Will your life change? Absolutely! In some ways it will be better and in other ways...well, it'll just be different...but not bad, just different.
The best piece of advice I can give to anyone who is pregnant (especially for the first time) is "just don't think about it." Yeah, I know...not what you expect to hear, but believe me, truer words have never be spoken. When you become a parent, you cannot allow yourself to become bogged down with the thoughts of new responsibilities, can you really take care of an infant, are you even ready to be parent, what will your family do, if anything ever happens to you...you get the idea. The truth is, once your baby is born all bets are off and you better be ready to hit the ground running!! Newborns, infants and toddlers can be very demanding in many different ways and they don't understand or have the patience for you to pull yourself together every time you decide to get lost in your thoughts or fears. Some days you will literally be on auto-pilot and that will be a good thing! Other days your mind will easily go to dark places that leave you with a heavy heart, wondering if you can handle it all and simply wanting to run away. You may even find that you're mad at yourself for having such thoughts, but I promise you, it's all completely natural....and for those who may be wondering, "Is she talking about postpartum depression?" Well, yes and no. The phase I'm talking about can happen anytime from the moment you give birth onward. Like I said, everyone is different, but most new moms and dads (yes, they do have feelings and fears, too) will go through this at least once during the first few years of their child's life....just, remember it's normal and it will pass.
Despite this ugly truth, having children really does add something to your life. Yes, they are a lot of work. Yes, they will frustrate you, at times. However, rediscovering the world through their eyes, feeling the pure love in their hugs or the genuine laughter combined with their smile is simply amazing and well worth any sacrifice you have to make.
So, with that, I bid you adieu and say "Go forth and prosper!"