As an older mom-to-be, I read every book and website I could lay my hands on about being a mom over age 35. I talked to friends that had babies in their 30s. I tried to prepare myself as much as possible. But there were a few things I didn’t prepare for quite enough, if at all.
1. Your knees are not what they used to be – my baby needs constant rocking or bouncing. She loves movement and if she loved her car seat more, I’d drive her around in The Mister’s truck more often. But she doesn’t love her car seat, so I bounce and rock and sway her in my arms daily. While it’s a great workout (my FitBit counts each bounce as a step), my knees aren’t super happy with me. They ache. Since I’m able to take Advil now, I do. To save my arms and knees for a few minutes every day, the vibrating seat takes her after a good feeding. But 85% of the time, I’m bouncing her. Which means my knees are constantly moving. Add in getting her off and onto her under-the-sea playmat, up and out of the rocker, and into her car seat, my knees bend all day long. And they know it. They crack and whine. They wobble and shake. Oh to have my knees of ten years ago.
2. Sleep is not what it used to be – I keep trying to channel my long gone college self to no avail. Even back then I got more sleep than I do now. I can’t recall a single all-night study session – I loved sleep more than my grades. Everyone tells new moms to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” Which is all fine and dandy if you’ve managed to pee, eat, and take a shower while your little one was peeing, and eating (and yes, in times of desperation, I have taken little miss into the bathroom with me.) Most of the time, I’m dancing her to sleep while holding it and praying I don’t sneeze. Once baby girl goes down, I feel the freedom of a my arms and run frantically around the house doing as much as possible before she wakes up (which could be 20 minutes or two hours): laundry, dishes, vacuuming, showering (though this one is sure to make her wake up no matter how long she’s been asleep), and I consider knitting. After I do all I think I need to do, I fool myself into thinking I could get in a short nap too. But that’s when she wakes up. Mom’s Murphy’s Law. And the vicious sleep debt cycle continues. The zombie midnight and 3am feedings continue and I pray I don’t fall asleep standing up.
3. Your curves are not what they used to be –
And not being in your 20s means it doesn’t necessarily bounce back like it used to. The abs you were working on flattening before pregnancy? Gone. The butt that was almost lifted to where you where you wanted? Flattened. The hips that fit into your favorite pair of jeans? Widened. Body parts shift and muscles slacken, no matter how much you work out during pregnancy. There’s a recovery period after pregnancy that seems to push body parts into new regions. I swear I’ve lost half my butt since giving birth. Though all the weight I gained since last summer was gone by the time little miss was two weeks old, the weight that remains is suspiciously in different places. I can fit into pre-pregnancy jeans and zip them but not button that top button. I swear I’m carrying at least ten pounds inside my nursing bra. From what I hear, nothing will return to its former state. And the jury’s still out on how I feel about that.