What I expect to expect (as I am expecting)

Expecting a new baby recalls the last time I was expecting a new baby, in 2008, when Julie was pregnant with Coop. I asked a lot of people what it was like to have kids, trying to anticipate and understand just what the heck was actually happening. The most consistent thing I heard from people who had started families was that there was no way to describe or comprehend what the difference was. After a while, I started believing them, and I can remember the odd conundrum of trying to prepare for something you know you can’t really wrap your head around until it happens.

It was true, by the way. I don’t think you can really understand how life will change when you have kids. If I could go back to a childless me 3 and a half years ago, and try to describe to myself what was coming, I wouldn’t be able to. There really aren’t words.

So, this with this baby, unlike the last, I have previous experience. I’ve done it before, and I think I have a better idea of what it will be like this time around. While I still don’t think I could fully describe to someone what it’s like to go from having no kids to having a kid (to the point they’d really get it, anyway), I do know that this time around there are a few big things I’ll be aware of:

When the kid is born, personal time will vanish.
There will barely be 10 minutes in a day that won’t be applied to parenting, working, or commuting between the two for the first while. That might seem exaggerated, but that really is my perception of how it went for me after Coop was born. (Those 10 minutes though? GOLDEN.)

My life will become less about myself.
When I had no kids, I felt my life was pretty much all about me, and I was right. After Coop was born, it became very apparent I was no longer quite at the center of my universe anymore. I am still a celestial body in it, but off to the side from the middle. With another kiddo, I anticipate I’ll be a bit further off to the side again.

Somehow, those 2 points above will be okay.
Sounds scary as I see it in print, but In fact, it is all is completely worth it by a longshot.

Life changes: it gets easier, less intense, and more fun.
I remember the first week with Coop as one of the best and worst times of my life. The Happiness was euphoric; I felt complete, and more capable of love than I ever would have imagined. I also felt fatigue like I never had before. Because of that, my body felt older, I was irritable, there was strain on my relationship with Julie, and it all made for a pretty tough time. When that’s all happening, you don’t know how long it’s going to last. You wonder if it will always be like this.

It’s not.

With this new arrival, I know it will be tough at first, but then in a few months I will be sleeping more, I’ll get used to the new definition of ‘us’, and I’ll start to feel the relief that comes with a sense of normalcy.

Later, that infant will become a person, complete with personality, and it will be fun to hang out with them (that is, if experience is anything to go by).

It’s a real trip to hold a tiny infant and contemplate your place in the vast universe, and to try to grasp the meaning of all the circumstances that had to culminate to allow you and this precious child to share this moment. It’s a real trip, and a wonderful thing, but it’s also really intense, and not really fun.

Fun is going swimming with a (nearly) 3 year old who has just discovered the joy that is jumping into water, and shows boundless enthusiasm for it with a 20 minute toothy grin that just won’t stop. Fun is being completely absorbed with the game of catch. Swimming and catch: totally fun, and not so intense. Also: that’s what I did this morning with Coop, and it was awesome.

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