When people asked me what I expected from childbirth, I told them that I thought it would be bloody and painful. And it was. But what nobody tells you about having a baby is that the delivery may be the easiest part. Contrary to popular belief, what comes afterward isn’t instant bliss; the first weeks and months of parenthood are largely uncharted territory for many new parents. They’re often just as difficult and terrifying as labor and delivery themselves, if not more so.
As a pregnant graduate student, I did what most parents-to-be do—I took a prenatal class, made a baby registry, and tried to cram in as much work as possible before the big day. Despite all that, I wasn’t nearly prepared for the reality of daily life with a baby. I hadn’t considered how to balance the challenges of nursing with the demands of my graduate-student life, not to mention the feelings of confusion and exhaustion that babies often bring. Continue reading on Vitae.