[Intro to longread: To read full essay click https://tangunt.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/welcome-to-parenthood-the-nature-of-the-beast/ ]
They tell you: your life will change forever; get ready for complete exhaustion; you won’t enjoy a full night of sleep again in years; the relationship with your partner will never be the same… They—your parents, your close friends, your doctor—they certainly tell you these things and others of the like.
And yet you don’t believe them, you choose to ignore them. It cannot be that bad, you think. They have to be exaggerating, you say to yourself. Hyperbole: all there is, in these warnings and comments, is the inescapable amplification of personal experience. There are similarities with the person who is involved in a car crash: he cannot believe the accident is going to happen until it is too late, when the car, stubbornly disobeying the orders, is about to be wrecked.
Allow me to use another driving simile. You are driving southbound in a highway and at one point the northbound lanes are closed—no accident here; workers are just fixing the road. As you keep moving south, you realize that northbound traffic is backed-up for miles: one, two, three, four, five, six… a six-miles traffic delay. You drive passed the point where the vehicles started forming the line. As you keep moving forward, you cross the vehicles driving north, freely at that point, accelerating and passing and switching lanes. Of course those drivers are blind to the reality of things: they don’t know what is coming their way. A couple of miles down the road they will be stuck in a fifty minutes, maybe an hour, painful halt. Unaware of the fact that a traffic jam will be blocking their way, they expect to get to places, to do things, to see people. Similar is new parents’ perspective on life: they push the accelerator pedal of parenthood at ease, unknowing that they are going to be stuck in the traffic jam of early childhood for years to come, condemned to the slow motion of raising, protecting, and educating small children.
So you truly believe they are just warning you so you get ready for the next stage in life, and you think your experience of dealing with a newborn (and then a baby and then a toddler) will certainly be different: more pleasant, more balanced, all—at least most of it—rosy. Then the newborn arrives; all of a sudden he or she is already home. In two or three months at most the heart of the matter is not if the warnings were true, but how to cope and juggle with all those issues when finally they start to arise: a complete life-style change; total exhaustion; sleepless nights; a relationship with your partner that doesn’t seem to replicate the ease and joy you once attained—once in the past (it seems centuries ago), before that day when you finally felt the excitement of the pregnancy test nodding its head at you, whispering: “Get ready, ‘cause you are going to be a parent.”