1. I knew motherhood would be hard.
I never laboured under the preconception that motherhood would be a piece of cake. The constant diaper changes, the late night feedings, the tantrums, the exhaustion, the mess - this is what I thought the real exertion would consist of. As it turns out, this stuff is easy, now that I've got the hang of things and six month's worth of experience under my belt. I could do these things with my eyes shut. What I've discovered is the real challenge of parenting are aspects that just can't be controlled: The vaccines, baby's first cold, teething, watching the tears stream down her sweet little face and having no idea how to help her. This is the real hard stuff. This is where the real work lies. I can't even imagine how I'll deal with the first time Maya has hurt feelings, the first time she works so hard at something only to fail, the first time she's dumped by a boyfriend.
2. I knew having a baby would be fun.
What I didn't account for was the joy. It sounds corny, but there is just so much joy surrounding parenthood, and I never really expected that. Our daughter keeps us giggling all day long, she's such a silly-pants, I just have the best time taking care of her every day. D feels that too. I go to sleep at night so excited to wake up and spend another day being Maya's mummy. Every day is an adventure, and I laugh. A lot.
3. I knew that once I had a baby, everything would be perfect.
Maya is perfect, that's for sure. But having a baby certainly does not right the world's wrongs by any means. I know I was certainly guilty of romanticizing the idea of having a baby, assuming that it would make my life perfect and everything would be roses and rainbows; but unfortunately, there are still arguments, wars, sky-high piles of dirty laundry. Having a baby does not "fix" a marriage, but it has certainly brought D and I closer together. Having a baby did not "fix" my life, but it has definitely made it feel complete. No, everything is not perfect, but I am, possibly for the first time in my whole life, completely and utterly content.
4. I knew I would follow all the rules.
Turns out rules are made to be broken, especially in the world of parenting. "They" say a lot of things, but all babies are different. What's best for one kid might not be for another. You can read 100 different parenting books and come back with 50 conflicting pieces of advice. They don't call it Mother's Intuition for nothing - and it really comes in handy. In my experience, I have found that if it feels right, then it is right (and vice versa), despite what "They" say. I have found the confidence to rely on my own gut instincts in my 6 months of being a mum. No one knows my daughter better than me.
5. I knew I would love my child.
I just didn't expect to love her THIS much. This kind of love is totally and completely different than anything I've ever experienced. It's the kind you live, die and kill for. I wish I had the words to describe, with eloquence, this feeling. It's too vast to even try to explain. All I can say is this: Maya is, without a doubt, the great love of my life.