How did your actual experience differ from your expectation of what it would be like?

Everyone says that the first 6 weeks are the hardest, but I thought they were the easiest. She slept the most and I didn’t have breastfeeding problems. Then when she became a real person and would cry when she was tired, and didn’t always fall asleep nursing, I felt like that was harder.

What was the hardest part for you?

Um…the evenings were hard, because she would want to nurse for hours and hours but then she would almost always end up throwing up all over me, and Bill wasn’t home in the evenings, so then I was just alone with the baby and couldn’t put her down so I could pee or eat because she would cry. Getting out of the house was better, but getting somewhere in the evenings was tricky because if I tried to take her off my nipple she would have rage and scream at me.

What seemed to be the hardest for your partner?

I think that in the beginning all that she wanted was to nurse and he doesn’t have any place in that so I think that was hard for him because he would try to hold her and she would cry, he would try to comfort her and she would cry. I think he wanted to help but there was nothing he could do? I kicked him out of the bed and I think he felt isolated? Cooking and cleaning is helpful but it wasn’t directly related to the baby.

What did you do to prepare for postpartum?

I talked to people who had babies, I…you know…read some things…you don’t know what you don’t know, so there is really only so much you can prepare for. Every baby is so different. I think you just need to know who to ask for help.

If you could have prepared differently, what would you have done?

The first week was really hard and I cried a lot for seemingly no reason, but it was only a week and then I felt fine again. I think the best thing you can do is know there is a community of people that can help you and ask them for help when you need it.

Most and least helpful things your partner did?

MostHe always made sure that I was fed. Before he would leave for work, he would prepare me a meal, something totally prepared, that I didn’t have to cook for myself. He would make sure I would have lunch and dinner if he wasn’t going to be home. He also took her from 8-10ish every day so I could get some extra hours of sleep, by myself, without the baby right next to me.

LeastThere were maybe times when she would be crying and he would try one thing that wouldn’t work and then he would give up. I wish he had tried lots of things to comfort her, but he just didn’t have the repertoire and experience to understand that, and he wasn’t home to watch me do it while he was at work so he didn’t know what to try.