When you become a mother, you will favor comfortable, stretchy pants over stylish, on-trend jeans. 

When you become a mother, you will balk over the cost of pretty nursing bras. Ditto for formula. 

When you become a mother, you will get extremely annoyed at that one nurse in the hospital who tries to make you feel bad about giving your baby a pacifier. 

When you become a mother, you realize they left out a lot of information in those baby books. 

When you become a mother, you may be amazed at the strength of your body and endurance for pain. You may feel like a warrior, bearing intense contractions while relying on breathing exercises and sheer will.  Or, you may be surprised how unbearable childbirth feels and almost hug the anesthesiologist when she gives the epidural. 

When you become a mother, you will be thankful for morphine. 

When you become a mother, you will discover clogged milk ducts, hemorrhoids, and postpartum hair loss to be a drag. 

When you become a mother, you will immediately fall completely in love with this precious new life you created. Or, it may take a little time for the two of you to get to know each other. Either way is fine. 

When you become a mother by a non-traditional path such as adopting, surrogacy, egg or sperm donation, you may find people’s questions to be rather invasive, and extremely vexing. 

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When you become a mother, the baby blues may catch you off guard. You’re supposed to be overjoyed, but you feel so darn emotional. It’s completely normal and should pass, but if it doesn’t, seek support. Don’t be embarrassed if you need to take medication. Postpartum depression is not uncommon and needs to be taken seriously

When you become a mother, be prepared for unsolicited advice from everyone from your sister-in-law to the lady standing behind you in line at Wegmans. They mean well.

Take in what you find useful, throw out what you find unhelpful.

Don’t be afraid to shut down any snarky comments. There’s always going to be that one person who says, “Shouldn’t that baby have an undershirt on?” 

When you become a mother, read to your baby. Reading is relaxing and a lovely way to bond with your child. There are many wonderful books out there. Beatrix Potter, Paddington Bear, and Winnie The Pooh for classic old standbys. Global Babies, Baby Cakes, and ABC A Family Alphabet Book for inclusiveness, and Love You Forever, Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You, and We Found A Hat for heartfelt tearjerkers. 

When you become a mother, you will get accustomed to drinking cold tea and eating cold dinners. Do yourself a favor and download the DoorDash app and don’t feel one bit guilty! 

When you become a mother, you will pray the baby goes to sleep. When the baby does go to sleep, you will anxiously wake up every 20 minutes to check on your baby. 

When you become a mother, under-eye concealer is your best friend

When you become a mother, you are much more comfortable going out in public looking ugly. 

When you become a mother, play music often. And not just lullabies. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is lovely, but the three-part harmony of Lennon, McCarthy, and Harrison in “Because” by The Beatles is absolutely enchanting. 

When you become a mother, you will think your baby is the most beautiful child in the world. And of course, you will be right. 

When you become a mother, at some point you will hate your partner. 

When you become a mother, take up those offers of help. The baby’s godmother wants to do the 2 a.m. feeding? Yes, please! 

When you become a mother, you have unwittingly signed up to worry about another human being for the rest of your natural life. It doesn’t matter if the kid is five months, five years, or 50 years old, there will always be a piece of you that worries. Accept this and move on. 

When you become a mother, you will appreciate your own parents. 

When you become a mother, you will be fairly certain your baby is destined to be a future president, Nobel Peace Prize winner, or Poet Laureate. When the kid grows up to be a mime living in the room over the garage, you won’t give a fig as long as your child is happy and kind. 

When you become a mother, you will have stretch marks. No, cocoa butter will not help, don’t even bother. 

When you become a mother, you will, at some point, make mistakes. Big ones too. Don’t forget, mothers are humans, not saints. 

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When you become a mother, trust your instincts. They will usually be right. 

When you become a mother, you will never quite be the same person you once were. You will be exhausted, exhilarated, and emotional as you embark on this beautiful, wild journey called motherhood. 

Welcome mama, enjoy the ride.  

Claudia Caramiello

Claudia Caramiello is a certified pharmacy technician by day, freelance writer by night, mother of two teen sons both day and night. Hailing from New Jersey, she survives single motherhood on caffeine, humor, and listening to Twenty One Pilots. Her articles have been featured on Scarymommy, Bluntmoms, Sammiches and psych meds, Elephant Journal, and Moms & Stories. You can find her on Facebook at Espresso & Adderall and read more from Claudia on her blog, https://wordblush.com/