I wish I'd know that it would be so difficult. That there would be days where I was counting down the minutes until bedtime. That I would cry more than I ever have done before. That worrying about him would turn my stomach inside out. That his pain would be harder to bear than my own. That there would be so many things to think about that I'd never even imagined.
I wish I'd known that it would be so easy. That it would be so easy to love him and be proud of him. That I do have that intuition everyone talks about. That each individual task is really not so hard, more that it is the accumulation of them that makes things tricky. That things would get easier almost every day, a slow march of progress as you grow and change together.
I wish I'd known that, for me, pregnancy would be the worst bit. That I would feel unlike myself. That it really was temporary. That, for me, birth actually wasn't as bad as the nine months that preceded it, even if it seems the scariest part. That I should stock up on meals in the freezer before pregnancy, rather than before the baby is born, because I wouldn't want to cook dinner for almost nine whole months. That I should take weekends off instead of scheduling myself to the nines. That being ill whilst pregnant is absolutely the worst thing in the world (second only to being ill whilst having to care for a baby).
I wish I'd known that the love would come later. That the fierce protectiveness, the worry and the relief would come first. I thought I loved him straight away, and there's no denying the sweetness of your new baby sleeping on your chest and smelling his head. But, really, the love came later. The real love, where I know him and he knows me and I think he's one of the best humans that has ever existed. That came later.
I wish I'd known that he would occupy all of my waking thoughts. That I would never be free of him, even when we're apart. That sometimes I desperately want to. That, really, I never do. That I would worry and dream and just think of him every other thought, maybe for the rest of time.
I wish I'd known that I would be the same. That everything that made me 'me' is still there. That I still care about the same things. That I still love to write and read and knit and drink cocktails. That I would look the same and sound the same and no one else would know what had transpired.
I wish I'd known that I would be forever changed. That having a baby would change me in ways I didn't think, make me less selfish and somehow more self-focused. That 'before baby' would feel like another world. That one day could flip everything on its head and nothing would ever be the same. That sometimes I would think of myself as another person, when I think of who I was before. Like a mirror image, so familiar and yet somehow not real.