On having a baby:
Expectations: You won't know all the answers. Duh.
Reality: Most of the time you know all the possible answers, and have no idea which is the right one, and every time you ask someone for advice it will be different. You will trust your pediatrician, but you will still wonder if you're doing the right thing.
Expectations: Falling totally in love with my baby, instantly.
Reality: Being instantly wowed by my baby, but taking a while for the deeper bond to develop.
Expectations: Not getting enough sleep.
Reality: Getting even less sleep than that.
Expectations: Being a parent would be fun.
Reality: Seeing my husband become a parent would be powerfully emotional (and fun!).
Expectations: Being an emotional wreck the first week back at work.
Reality: Being glad to have an outlet for adult conversation, and a full paycheck again.
Expectations: Being a "different mom" who wasn't part of that exclusive "mommy club" that seems to exist.
Reality: Being glad to have friends who have been through the early stages of motherhood already to know I wasn't alone in my frustrations about parenting, and to share in the joys that seem mundane outside of that perspective.
Expectations: Wanting to break out of the house often, and socialize as much as possible (with baby).
Reality: Being torn between being sad for not being invited to many events (wanting to socialize) and trying to keep the baby on a good sleeping schedule (wanting to stay home).
Expectations: Breastfeeding would either work or it wouldn't, and I would adjust accordingly.
Reality: Breastfeeding sort of works, and we do a combo of nursing and formula.
Expectations: Seeing her smile would brighten up any bad day.
Reality: Even better than expectations.