43 BIG surprises that new parents get

By its very nature, parenthood is a life-changing - and for many, a life-enhancing - event that brings countless highs and lows. There's lots of practical information about parenting available, but no matter how prepared you make yourself, is it always the case that some unexpected feelings or changes will hit you when your new baby arrives?

We asked our Facebook and Patient communities to share their experiences about the biggest surprises they got as new parents. Here are 43 truths that mums and dads across the world shared:

  • How much you love the baby and every time you look down at him or her you love more and your heart fills up with joy. That and never sleeping again ha, ha! ~ Pat Lacey
  • The over-riding & never-ending feeling, that no matter what, no matter who, your child is the most important thing in the world. And no other love or feeling comes close. ~ Matthew Theobald
  • Being a parent, a mother to be exact is life changing. First, the time for yourself will be not yours anymore if you already have a baby; you need to give all the attentions you can give to your angel in life. Second; you'll struggle, tired and sick. Third; the things you used to do before entering parenthood will change into different aspects. But you know what's the most important part of being a parent? To see your child grow with your loving and caring arms and grow morally characterised; to see your child's sweetest smile and to hear your child's sweetest phrases towards you. It superbly makes all of the changes in becoming a parent worthy enough. ~ Jessica Caderao
  • Oh lots of surprises when I became a parent! I thought I knew what tired was…ha! Having clothes that were covered in sick, that before children, I would have had a fit about, but now considered "relatively clean"! Finding yourself rocking back and forth with no child in your arms lol! But the biggest surprise for me is, I thought I knew what love felt like. Oh boy! This little bundle in my arms I would die for, literally, filled my heart with so much love it was overwhelming. ~ Julie Thomas
  • Two things. The immediate rush of love you are supposed to feel when you first hold your baby doesn't happen to everyone. I just felt a bit shellshocked! However, from that day forward the love I feel for my little girl has grown and grown every single day. It's overpowering, even when she's in the midst of annoying threenager tantrums! ~ Lou Smith
  • The love I felt. I have never felt love like it! But also the responsibility, knowing I'd never be able to stop worrying! ~ Karen I'Anson
  • You would be never alone again and you were responsible for another person. Real life change. ~ Rosalind Rowe
  • As I saw my baby boy the first thing came in my mind, which also surprised me was that "It's really me who gave birth to such a cute baby" and I was on top of the world! I used to see him again and again in surprise. ~ Geeta Arora
  • All the changes in your life, the constant changes in their lives as they grow, the constant learning curve you both go on, the unending & enduring love & admiration for that little strong being...~ Janet Davies-Wild
  • That I had not one but two priorities in life now.~ Ashlee Dewey
  • Giving birth for the first time can be one of the most apprehensive and scary things a woman can do but to feel that little bundle in your arms for the first in the most amazing and blessed thing I have ever witnessed. I have been blessed with three children and from when my youngest was three, I had to bring them up on my own. Yes hard times, ups and downs but I now have three married fantastic kids that I could ever wish for, three great partners and I've been blessed with five grandkids, that I also adore. ~ Carolynn Randall
  • The overwhelming love you feel for this little person you have only just met… ~ Stephanie Clark
  • I'd be collecting stuff and he'd at 18 months, be spreading them all again behind me, until he's asleep. I feel I am incomplete without him. Wherever I go I am asked about him, so he complements me… ~ Tehreem Khan Niazi
  • Love as never experienced before...x ~ Frank Pace
  • That these children will be influenced by you - their parents. Make it life-changing, make it challenging for them but most of all make sure they feel valued, protected and loved. You, as parents, will be their biggest example in life - make it count - please? ~ Julia Hartstill
  • Fulfilling the needs of my kids brings me out-of-the-world happiness. I found the purpose of existence. ~ Sakib Riaz
  • That your beautiful boy has CF. ~ Reg Shapland
  • For me it's not so much tiredness due to lack of sleep, but exhaustion due to keeping up with the Duracell bunnies all the time! I've never slept so well now that they sleep during the night! 2) Music lyrics make sense now. 3) The news is a no-go! 4) Getting out the house to go somewhere takes at least 30mins! ~ Guy Aldred
  • Looking after a person is a real life change and it only gets worse as they grow up because you can't stop them from feeling pain. ~ Elizabeth Maunder
  • The tiredness. No solid night of sleep for 6 years and rarely more than an hour in one go. Plus you become a lioness overnight fighting the world to protect your child. She's now 11 and it hasn't changed. The other thing was how you view the world differently - every starving child, every news alert, every missing child - it all becomes too awful to watch. ~ Serena Van Der Meulen-Taylor
  • Unconditional, unwavering love. ~ Julia Lekwape
  • Love, love and more love from my husband, which I hadn't experienced before my first kid. ~ Swapna Kodur
  • I naively thought parenthood lasted 18 to 21 years until they grew up. Huh! Fifty years on I am still being one, and still loving it! ~ Sheena Galston
  • How lucky I am to be a mum! ~ Helen Dean
  • How you can get through each day on so little sleep and however exhausted you are, you find the energy to keep going because your baby needs you to. On the practical side, how your house gets overtaken by everything that this tiny being needs and how such a small thing can produce such huge amounts of colourful poo and get through so many babygros in just one day! But most importantly the overwhelming love and protection you feel for them and how after just a few days you can't imagine life before them or loving anyone else as much ever again... until your 2nd and 3rd children, when that love magically duplicates! ~ Andree Race
  • A new born is no doubt a blessing and brings great joy, but the work involved in raising him/her up straight from day one was nothing short of a rude shock! I was totally unprepared for it, already very weary from a sickly pregnancy and hadn't slept for the longest time... OMG! I thought: 'The baby won't sleep; my breasts are not ready to release anything.' The baby was crying, waking up every five minutes, for like 5 days before I had real milk from my breasts! Long story…but when I looked at my baby searching for resemblance, it was always worth it.~ Jane Muthoni
  • How beautiful my baby was and how much love I had for her. ~ Lucy Perez
  • It is the happiest thing I've experienced. From the very first moment when I got the news that I was going to have a baby, I felt I'm complete now, I don't need anything else. Then the day came when I held my baby in my arms. Since that day till now, twenty years later, I've enjoyed being a mother. ~ Zeenat Azam
  • Life was super-duper! ~ Emily Woodend
  • The cost xx. ~ Bailey Martin Glyn
  • When they became teenagers! ~ Janice Source
  • I thought I'd been tired in my life before but nothing compares to the relentless loss of sleep that a newborn brings. You feel like a zombie with eyes barely open and brain on go-slow. If any childless person tells me they're tired now I suggest they try parenthood to know what the word really means. ~ Sav Eleftheriades
  • Tired lol.... and how much company they are as adults. I live and breathe for them even though they drive me mad sometimes xxx. ~ Maria Saunter
  • My selfishness - my baby's needs came first instead of mine. ~ Carol Jackson
  • How much love I feel - like my heart could burst. ~ Adele Strickland
  • How gentle and careful I became. ~ Brenda Arnold
  • No sleep and a child with Asperger's. ~ Barbara Kiefner
  • A wonderful feeling indeed... having 3 kids & being a single mom is an amazing experience. I'm so thankful to God for what I have now... ~ Cherry Ann Alarva Ortega
  • Becoming a mum made me realize how amazing my own mum was. Hardest work ever and unconditional love.~ Cristina Laura Gomez
  • Sleep what sleep. ~ Kathy Magoulas
  • Just how much love I actually had - and how much it is still growing. ~ Sharon Robinson
  • That I enjoyed responsibility. ~ Chandana Malhotra
  • Hard work! ~ Denise Phillips