Rob's cousin recently had her first baby and she asked me a few months ago if I had any advice. Sorry, I don't give any. I think it is just too cruel to frighten people when there is absolutely nothing they can do to prepare themselves for the birth of a child No amount of reading in all the baby know-how books, organizing the nursery or childcare classes.
How on earth do you explain that uninterrupted sleep is going to become your personal Holy Grail? Sleep deprivation is one of those things you cannot fully understand until you experience it for months on end (or in our case a year and a half... and if you were blessed with one of those rare babies that sleeps all night at month one, I don't want to know). Or that disposable income is something from your previous life that you will not know again until the diaper stage has passed? That you will exchange your dignity for mastering the art of breast-feeding, no matter who is present? Should I tell her that the next few months are all about serving a very demanding task-master who yells at you when you get it wrong and sometimes when you get it right? How about the fact that this little screaming pink thing is all take, with only the occasional gas-induced, all-too-brief smile to give in return? That in a few months you will be able to shower, do a hit-and-miss leg/underarm shave and brush your teeth in under five minutes? That your prep time for leaving the house will escalate from thirty minutes to two hours and that even then you will forget something vital... like a binky? Shopping now requires a car seat, stroller, toys, diaper bag, purse and, preferable, a spouse? Every piece of your wardrobe will now be marked with spit-up? No... you can't prepare somebody for a baby.
Because there is no way that anyone would believe you if you told them they could fall madly in love with a selfish little thing who pees, poops and projectile vomits all over them. No way at all.