Papa! OMG, congratulations!
I am so very happy for you!
I have to second much of what PumpkinPie said. I started this journey alone and now, with Iris two years old, am still doing it on my own. I think it's great that you are leaning on your friends *now*. For too long, I had the "I'm a strong, independent, fierce mama who can do any damn thing by myself" mindset. While true
(and like Pumpkin said, you'll find strength you didn't even know you had), what that mindset really bought me was a helluva lot more exhaustion and frustration than I needed. Just because I *could* do something for/by myself didn't mean I should. And ultimately, to an extent, Iris suffers when I suffer. She was past her first birthday before I took one of my friends up on the many offers to watch her so I could go out and do something just for me, and after that two hour break, I realized how much I had needed it. And she needed it, too! With hindsight, I realize a lot of things could have been easier if I had gotten into the habit of accepting favors much earlier. I was the crazy eight-months-pregnant lady out there mowing the lawn.
Which is fine, but I had people offering to do it for me!
I also found that many of my friends surprised me after the birth. Some who I expected to be huge supporters...weren't. But others who I didn't expect more than an obligatory congrats from turned out to be heavily interested and involved. And I found a huge, wonderful local network of AP folks who are now my biggest support of all.
There is also much to be said to be starting out this way, rather than suddenly finding yourself a single parent when you hadn't planned it that way, as many of these mamas can attest to. If I ever find myself partnered again, it'll be so odd to find myself with that kind of immediate support available.
FWIW, I like your easy pregnancy/birth theory. I had a similar one, though my TTC journey wasn't quite as long or complicated as yours. It was true for me, too. Besides exhaustion, my pregnancy was a dream (besides having to glove/mask up for the cat boxes since I was toxo-negative after a lifetime of gardening and cat ownership
). And my birth, well...I wish I could relive it over and over again.
I hope the same is true for you!