Who knew such tiny, perfect beings could lead to such big messes? I've heard these words often in my work and I remember three times in my own life where I felt those words with every fiber within me.
The truth is, new motherhood is messy. There's the physical mess of your own body. The mess of blood, milk, sweat and tears, that even the most perfect, birth-planned birth is not protected from.
There's the mess of that little one, that operates a bit like an ill-timed fountain. As soon as one mess is cleaned another immediately follows. (Keep a rag close at all times. Better yet, find some muslin pajamas.)
Then, there's the inside mess. The mess that wrecks your heart and soul, taking a fistful of your emotions and wildly wringing them before throwing them intentionally yet haphazardly into the abyss. That happens a lot, and you'll say you were crazy for embarking on this journey, and you will both mean it and not mean it at the same time.
Those first weeks feel like one long day, fraught with fitful naps and and neverending feeding (of big tummies and small). Eventually - and I promise you this - the first day ends and a new one begins. This new day will be a bit shorter, a bit calmer, and eventually, Eventually!, the messes start to sort themselves out.
So. The good news? The answer to "Why didn't anyone tell me?" is because you soon make bigger memories that gently layer over the ones of those first days. Some day, when you hear your friend or your sister or your daughter say those same words, you'll remember those memories, and they'll seem just a little bit cleaner.