Whew! Where do I even begin? I have read numerous articles before I got pregnant, during my pregnancy, as well as after giving birth and I felt like only a few articles helped to prepare me as a new Mom. I can tell you that no article can prepare you for the experience that you are about to experience because every pregnancy is so unique, however, I wish there were some things that I was reassured of before I became a Mom. Here is a list of 10 of those things I wish I knew before and after I gave birth:
1. Things That You Don't Use- As nice as it is to have 3 baby registries, a lot of the items you will end up not using. The stores will give you a 'suggested' list of the items that you need but quite frankly you don't need all that stuff. I tried to be very minimal with the items that I selected and even then I ended up not using some of the items. (thankfully I kept the receipts and exchanged them for the items that I needed) Your friends and family will tell you that you will need this and that and it might overwhelm you not only mentally but financially. Don't stress out! I always thought of my Mom and the things that she worked with when she was taking care of us. She didn't have any of the fancy swings or blankets or pumps. She used what she had and it worked well for her. Honestly, sometimes you don't know what you need until your baby arrives. I would encourage you to get the necessary items before you give birth and then keep all the other gift cards so that you can purchase what you need after you give birth.
2. Prepare With Your Partner- When we recorded our birth story, (on my YouTube channel) I said that I don't even know how people stay sane without the support of their partner or a family member. Pregnancy is no joke, the birthing process is no joke either but the aftermath is like a marathon that never ends. It is the most emotional rollercoaster ride I have ever been on. One of the things that I wanted to make sure was that my husband was involved in the whole process. I didn't want to be alone in it and plus I had a sense that I will need his help. We read a book together while I was pregnant which prepared us for a natural birth. We also talked about our preferences and agreed on our birth plan. These things might seem so minor, but they played such a huge role in our overall process. I do not know if Ryan would have been able to help me as much as he did if we did not prepare for this process together.
3. You're Not Alone- One of my biggest fears, even before I got pregnant, was that I will be in it alone. I kept thinking to myself that Ryan is a man and that he will not be able to understand me like another woman would. Let me tell you something, that is a fact. He might not have known how I was feeling or what I was experiencing, but that did not stop him from asking me and caring for me throughout the whole process. For you, it may be your Mom or your friend. Just know that you do not have to do this process on your own. You have the support of your loved ones. You just have to ask for that help!
4. You're Going To Be Emotional- I thought I was crazy the first week after the delivery because I was an emotional wreck. I cried so much! (Partially from being in pain and sleep deprived.) Now, I had a new human being in my hands who is trying to figure out this world as well. I was nervous that I was doing something wrong or not taking care of her properly. I was learning to breastfeed, which is a whole other thing by itself. There is just so much that is going on that week it is literally ridiculous. I kept telling myself, 'I don't know if I can do this!' Of course, my husband was there to help and reassure me that I was doing great even though he was sleep deprived himself and probably concerned more than I was that we were taking care of this little fragile human being. It wasn't until I experienced that week, and then talked to a few ladies and they told me that it was completely normal. I was like, 'why was I not told of that before?' Well, now you know! This is all perfectly normal and don't worry, it will get easier with every week as you learn your baby and she/he gets to know you better as well!
5. No One Knows Your Child Better Than You- People will give you advice whether you want it or not. Some people have better tact than others when it comes to the way they give you that advice. You have to learn to brush some things off even thought it might even hurt your feelings. Bottom line is that you will always have people that would like to 'help' you with your parenting skills. Let me reassure you, that you, as that child's mother, know him or her better than anyone else. (even health care professionals) You have that motherly instinct and you should trust it.
6. Trust Your Instinct-Even though the first week was very difficult for me, I started to pick up on the things that my baby girl would do as a sign for eating or gas or a need to poop. (it's amazing how excited you get when they do either one of those things:) I kept questioning myself whether I was doing things right. Some days I felt like a great Mom and others, I didn't know how else to help her and that made me emotional. All along, you have that motherly instinct and you should trust it. You had that baby in you for 9 months and you share a special connection with that baby. Your motherly instinct will lead the way.
7. Don't Be Hard On Yourself- I know that we want to be super Moms. At times we might even succeed at that title, because we feel so accomplished that day. Some days might be more challenging than others and that is ok. Don't be hard on yourself. Some days you may accomplish a lot and other days your baby may need more attention and that is ok. The important thing is that you are taking care of your baby even if the dishes are not washed or your laundry is not folded.
8. One Day At A Time- My husband kept reminding me the first week how we should take it one day at a time. It may seem overwhelming to see past the recovery or the sleepless nights but you have to reassure yourself and take it one step at a time. Just like the contractions that you experience before delivering your baby. You do not know how many more contractions you will have, but you just breathe through the one that is coming and focus on one contraction at a time. This is how I have to look at some of my days that are challenging and trust me that will help you see past everything else! I know as a woman, we want to multi task and get things accomplished, but somedays you may not be able to get that list completed and that is ok. Just focus on your newborn baby!
9. Don't Forget Your Partner- I know that this point may be scolded by a lot of people. I always hear people say how you should put your kids before your spouse and I cannot disagree more. This is one of the things that my hubby and I discussed even before we got married. We agreed that we will always put each other before our kids. Our kids will have to learn that Dad and Mom are a husband and wife and that we will always honor and respect one another in this way. Some people may disagree with me, but this is what I know to be true; if you allow your kids to come between you and your spouse from the start, you will always have an on-going battle with them even as they grow older. I understand that the infant stage is very different and I am not saying that you should leave your infant screaming and crying while you tend to your husband. What I am saying is that you should continue to affirm, acknowledge, honor and respect your husband. As your child matures and starts to understand more, it will be easier for you to instill that value in them. When Daddy and Mommy are strong together, the family thrives. I love my baby girl very much and I will do everything that I can so that she can have the best in life, however, I cannot deny the fact that it took two people to make this human being and it will take those two people to raise that human being. I cannot do it without my husband's help and moral support.
10. Enjoy Your Baby- One of the most annoying phrases that I would hear from people is, 'enjoy your baby now because she won't be that little anymore and you will miss it.' Honestly, I almost wanted to duct tape their mouth because I felt like they didn't understand what I was going through. I was recovering from the labor and delivery. I am now holding a live human being who doesn't talk and I am supposed to be this human's mother and provide the food on demand. This is definitely not the statement that I wanted to hear, but it is so true. The first few weeks are really hard (at least for me they were), but then you start to learn their signs and gestures and it gets so much more interesting. I remember how Mila smiled for the first time and I just wanted to cry because she looked so sweet and precious. It was like a sigh of releif and an affirmation that I was doing something right and that she appreciated me. Enjoy your time with your baby. Don't rush to invite people over (even family). I really needed that time to get aclimated and get used to my newborn at least a little bit. I am so glad that we didn't rush into having people over. I will cherish that time forever!
I know that this list probably can go on and on, but I just wanted to give you guys just a few top of my pointers that would eleviate a lot of your stress or worry. If I can help one sister out, I would be a happy woman! If you have some other suggestions that are helpful for new Moms, please list them in the comment section below! I love hearing from you:).
Create Coleture, Be YOU