Becoming a mom is a whole bag of mixed emotions (whether you want to admit that or not). You're excited, anxious, terrified, happy, sad, panicked, overjoyed. Those two pink lines throw your mind into overload as you think about every possible thing you will experience and learn on this new journey.
Our daughter was a surprise. A BIG surprise, but, we were ecstatic. And terrified. Utterly terrified. We read and researched about all the typical things you think you should know about babies and parenting- before you actually become a parent. Let me tell you something...reading and experiencing are 2 completely different things. Any parent will tell you that. You always hear people say "It's instinct! Don't worry about it. You'll know what to do!" Will we?! How can you be so sure!? We're complete idiots on this subject! In the end, it really does come down to just "knowing" and sometimes asking for help from close friends and family. So, if you want to read and research, read this instead:
Dear New Mama,
1.) Take a breath. A big, deep, long breath. And EXHALE. Don't forget to exhale. It's important.
2.) Those 20 baby books about baby names, gizmos & gadgets, diets, and sleep training that you're shoving into your cart at Barnes & Noble...put them back and run far away. You don't need them and you sure as heck won't have time to read them when all you'll want to do is snooze the day away. Grab a book by your favorite author instead- take it home and relax. Enjoy your "you time" before it's not so readily available. ;)
3.) Go ahead and buy that adorable outfit you see and fawn over because it's so tiny, and cute! Did I mention SO TINY!?! Go ahead and grab one for a boy and one for a girl. Gotta be prepared, right!?
4.) Take care of yourself, but, don't overwhelm yourself with special pregnancy diets and food. Eat well, but, take the time to indulge a little. You deserve it. You're growing a tiny human.
5.) Buy a body pillow now. Trust me. You'll love me for it once you need to use it. My Snoogle was my besttttt friend...sorry hubby!
6.) Don't let others scare you with THEIR pregnancy and birth stories. You're not them. Take the time to envision your ideal pregnancy and birth. It may not happen, but, your positivity will help more than you know. And while we're on this topic- STAY OFF GOOGLE. You'll be terrified your entire pregnancy and that's not good. :)
7.) Don't wait until the last minute to think about and create your birth plan (if you choose to have one). Again, it may not go exactly how you want it to, but, it will give you some relief. You're in charge, no one else.
8.) Make decisions during your pregnancy and birth based on YOUR desires and choices. You're choices and your family's choices are all that matters.
9.) Document your pregnancy. There may be days you feel awful and think you look terrible, but, you are beautiful and amazing. Take photos of your belly each week or each month. You'll be amazed at the changes each time. You'll want to look back and watch the incredible journey you were on while growing a life inside of you.
10.) Don't stress about names. If you go into labor without having a name chosen, that's okay. You'll know the right name when you see your precious baby's face.
11.) Advocate for yourself. If you aren't comfortable being the 'outspoken' one, find someone who will be your voice (partner, spouse, parent, friend, doula, etc.). It will make a huge difference during pregnancy and labor/delivery.
12.) ASK FOR HELP. It's hard to do sometimes and most of us hate admitting we aren't Super Woman, but, there will be days you need a break or a helping hand (during pregnancy AND after). It's okay to be vulnerable.
13.) Snuggle and cuddle your baby. You won't spoil that tiny human. I PROMISE. Nurse them all day long, whenever they want to. It's more than just food for them; it's comfort and security. Hold them all day long if you want. It'll be good for both of you.
14.) Once baby is home, do what works for YOUR family. If you want to bed-share, DO IT. If you want to babywear all day to keep baby close, DO IT. If you want to nurse without a cover, DO IT. Nurse with a cover? DO IT. Don't let others dictate your parenting. You are fully capable and you're doing just fine, mama!
15.) BREATHE. Just breathe. And cry if you need to. Hand baby off to to daddy or gramma or aunty. Find a relaxing place and just cry if you need to. It's okay and you aren't alone. I promise. You're stronger than you think. You're still strong even if you have to ask for help. You're STRONGER by asking for help and by asking for a break. If you're well, your baby is well.
Enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can. You'll miss it. It's true you forget about all the bad things once you see your baby's face staring back at yours. You remember having that morning sickness and backache, but, you won't be able to describe it or remember the details completely. You'll remember the contractions during labor were bad, but, you won't be able to explain the feeling and intensity. It's the beauty of a mama's body. At the end of the day, our baby is all that matters and our minds and bodies prepare us for that by washing away all the negatives.
So, listen to your body and listen to your baby. Ask for help if you need it. Enjoy the snuggles. Forget about those dishes in the sink and the unmade bed. Forget about the floor that isn't vacuumed or the shelves that need dusting. Don't freak out if daddy doesn't have the energy to do that stuff either. Yes, you're the tired mama, but, daddies do a lot too and sometimes need some down time.
Snuggle, kiss your baby, relax, and love each other.
What things do you wish people had told you during your pregnancy? What things do you wish people had kept to themselves? Tell me below in the comments! :)