No, I am not pregnant. Maybe you are, and maybe this just might be your first baby…congratulations!! Becoming a mom for the first time (and second, third, etc.) is an amazing, life-changing experience! I know, I know…everyone says that. If you had a dollar for every time someone said it to you, amirite?
Everyone is familiar with the typical advice offered up to pregnant women, and this post may repeat some of that, but it also expands on it, because there are some things that other moms will either neglect to tell you, or forget to tell you (but trust me, it comes to us in the middle of the night and we sit bolt upright and say “Oh!!! I forgot to tell her blah blah blah!!”). So here is some advice, from one mama to another.
1. Get your sleep now…This advice is probably the most common. It’s also the biggest crock of poo. The first trimester, you may very well find yourself waking up two or three times a night to pee. Because sure, your precious bean isn’t big enough to cause bladder compression yet, but you’re probably taking in more fluids. Even if you haven’t started draining your local reservoir yet, for some reason, the first trimester heralds an increase in suddenly feeling like a racehorse who forgot to go before running the Kentucky Derby. Then during the second trimester, the stretching and shifting of various muscles and ligaments becomes noticeable…sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it wakes you up in the middle of the night. Towards the end of the second trimester and throughout the third, any number of things can wake you up. Pains, overflowing bladders, and the fact that an Olympic gymnast has taken up residence in your womb.
2. Sleep when the baby sleeps…Again, no. Because your bundle may very well be a night owl. And during the day, you’ll feel guilty for taking a nap when Junior is snoozing. Do it anyways. Fight the urge to be productive. Productivity is a lot less important than sanity, and there are plenty of studies related to the adverse effects of sleep-deprivation.
3. You’re going to be over the moon…Yeah. You will…because the whole experience can feel at times like you just love the world and everything is rainbows, unicorns, and unicorns pooping rainbows.
4. But sometimes the moon will be over you…And that is perfectly okay. It is okay to look at your bundle of pooping, crying, vomiting child and think “I did not sign up for this. Maybe I’m not cut out to be a mom. Maybe I should take this baby back to the hospital…I’m still within Safe Haven laws, right?” Every new mother doubts themselves. You can do it. Our mothers did it. Baby blues are natural, and usually pass once your hormones regulate themselves. However, when you go to the doctor for postpartum checkups, you will be asked to fill out a little screener for Postpartum Depression. It is very important that you be honest on these little questionnaires. You won’t be judged…you’ll be helped if you need it.
5. Your kids don’t always come first…I know…shocker, right? It shouldn’t be. You have to make time to take care of yourself, and if you have a significant other, you need to make time where you both can take care of your relationship. They say ‘happy wife, happy life’, and it holds true that a happy, rested mom makes for happy kids. For example, picture yourself as exhausted, a hot mess, hobbies thrown to the wayside, focused solely on the baby. Resentment is going to be a female dog, to be honest. Now picture yourself, you just had some time to yourself. Maybe you hung out with some friends. Maybe you just got a manicure. But you come home, and later on the baby starts crying. You’ll be centered, calm, and able to soothe your baby.
6. Even so, it’s okay to get upset/feel resentful/irritated, etc…You’re only human, mama. So long as you know to put the baby down and breathe, you’ll be fine. When SchoolGirl was a baby, she had colic…bad. One day, I found myself thinking she’d be a lot quieter if I tossed her out the window (I was on the first floor and there was a non-thorny bush outside said window…I thought it more in the sense that if I placed her outside, I wouldn’t have to hear her). I looked at the screaming child in my arms, laid her down in her cradle, and took a shower. Funny how much better being clean can make you feel.
7. You are NOT perfect…Don’t try to be, you’ll drive yourself nuts. Don’t compare yourself to other moms. Don’t compare your kid to other kids. Situations are different for every mom, and maybe you can’t have a Pinterest-worthy home/life, because you have no one to take your baby for a couple of hours while you try to get ahead. Don’t compare yourself to someone who might have a close, tight-knit circle of support. Don’t expect to be able to do what another mom does just because that mom has done it. Don’t expect other moms to be able to do what you do, just because you have done it.
8. But you ARE Supermom…Every mom is. Look at you! You incubated a brand-new life! You brought it into the world, by whatever means you may have done it. Whether you pushed that little bundle out, had it cut out, had drugs during delivery, said no to drugs during delivery, it matters not, because you are a bag of awesomesauce. You brought that baby home and either fed it with the boob or with some formula. It doesn’t matter how. As long as you love your baby and try your best to do what you feel is best for your baby, you are doing just fine and don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise.
9. Stock up on essentials…Because there will be blood. The hospital gives you these awesome pads…I call them “Eyes to Crown” pads. And they are amazing.
10. Ask a fellow mom for advice…but don’t feel obligated to take it if it doesn’t go with your parenting style. And never let anyone tell you that “Co-sleeping is wrong”, “Not co-sleeping is wrong”, things like that. You do what works for you and your baby.
I originally wanted to cap this at 10 items, but there is an 11th, and I feel it is very, very important…
11. VACCINATE. Do delayed vaccinations if you want. Most pediatricians will go along with capping, which limits the number of shots given to a child at any one time. But please vaccinate your children. Not just for their sake, but for the sake of the immuno-compromised, who can’t be vaccinated. These people are protected by herd immunity, and there has been an alarming rise in the occurrence of once-rare childhood diseases due to a lack of vaccinations in certain areas. If you believe that vaccines cause autism, I am not going to show you all the objective studies that prove otherwise. I am not going to change your mind that vaccines cause autism. I am only going to point to this post I wrote previously about it.