Yup – that’s me! 2 years and 8 months ago. Almost 40 weeks pregnant with my first baby and not quite sure what to expect after the baby was born.
I did what most pregnant women do. I listened intently to the advice and stories of all the other moms around me – my mom, my mother-in-law, my grandmas, aunts, friends and even random women in the grocery store. Everyone had a story or some tidbit of advice they wanted to share.
I also tried to read every book and article related to pregnancy in a last ditch effort to prepare myself for what was to come.
Looking back now, it was super overwhelming and just a bit over the top. Ha! That sounds like me.
Inevitably, by the time my 2nd pregnancy rolled around, the “overachiever” in me was too exhausted by my crazy toddler to even pick up a book. And honestly, I felt I didn’t have to. I had mentally compiled a list of all the things I wish I had known the first time I was pregnant and ready to give birth to a tiny human.
I call it my list of “Wish I Had Known’s”.
Here are a few things “I wish I had known” before having our first baby:
- Expect the Unexpected…for life
“My pregnancy, labour and delivery went exactly the way I had planned” said no mom EVER. Be prepared to just “go with the flow”. Sounds cliché I know, but it has become my mantra. Letting go of plans was the absolute hardest thing I had to do from labour and delivery to my baby’s sleep and feed schedules to handling my toddler’s meltdowns.
- The first 12 weeks are going to be HARD
This is one of the single most important things every mom should know. The first 12 weeks or fourth trimester (as it’s often called) is super duper tough. It calls for survival mode. Recruit help as often as you need and just keep your head down to get through it. It gets better, promise.
- You will not sleep (soundly)…again
Even if your baby is a “sleeper”, you still will not sleep soundly every again. You will worry constantly. Is your baby still breathing? Is your baby too hot? Is your baby too cold? Do they have enough blankets? Did they wet the bed? Are they home from that party? Etc.
- Your Post Pregnancy Body WILL be different than your Pre-Pregnancy Body
And that’s more than okay. It’s amazing! It will forever be your reminder of the truly remarkable, life-changing thing that you did. You will have a few more stretch marks, there may be some weakness or a scar, but look at what you’ve created! Be easy and kind to yourself and to your body. It’s recovering and healing and it will feel different and may not be what you had expected (see number 1 above). But it’s still yours to love.
- Motherhood may make you feel more vulnerable than ever before, but you are NOT alone
Many, many women feel isolated after childbirth. You question your identity, your ability as a mother, your body. Your sense of confidence is shaken by the challenges that come with a new baby and it may leave you feeling raw, emotional, and vulnerable. You are not alone. At some point, almost every single mother goes through this and please know that the transition to becoming a parent isn’t an easy one for anyone, no matter what instagram portrays! Talking to someone will help. I promise.
- Girl, trust yourself!
We all have natural maternal instincts. Trust your gut! It may take a bit of fine tuning and honing but they’re there and they will help you figure out what’s right for your baby.
Honestly, I wish I had known half of these things before my first baby was born. But that’s how life unfolds. You learn those key life lessons from experience not from Chapter 4 of a pregnancy book. You’ll get there mama!!