Thursday, June 6, 2013

What I Wish I Knew....

Being a First Time Mom

Being a practical, black and white type of person, my journey into motherhood wasn't something that was really ever up for debate.  Once I got past my wild college days of carefree fun, I knew at some point I'd bite the bullet and have kids.  So in the time leading up to my first child being delivered I read and researched everything I could about babies and kids.  And while I quickly figured out which bottles were the best (seriously, whatever you baby likes if that is your choice), which parenting style worked best for me, and the fact that you really don't need all the gadgets (honestly, they aren't lying), many of the sources failed to address some of the more real aspects to parent.  You know, the junk that no one really wants to cop to.  The really ugly stuff.  But for me, that's the stuff I want to hear and read.  I want the REAL dirt.  So here are a few things that I wish I knew as a first time Mom.

1) Once you get that first "positive" test, you might be overjoyed or overwhelmed.  If you are like me, you have a "Oh Sh*t" moment.  Although in my case that moment lasted for a good couple of months. Whatever your emotions are - they are ok.  I remember being blasted on a discussion board once for have the nerve to post that I was struggling with being excited and happy - after all how day I NOT be excited when so many other women tried for months or years to get pregnant.  But the reality is, that every one of us take a different path and whatever you feel is complete OK!  So if you feel scared or sad (even if it was planned) it's OK!  I wish someone had said that to me because once I moved past the scary early months I felt shamed and guilty for not feeling excited early on.  (*NOTE: if you're lacking excitement and feeling down or depressed, please talk to your doctor.  Depression is a very real thing that many expectant mothers feel and your doctor can help!)

2) Not all first time moms deliver late.  I had so many people tell that there was no way I would go early, that all first time moms went late, blah blah blah, that I was actually convince that it just wouldn't happen.  So color me surprised when my little bundle of joy came screaming into the world 2 weeks early.  Thankfully we lived very close to the hospital so our lack of car seat installed or very loosely packed hospital bag wasn't a big issue, but in reality it can, and does happen.  The last month of pregnancy really is just a big waiting game, so be prepared.

3) For those working moms - don't put off putting together a thorough maternity plan.  Again - convinced I wouldn't be having my first son early, I actually took home a bag of work and planned on working on my maternity plan 2 weeks before my due date - the same weekend my son was born.  And for a work-a-holic like me (or at least) I just rolled with it and worked through those first couple of days, but it's not ideal and a lot of things slip through the cracks when that happens.  So my advice is plan early!  Communicate often and begin paring down your work at least 6 weeks out.  The 2nd time around, I'm now at 33 weeks and planning out my maternity plan this week.  Over the next two weeks I'll be doing the initial transition discussions and meetings.  Beginning at 36 weeks I start creating detailed task sheets at the end of each day for the following day and week for each of my backups.  Yes - this is a lot of work, but it also ensures that if I go into labor at any point, some one can step in and figure out exactly where I was with something and what else needs to be done.  These are especially helpful if you also include any necessary passwords and file locations!

4) Post delivery sucks!  You'll read that everywhere, and it's true.  The healing process is no joke.  Just prepare for it.  Expect the worst - then if it's not that bad you're just a lucky one.  Oh and take all the underwear the hospital gives you.  You'll ruin them and it's OK!  Also - take the stool softeners they give you religiously and keep taking them when you get home.  The first couple BMs are horrible.  Nightmare worthy in fact.  Having been through this rodeo once before, I can tell you have I no fear about birth but seriously am already dreading that part.

5) Graciously accept any and all help you can get.  People seriously don't care if your house is a mess, if you haven't showered in a couple of days, if you're grumpy - they really just want to help.  So take it!  And when a friend offers to come and rock the baby so that you can enjoy a hour long shower if you want, DO IT!  You'll have plenty of days where a 5 minute shower is a luxury and the entire time you're in there you will swear the baby is crying (trust me - even with a monitor this happens), so take the opportunity!

6) In those early post-partum days, it is extremely easy to get comfortable in your home, but do yourself a favor and get out!  Whether it's sitting on a deck for 5 minutes, taking a walk down the street, or running out to pick up lunch - just get out!  Load the baby up and go.  Why you ask?  I mean it's not like you've got oodles of energy to spare - right?!  But the reality of it is, fresh air does everyone good!  Mentally, physically, emotionally - just changing your environment is a positive thing.  Do it.  Ask your friends to hold you accountable.  Yes it's hard - but you will feel better if you - this I can promise.

7) It's totally OK to wear your maternity clothes after you have the baby.  I don't exactly know why I didn't know this the first time, but I guess I just expected that after delivery everything would magically fall back in place.  News flash - it doesn't!  So unless you've got buckets of money sitting around and can afford to buy a new wardrobe - wear your maternity stuff a little while longer.

8) It's ok to get frustrated with your spouse, partner and even baby in those early days.  Don't beat yourself up if you find your patience running thin or you catch yourself thinking "Can't you just stop crying for a few minutes." Everyone in your house is adjusting to this new person, and this new person is adjusting to their new world.  It's a lot to take in.  So take it easy and relax.

9) Finally, remember that even the "perfect" moms - you know the ones I'm talking about, perfect hair, perfectly dressed, kids are neat and tidy, with the fresh baked basket of muffins, yeah those - they may look perfect, but 9 times out of 10, if you scratch just a little below the surface, everything isn't perfect.  So don't hold yourself to impossibly high standard.  Be proud of what YOU'VE accomplished, even if it's as simple as getting dressed in something other than yoga pants and a t-shirt and hold your head up high.

Is there anything you'd add?

Until next time.

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