To All You Curious Soon-To-Be Moms:
I see you, surfing the internet with days left in your pregnancy. Or, is it 2 am and you are up for the 5th time with a new born baby strapped to your boobs and nothing to do but Google. Welcome! I wanted to say, I’ve been in your shoes and I wanted to fill you in a couple of details those baby/mommy books so rudely forgot to mention.
I’ve given this mommy thing a try for a little over a year now. And it’s true what they say, babies really do change your life. No matter how tiresome and cranky you get, having a little person is just awesome sauce! But while it is awesome, it’s also the most trying job I’ve ever had. Raising a person is hard, but redefining myself was the hardest! That’s really what becoming a mom is all about. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to feed a baby or change a diaper, but surviving the waters of mommyhood is a total nightmare. So here are some pointers, to get you through those first 100 or so days.
- Dr Google is Not Your Friend: …step away from the iPhone ladies! What I do recommend is to do as much research as possible while you have time pre baby. It is well worth it to be educated on matters such as those possibilities of problems during delivery or how to deal with jaundice in a 3 day old. I was the research queen (it’s just in my nature) and felt that I had a leg up on things going in. I didn’t totally freak when delivery was a little scary and when I had problems breastfeeding, I had plenty of sites and phone numbers already book marked. It’s not easy at 2am with a screaming new born who hasn’t eaten to stop and think about these things. And, no matter what, do not search out the almighty Doctor Google.
- Throw that Birth Plan out the Window!: Better yet, burn that sucker. I feel like the person who invented a birth plan was a 50 year old male idiot…yes, I said the “I” word, I’m still recovering from lack of sleep and these words spew from my mouth at times. Like above, it is an excellent idea to be educated on what you do and don’t want…but writing out exactly how you plan for your delivery to go is a perfect way to guarantee that that is not how it will go. It’s also a guarantee that you will walk away feeling disappointed with your birth experience. And honey, there is going to be enough on your plate to have to deal with that too. The one and only thing that matters during birth is the moment that new squish is placed in your arms…what method of transportation he took to get there is not important.
- Birth is Gross(period): Women say all the time that birth is the most beautiful experience, no its not. It’s gross, it stinks. You will poop or pee on yourself, or both. You will be exposed in ways you never thought possible, and you will care less in that moment. And the days to follow are like a carnage of Vikings battling it out in your underpants. Be Prepared! Make those Pad-Sicles you found on Pinterest, overstock on the granny-size Depends, have that bottle of pain relievers ready to go.
- Breastfeeding is Dang Hard: I don’t care if you’ve done it a million times or if this is your first rodeo. Getting started out on breastfeeding is a nightmare. And, it doesn’t come as easy for everyone. All those baby books that say “breast is best” are the same quacks that say “back to sleep” and you will quickly learn that that isn’t always how baby is going to do things. From this point on in your life, baby gets what baby wants. The worst part of this whole experience for me was the day I had to give up breastfeeding for the sake of my child. I fell into the delusion that breastfeeding was the only way to go, and that isn’t always fact. Formula, while so many sit and condemn it, is perfectly fine in its own way. And you aren’t letting anyone down by going a different route. Just remember that as long as your baby is being fed, that’s the only thing that matters.
- You Will Hate Your Husband: I think the biggest shock out of the whole experience was the friction and stress between myself and my husband. You go into this expecting the baby stresses, but people fail to mention that your husband is also making a transition to Dad and he is just as frightened and stressed as you are. That was possibly the hardest part, finding ourselves as a couple again. It took the longest and brought the most tears. But eventually, we settled down into the roll of Mom and Dad and learned to still be Husband and Wife.
- Depression is Real: During this point in your life, your hormones are as out of sync with your body as they ever will be. It is a total roller coaster ride. And with all this Mommy-Judging and pressure put on us to be the perfect caregiver, it’s no wonder that so many women get post-partum depression or post-partum anxiety (which was my case.) Depression comes in many shapes and colors, its not just a disconnect from baby. I was as connected to my LO as anyone could be. I loved her more than life…but I also feared for her life in a very unhealthy manner. Ways that had me thinking “this isn’t normal,” that’s when you need to stop and seek help.
- It Takes A Village: Raising a baby is no easy task. You will discover questions you never thought you would ask, like “is this color poo normal?” Don’t do it alone. Find a mommy group, whether in real life or online. They will be your biggest supporters and your most honest critics. An outlet to release all that crazy in life with women in your shoes. Shout out to J15!They are my sisters, my friends, the sole reason I didn’t go crazy during that first year wondering if my little one had Purple Spotted African Wild Cougar Fever (totally made that up by the way.)
To sum up this letter to you, becoming a mommy is hard, it’s selfless and it’s selfish all at the same time. It’s the biggest roller coaster ride you will ever go on. And you will look back and love every minute and laugh at who you have become.
And, when that baby gives you that first big gummy smile, your world will melt away into total bliss. And honey, there is no drug in the world that can give you that kind of euphoria.