There are many things you don’t know going into being a parent. Some things no one tells you and some things you just weren’t listening to when they did. Mostly because you were likely in a pretty pink pregnancy bubble filled with hopes and dreams. I want to share with you a list of things I thought I knew or had made decisions about before becoming a parent.
1. I Would Be Able to Control My Emotions:
You have no idea when and where your emotions will get the best of you. Especially in the first few weeks after birth. I personally came home from the hospital very excited, and then quickly realized my new reality was quite difficult. Our first night at home, I broke down and told my husband that I had made a mistake and I didn’t think I could do it. And by “it” I mean raise a human. Clearly, I was wrong because, at least for now, I am still the proud owner of a one-and-a-half-year-old.
I know that the early days of parenting are a whirlwind of emotions and every woman (and man) experiences them differently. Some can keep them inside, some experience them at different times, and others feel everything all the time. If you are going through a difficult time, please always reach out to friends and family. I know it can be hard to admit it but some rest and someone to talk to can be quite helpful. I have had challenging times more recently that I will share in a future post. Just remember it doesn’t only happen at the beginning of your journey as a mom, it can sneak up at any time.
2. I Would Breastfeed Successfully- as Long as I Stayed Committed
I am thankful for having had a great supply, even though Emelia was a month early. While we were in the hospital and she was in the NICU, I committed to a rigid pumping schedule and it helped keep my supply up while I couldn’t breastfeed her. I ended up going home with a baby that was still not latching and we were finger feeding. It was very stressful, until I went for follow up with a lactation consultant and she suggested a nipple shield “AHHHHHHHHH” (que angels singing). This woman was my saviour and I was now then able to breastfeed, and I continued to until she was almost 10 months old.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, getting nutrition into a baby can be stressful and all consuming. Also, never judge a mom on how they choose to feed their baby. They are doing what they think is best or dealing with different circumstances and likely do not require any opinions.
3. I Would Not Co-Sleep at All
I am a heavy sleeper and have always rolled around a lot, so I always said that I would not fall asleep with my tiny little baby in bed with us. Turns out this was an impossible goal for me. The first few weeks you may do this just to get an extra 5 minutes of sleep, that’s right I said 5 minutes because you need every second you can get. Once she was a little older, I realized she could feed in the middle of the night while I slept #winning!! I was killing two birds with one stone and it was the best solution to my lack of sleep problem. Emelia slept in a crib in her own room starting around 6 weeks old and we brought her to our bed when necessary.
Whatever your sleeping arrangements are with your little ones, make sure you are getting what you need. Including sleep, snuggles and time without a baby attached to you.
4. I Would Keep My Body Under Wraps
I was naked a lot more than I thought I would be. My new after baby body was not my favourite sight, but with the constant feeds and skin to skin it just seemed easier. I wandered around the house basically in a diaper holding Emelia in one hand and any food I could eat quickly in the other. Don’t be ashamed of what you see in the mirror, you brought life into the world! I have not been comfortable in my after-baby-body at all. After 9 months of pregnancy and over a year and a half of parenting I am only just now working on myself and seeing myself as sexy woman again.
Even though I have not been completely comfortable I have not let this get in the way of my relationship with my husband. Every lump, bump, jiggle and unshaved leg is a part of your new mom life, embrace it! If you don’t have any of the above, embrace it!
5. I Would Want Visitors
I thought I would want help and to have friends and family around as much as possible… I didn’t. I know everyone is different on this one, but I was comfortable naked and covered in breastmilk. I would imagine my friends and family are happy they didn’t have to see this side of me. I also really enjoyed getting to be alone with this little human I had brought into this world. After being in the NICU I wanted as much time as possible to bond with her. Don’t worry mom and mom-in-law I will most certainly need your help on the next one, but I will be much more comfortable adjusting to a new baby with people around. After having spent so much time in the hospital with doctors and nurses around, I just wanted to be alone.
Having lots of company or no company is a very personal choice and only you know what you and your baby need. I know several women who had many visitors or even family “live-in” temporarily, but I ended up embracing the solidarity far more than I expected. I think this is, in part, because of point six below.
6. I Would Stay at Home In The Beginning
Living in Canada I am thankful to have had my baby in the summer months, because I was able to get out and about very early on. Even the first week or two home I made sure to get out and do errands as much as possible. I would even split them up into one per day just so I had something to do each day. This made me feel like I had accomplished something each day. I had put clothes on, interacted with adults and we both got some fresh air.
I believe this made me much more comfortable with breastfeeding on the go and have a more “go with the flow” parenting style. My advice is to find something small each day that makes you feel like a normal human as opposed to a cow, spit up target or the cleaner of poop.
7. I Wouldn’t Need Breaks
I always thought I would have a difficult time letting anyone watch my brand-new baby creation. I came to realize after a few weeks of spending time alone with my baby, I needed to remember who I was before baby. My husband and I made a choice early on to let our baby stay overnight with grandparents, she was 3 months old when she had her first sleep over. The first two hours away from her were difficult for me, but I got over it quickly as we were enjoying a beautiful wedding. Things went smoothly which made us comfortable with grandparents having sleepovers. The only challenge was having to pump the whole time I was away, which seemed like a small price to pay. We proceeded to make grandparent sleep overs a consistent thing.
Not only has it been good for us to have time alone, but we have yet to have any issues dropping her off anywhere. She has been comfortable sleeping in different houses and different beds and being put to bed by different people. Of course, we miss her when she is gone but I know that I come back to her refreshed and feeling like a better parent every time. I know parents that choose not to do overnights until their child it much older
In summary, I share all of this with you because one of the things above may help you in your own journey. You may look at it and want to do the total opposite, and that’s ok! The best part about parenting is that YOU get to choose what works best for you and your family. These are the choices that have worked best for our family thus far. Who knows I may do things differently with the next baby, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.
Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated, please comment, like and share.
Until next time!