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10 things I wish I knew before having a baby
Here’s the thing - people say that nothing can prepare you for having a baby; but the truth of the matter is that even though everyone has different experiences- there are things that are helpful to know, if anything to help you manage expectations. So without further due, these are my top 10:
HAPPY MOM, HAPPY BABY. I cannot emphasize this enough. As women, we put so much pressure on ourselves when it comes to motherhood, and the fact is at the end of the day whatever is best for you is best for your baby. I have seen it time and time again with friends that obsess about perfection, their kids end up being moody/ fussy/ crybabies. Stress is contagious, HERE is research to back it up, so don’t take just my opinion for it.
PICK THE RIGHT OBGYN FOR YOU. Most doctors in the US, are “C-Section Happy”. The system is built purely for efficiency. Make sure you find the right doctor for you, “shop around”, ask questions, and be clear about the type of birth you want to have. It is one of the most important days of your life and you deserve to have the experience you want.
THE BIRTHPLAN, IS EXACTLY THAT A PLAN. Things change, very quickly. Chances are that unless you are giving birth at a birth center, nurses/ doctors will not even read it. I personally printed about 10 copies handed them gracefully at the hospital, and not ONE thing I wrote was taken into consideration.
BREASTFEEDING IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. Its amazing if you can do it, but it’s also ok if you don’t. There are plenty of good formulas in the market these days. The truth is that if we focus on the actual data, there is little information that actually proves breastfeeding is indeed best. (More on this here). Personally, I had an awful time, I tried. I hired a lactose therapist that made me feel inadequate every time she came; while by baby cried of hunger and I cried of pain. Plus, the idea of being on demand 24/7 wasnt for me 1) because I work and 2) because I like knowing what to expect. So after a week of hysterical crying, we turned to pumping + formula; and I swear both my baby and I THRIVED.
FRIENDSHIPS WILL CHANGE. You have changed, your priorities have changed. In the case of your child-free friends their priorities have remained the same, learn to manage your expectations accordingly. Some friendships will fade, but others will become stronger and grow to be family.
NOTHING LASTS FOREVER. You will get your body back, your baby will stop crying, you will sleep again and your memory will come back (eventually/ hopefully?). The only constant is that nothing is constant. Learn to find joy in the little moments, because what they say is true: it really does go by way too fast.
TAKE SOCIAL MEDIA WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. Postpartum is a very vulnerable time, you are adjusting to a new reality, after a very intense physical/ mental event: while having hormones running wild. This makes it very hard to dicern what’s real in a sea of curated content, setting an unrealistic set of expectations for this experience while adding an underlying sense of inadequacy and unwanted stress. Go for a walk, listen to music, meditate, read/listen to a good book and focus on things that bring you peace.
ASK FOR HELP. There is no way you can or should do this alone + It doesn’t make you a better mom. You will be surprised to find how many people around you will be willing and able to help; if you just ask. It is cheesy but true, it does take a village.
DATE NIGHTS ARE IMPORTANT. It’s easy to get caught up in daze of a milk-drunk baby and hormones, it seems almost impossible to want to do anything else BUT be with your baby. That being said it is very important to realize that the relationship is the nucleus of the family, and as sad as it is to read this one day your baby will leave. (I have been freaking out about the day my son was born, but i’m hoping I will learn how to cope with it one day, but I might also become the creepy mom in the Love you Forever, breaking and entering into my son’s home when he sleeps. Stay tuned). Anyways back to my point, your baby will leave and you will be stuck with your partner, so you can only hope you still like them at that point. This won’t happen unless you make sure to make time to keep the relationship alive. So as hard as it is, leave your baby, go on dates, have sex, try to have alone time, and make your partner feel special (even when all you want to do is cuddle your baby).
DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT - I recently interviewed my dear friend Catherine, and came upon this VERY important nugget of wisdom. As a virgo, its been very challenging to learn to let go of perfection, but its been more challenging to see a TO DO list that never ends. So pick your battles, cross some tasks and move on.
Ps: Im ESL so please excuse any grammar errors.