So…here are the top 5 things I wish I knew as a first time mom:
1. Your body will still hurt after the baby is out.
I thought I would push him out and everything would feel great again. The pain would be over. This just wasn’t the case. My birth wasn’t great and tearing (sorry if you have a weak stomach) is a real part of having your first baby. This doesn’t always happen, but I have found it’s pretty common.
After the epidural wore off, I was in a lot of pain. Everything was super sore. It felt like I pushed a baby out of my body…which I did. I don’t know why I thought I could bypass pain from that. It was painful to even walk to the bathroom.
The cramping started right after I gave birth. Then the nurses started coming in every hour to push down on my stomach (which makes you want to scream) to make sure the uterus would start contracting right away after birth.
After I was home, nursing also started the contractions again. While this is normal, it wasn’t expected. I found myself doing lamaze just to get through those first weeks.
Your body truly needs to heal over the next week or so, and some mom’s feel it more than others. However, my body was still in lots of discomfort and pain after birthing my child and returning to the comfort of my home.
This is not to scare you. It all passes quickly, but I still wish I knew what to expect physically.
Your body just literally performed a miracle, one that took 9 months to create. A women’s body is so amazing, but there is some aftermath that comes with that! It will pass, and your body will go back to normal. Don’t worry!
2. Breastfeeding is complicated.
I thought that breastfeeding was super simple. As someone who had difficulties because my baby didn’t “know what to do” immediately, it was amazing to learn all the “science” behind it. A lot of things have to go perfectly for nursing to not cause pain. Many people have babies who latch on immediately and only have mild soreness. That could be you. It just wasn’t me.
It felt like my precious baby was biting me (with no teeth), but I was determined to nurse him. I went to a lactation consultant, and we got on the right path.
After that, it was seriously one of the most beautiful and rewarding things I will probably ever do in my lifetime. Yes, there were times that it felt constraining, but it was truly amazing to see my baby survive, thrive and grow from something my body provided.
If it is something you really want to do, don’t give up! Seek out professionals & enjoy everything the experience has to offer. If you don’t think it is right for you, don’t do it. Move on without guilt. You are still a great mother and have everything your little one needs to thrive!
3. You will sleep again.
I used to feel like I would be tired forever. I read every sleep training book under the sun, but my kid was not a fan of sleeping. Most babies aren’t. That is natural. However, I really didn’t have any perspective. It felt so draining initially. It would of been really encouraging to be reminded of how “short” the stage of not sleeping would last.
It truly goes by in a blink. I don’t miss being tired, but there are super sweet moments we had in the middle of the night I do miss. Be encouraged, once they sleep… they sleep the rest of their lives. The time will fly by, just hang in there!
4. Enjoy the 2 on 1 ratio.
Man…my husband and I had no idea our first child was actually smooth sailing compared to juggling multiple children. We are now at the point of 3 of them vs. 2 of us. We are outnumbered. The days of just having one were amazing! I wish I appreciated this time when we had only one child.
There were 2 of us to take care of 1 baby. We switched off, and gave the other one breaks constantly. Going places was easier. Everything was a little bit simpler. Yes, it was still an adjustment, but enjoying the stage of our small little family is something I wish I had done more.
If your on your first child, Enjoy it. Enjoy the ratio. Enjoy focusing on one child, together. Whether you choose to have more children or not, enjoy the stage. It will pass quickly.
5. They aren’t going to make you go broke.
Oh the anxiety of money and having babies. The random polls that tell you to have a million dollars in your savings account before reproducing. It just isn’t necessary. We did not have much to our names when we had our first son, and we were more than fine.
I worried so much about having enough, but the truth is that all you need is food, diapers, a place to sleep and some clothes. Seriously…The “baby product industry” profits convincing us we need a list of 200 things for our registry’s just to “get started.”
We took it one day at a time and never needed a thing. We trusted God to provide our needs, and He exceeded them. We bought him clothes when he needed them (not an insanely expensive designer wardrobe, he would grow out of before he could wear all of the items). We bought diapers when we needed them. I found deals, and couponed or brought store brands. They were fine. We bought a basic crib, and changed him on a blanket (changing tables aren’t a neccesity, even though we did get one for our last child).
The point is a lot of items are luxuries. There are some really cool gadgets out there, but they aren’t needed. Your baby just needs clothing, food, a place to sleep, and tons of love. All things you can provide daily without a major savings account or tons of money in the bank. Don’t let money stress you out or keep you from having a child. It is totally doable even on the smallest income!
6. The life lessons are priceless.
There are many things I have learned in this life from having children. I’ve learned so much about myself. About my marriage. About my faith. About how I want to live this life.
I can say, without a doubt…if I did not have children, I would be a very different person. I am so grateful for these experiences, as a parent, I wouldn’t trade for the world. I have grown in so many ways, and I look at the world differently. I’ve learned to care more, to love more, to be less selfish to be more considerate, and the list goes on and on.
If you’re a new mom, embrace the changes, embrace the journey. Yes, it can be hard at times, but everything beautiful in my life has come from the trials and hard times. This will be the most amazing journey for you, just sit back and enjoy the ride! It is such a blessing to become a mother!
I hope my honesty on these subjects helps you know what to expect, and helps the journey go a little smoother for you. Even in the pain, and the sleepless nights; this will be the greatest, most fulfilling journey of your life! Enjoy it mamas! We were made for this!
For more on parenting, check out “My biggest leap of faith: Becoming a stay at home mom.”