What I wish I knew before having a baby // the best advice I never got

Every parent wants to be prepared before having a baby. But how do you get prepared to have a baby? It’s funny to me because you’d think with all the unsolicited advice we get while pregnant *eye roll* we would have figured it out by now, but the truth is that there is no way to truly prepare for a baby. If you’re like me and like to know everything about whatever subject consumes your thoughts, you may research like crazy to learn as much as you can. Or you could be like me again and buy tons of baby stuff after your ridiculous amounts of research to try to have the best stuff that will make parenting as easy as possible. But let me tell you: it is not the answer. I am going to share with you my wealth of parental mama genius that I have discovered in my 3.5 months of motherhood. Its going to blow your mind, ready?

You will figure it out.

Really? Thats it? Yes thats it. While it may not seem so groundbreaking NO ONE told me this. How will I know what my baby wants? You’ll figure it out. How will I know if he needs a diaper change? You will know. HOW THOUGH? You just will! One day, some one will be holding your baby and he/ she will cry, and you’ll say “I’ll take him, he needs to eat.” Then you’ll think Hey! I figured it out. Just like I said you would 🙂

It doesn’t matter which bathtub you buy, which diaper bag you get, how many different swaddles you have, nothing matters more than your own instincts. Be confident in the fact that you alone grew this tiny human and it is basically an extension of yourself. You will get to know every part of your human and their personality. And all the advice you’ve gotten over your 9 month incubation period? Most of it won’t matter. Have you ever considered that literally no one has raised your child, and you haven’t even done it yourself, so therefore no one knows whats best for them? There will be things that work for your baby that no one you know has needed to use for their own baby. There will be quirks they have that no one else has. Keep this in mind. In the end, no one knows what is best for your baby but you!

Now, onto what I wish I’d known before having a baby:

  • There are no breaks. Being a parent is constant work. Especially for the first 6 or so weeks. Just to give you an idea, we’d wake up in the morning, I’d feed Odin, change his diaper, put clothes on him, make breakfast while wearing him in a wrap, then its time to feed him AGAIN. This repeats constantly, 24 hours a day for about 2 months. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but there really truly isn’t a moment where I’m not on duty. Carlos and I agree that this is the one thing we didn’t really consider before Odin was born and there is no way to really get it until you’re in the situation.
  • He didn’t need as many clothes as I thought he. Odin really wore only plain white onesies and socks while swaddled for the first 2 weeks. After that we put him in some little rompers we had, but he probably wore the same few outfits over and over.
  • Breastfeeding IS hard. I had the typical thought of “Oh you know, it’ll be so easy and so natural, we’ll both know what to do, it’ll be great.” WRONG. I’m going to outline everything I went through in another post. But don’t let this scare you, it’s not so bad that you shouldn’t do it and it is incredibly beautiful. As long as you approach it with the mindset that you will breastfeed only, you can do it but it may be a challenge.
  • Recovery isn’t as bad as I expected! America’s TRUE favorite pastime is scaring pregnant women so of course I’d heard horror stories about recovering after a vaginal birth. I’ll probably do a separate post on this in another post but just know it is unpleasant but really not as bad as they tell you!
  • I had no idea how much pressure I would put on myself to lose the weight I’d gained during pregnancy. I really didn’t gain much excess weight but I was anxious to have a flat belly just weeks after delivering. It’s important for us mamas to show some grace to ourselves, but it’s certainly easier said than done.
  • I am such a mama bear! Carlos can attest to this. I’m always over his shoulder making sure he puts his diaper on correctly or puts him in the specific outfit I wanted, it’s so annoying! I feel bad for him. He seriously is the best daddy and I’m so annoying!
  • I didn’t expect that I would almost never want to be away from him. I think we both have a little separation anxiety because we’re so close. Better than having no bond at all I guess!
  • The anxiety.  Holy cow, then anxiety is SO real. I literally wake up out of a dead sleep to check if he is breathing. There is so much crazy information out there that no matter what you do you “can kill your child”. Don’t vaccinate or your child will be autistic. Vaccinate or your child will die of measles. Don’t use a crib or your baby will die in its sleep. Don’t bedshare because you’ll suffocate them in their sleep. OMG. It’s seriously too much for me some times so I literally have to put my hands up and give my fears to God. It’s really too much to handle.
  • Lastly, I wish I truly knew how much his being born would change everything, in the best possible way. My perspective, my patience, my faith, my anxieties, my relationships; everything.

It’s so wonderful/ scary/ easy/ impossible/ incredible being a mama. If you’re expecting, I share in your joy and excitement and send you lots of love from one mama to another. No matter what, you will  figure it out.

More later,

Kailey

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