Look, this is just my honest advice from one mother to another. No frills, no raised eyebrows or pointed fingers, no professional expertise.
Take it or leave it.
It’s the kind of advice I never got myself. And the kind I needed the most.
I know what you’re thinking. “OMG, just another know-it-all, will they ever give up???”
If you don’t want to hear it, no hard feelings. This would be a good time to leave and I hope to see you again soon!
If you chose to stay – first things first…
Do you have a new baby or are you expecting one? (Or more?) Congratulations!!!
May you little bundle(s) of joy bring you a lifetime of laughter and happiness! Cherish those days! Babies really DO grow up too fast. There IS such a thing as truthful clichés…
Details don’t matter. Truth be told, if I try really hard, all I remember from the first few months is milk stains, sore boobs, diapers, hunger pains, and a lot of sweat. But Mother Nature is a gift giver, and regardless of how tough those first few months may be, that one bubble your subconsciousness will carry on for the rest of your life will be a series of sparkling shiny droplets of goodness fused together. Magic!
YOUR BABY may be easy going, extremely demanding, or fall somewhere in between. All bets are off and all is fair game.
YOU may love motherhood instantly, or you may cry and wish you were never born yourself. These feelings may fluctuate, and you may feel both at the same time. Great, right? The wild hormonal roller coaster ride might hold you in a tight grasp, blindfolded, scared and unable to get off. That perfectly adorable new little love bug might make you feel completely clueless, overwhelmed, and overjoyed.
The new understanding of LOVE might make you feel like you’re floating in another dimension. (Oh wait, that might be the haze of some serious sleep deprivation. Nevermind.)
The first few weeks can be tough…
Especially for first-time parents. But it’s worth it. All of it!
For starters, your baby is incredibly cute. (Your baby might not actually be that cute in the eyes of others, but what YOUR eyes see and YOUR ears hear is ALL that matters.)
You might feel like you’re stuck in the TIME VORTEX in between feeding, diaper changes, crying (yours AND the baby’s), and trying to put the baby down because you really can’t do everything one-handed no matter how hard you try. And I know you will have tried, Mama.
You may have no clue what time of day it is, what day it really is, and why time suddenly seems to go by so fast or so slow.
Exhausted beyond anything you’d wish on your worst enemy, you easily lose your bearings. If you do dare to venture out of the house with all 35 bags of new-baby luggage and postpartum anxiety, don’t be surprised to find yourself circling the same part of town trying to figure out where it is you’re going. (Wait, scratch that. I still do that 7 years later.)
When you bring your newborn home, your life may suddenly become a blur.
Now back to why I wrote this post…
I’m aware of the fact that the whole world is full of unsolicited advice at the sight of the slightest baby bump.
Been there, done that.
Servings of unwanted counsel can get pretty annoying rather quickly.
But that’s the thing.
No one ever told me what I REALLY needed to hear.
I’ve never had anyone walk up to me, rub my overflowing belly without asking, look me in the eyes and pass on the ancient-old motherly wisdom and the key to survival.
You may already know that the advice given to us by our pediatrician didn’t work for us. And despite of getting interesting and crappy tips from complete strangers, I wish that somewhere along the way I had also heard something like this…
Honest Advice From A Mother To Another
- Every parent seems to have some sort of an idea: “You’re supposed to do THIS… You can count on THAT. ALWAYS do this… Don’t EVER do that… This is THE BEST…” They mean well. But… Forget that. Because:
- Every child and every parent is different.
- Do whatever works for your family.
- Don’t expect perfection. It’s OK to make mistakes. There will be plenty. Forgive yourself and move on.
- A time may come when you feel like throwing your baby out the window. It’s OK. As long as you don’t actually throw your baby out the window.
- Learn what to really expect during pregnancy, delivery, and the post partum period. The good and the bad. Be familiar with your options.
- Enjoy your baby, and don’t sweat the small stuff. If it’s not a life-threatening issue, it IS small stuff.
- Tune into your baby.
- Trust yourself.
- Let go of expectations and picture-perfect baby households from the magazines with freshly baked cookies on the sterile coffee table. It’s only as real as you want it to be.
- Journal! Write down the most memorable moments from this life-changing stage of your life. Observations, milestones, happy or sad tears, jot it all down. When you read this later on in your life, you will get to relive those precious moments you might have otherwise forgotten.
What I’m trying to say is:
*** Read your baby, not baby books. ***
Rely on your instinct. It’s real. It’s powerful. And it’s always right and always there. Just acknowledge it.
But really… Reading is enriching, and I highly recommend it. However, choose your reading material wisely.
*** Do NOT compare yourself to other moms. ***
They’re not better than you. Don’t be buying for one second that the mom with perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect attitude, perfectly dressed child (and obviously a perfectly clean home) sitting next to you on a park bench is always this ZEN. And if she happens to be and you know her, ask her to babysit and go take a nap.
*** Educate yourself. Research. Ask questions. Speak up. Don’t be afraid. ***
If you don’t want some of the routine procedures done to YOU during your hospital stay (or pregnancy), voice your concerns. Ask questions. Know the facts, know your rights. Be aware of alternative routes (if available). Be prepared to fight if necessary and stand your ground.
If you don’t want certain procedures done to your BABY, make sure the hospital staff knows. Don’t leave your baby unattended with anyone, even in your hospital room. Mistakes happen. Keep your baby with you at all times if there are no circumstances that would require for the baby to stay in the newborn intensive care unit. Your baby will much prefer to stay with you anyway. If it happens that you can’t be with your baby at all times, or at all, ask someone for help. If that’s not possible, don’t sweat it and hope for the best. Be as positive as you can be. You have a whole life to worry about things…
*** Life is precious. Your baby is special. ***
No professional loves your baby as much as you do.
*** Trust yourself and do what feels right to you even if it means you’ll hear some criticism. ***
It’s OK to have your own opinion or to do things differently.
*** You can’t spoil a baby. ***
You’ll never look back and wish you held your baby less.
*** If it ever gets tough, just breathe. It WILL get better. I promise. ***
There WILL actually be a day when you’ll miss even those craziest days. You’ll be watching a sunset and sipping a glass of Malbec, showered, hair done, nursing bra gone, your kids playing and old enough to go to the bathroom by themselves. It WILL happen. (I know. I’m still working on the hair.)
*** The days are long, but the years are short. ***
It will feel like yesterday that your baby was teething and is now losing those baby teeth and growing taller right in front of your eyes. Enjoy the memories that you’re making…
*** Take it easy. ***
Don’t be too hard on yourself. ♥
*** Parenting is a tough job. ***
But you’re AMAZING and you CAN do this! 🙂
For moms-to-be that want to learn more about their bodies (and the process of child birthing and what follows), I highly recommend reading the following books:
- The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth; Henci Goer; and
- Birthing From Within; Pam England, Rob Horowitz.
Please note that these links are Amazon affiliate links.
So there you have it. My honest advice from a mother to another…
♥ ♥ ♥ GOOD LUCK! ♥ ♥ ♥