Last year on this very day, I was told I would be having my baby any second. I was 3cm dilated and 10 days from my delivery date. I was having braxton hicks contractions on the reg, and felt like I was going into labor every single night. My client at work had requested that I start to work from home at this point and they questioned me with horror in their eyes, “WHY are you still coming to the office!” I took their advice and proceeded to work from home until Calvin was born 18 days later (he decided he was comfy and that he would come 8 days late.)
BUT this is not a birth story, or my story of labor & delivery.
This is a story for soon-to-be mamas who have no idea what to expect or how they will feel as soon as that baby comes. I didn’t have many friends who were Moms when I had Calvin. In fact I am one of the first in my group of friends to have a baby. I didn’t study Motherhood before he came or read “what to expect when…” In fact, I guess you could say I went in blind and was wingin’ it as I went.
Honestly, I wish I had some more heartfelt, really really’s given to me before motherhood. I wish no one gave horrible advice like, “Enjoy it! because you’ll never sleep again!”FYI – that’s not necessarily true and it’s certainly not helpful advice. I wish I had some heart to heart’s with mamas I knew before hand to say this is what’s really awesome, and this is what’s really going to suck. I avoided those intimate conversations but secretly wish someone would’ve written me a true & honest letter on what to expect. Trying to handle anything on your own or in your own mind is recipe for a new mom to go certifiably insane.
SO – here it is…..
Get ready for a wild ride. The next year will
likely be the most rewarding, yet most challenging year of your life to date. I bet you tend to see all the positives of motherhood on your social media feeds – the milestones, the smiles, the cuddles, because overall, these moments WIN. They are the reason we decide to have a baby in the first place and they are the reason you can’t wait to have your bundle of joy outside of your belly. You probably don’t see the challenges, the frustrations, the times of anxiety you will feel a first time mom but you should know that they are ALL going through the same highs, lows & emotions – it’s just that few will actually say it out loud.
Get ready to have an exhausting, yet beautiful experience in the hospital. You will spend the entire first night up with baby – not because they aren’t sleeping, but because you feel that you should be watching & waiting at every beck & call. You’ve never had a human rely on you for their existence. You will be so exhausted, thankful for the help, yet excited to get released and be in the comfort of your own home.
Get ready to experience the ups & downs of your breastfeeding journey as you learn what works together. If you can’t/aren’t breastfeeding, get ready for looks from other Moms, but know you are doing what is best for you and your baby, and ensure you are both HEALTHY.
Get ready to look at your body and wonder how all the hard work you had put into being fit before baby is no longer reflected in the image you see in the mirror. But know that you will look at that same body and have a greater appreciation for yourself, the effort you put into growing that baby, and for the first time in your life you will realize that having a perfectly flat stomach is no longer what brings you your worth.
Get ready to be really annoyed with your partner for the simple fact that they aren’t MOM… you are, and you are baby’s holy grail. This places a target on your back (or boob) to be caregiver #1 for all of eternity. Your relationship is on the back burner -but through reflection, effort, and awareness you will realize you have no idea what you would do without this human’s support, that he is the best Dad in the world & he is there to save you from yourself time and time again.
Get ready to have VERY limited time for yourself and know that it’s OKAY if you miss your life & freedom pre-baby. You will probably hear people say all the time, “I don’t know what we did before baby.” Don’t feel guilty if a photo sequence of you sleeping in, having time to focus on your own dreams & goals and in general do whatever the F you wanted, whenever the F you wanted, flashes before your eyes. Know that you are still YOU and making time for that is not only important, but necessary.
Get ready to not necessarily never sleep again, but to never sleep when YOU want to again. Your sleep schedule is now baby’s and eventually baby WILL sleep through the night. Can’t promise it will be consistently, but you will value that shut-eye as if it were gold and wake up with a human alarm clock. Know that you won’t think twice about getting up when you hear baby cry, you will just do it, because it is what you are called to do in this season of your life.
Get ready to face the toughest Monday of your life as you take baby to daycare and head to the office solo. You will cry, and you will feel guilty. Know that letting yourself feel these things, and then pulling yourself together and getting back into a routine will help. If it doesn’t get better, take it upon yourself to change your life circumstances before they change you.
Get ready to feel anxious, different, not like yourself – but know that it’s okay because you ARE different. You are now a Mom, the most selfless job title you will ever hold. This is normal and if you can find other mama’s to relate with, it will help.
Get ready to truly understand the saying, “time flies,” & make an effort to BE PRESENT in this whirlwind of growth, smiles, snuggles, and milestones. Even the toughest of nights are important. Your baby will never be as little as they are in that present moment, so make all of them count.
Lastly, good luck, you got this, and I’ll see you on the other side as you enter a new phase of your already amazing life.
A 1 year Post-Partum Mama