Sometimes I sit and wish for a do-over. I don’t regret anything but I wish I could relive some moments from when my daughter was a newborn. I wish that I could approach new motherhood with the insight and knowledge that I have now! How perfect would that be? Unfortunately I can’t, but if it were somehow possible, here’s what I would tell myself.
You will not drop the baby on her head
As a new mom, you’re going to have some anxiety when it comes to caring for your baby. For some it’s a little and for others like me, there’s a lot. I worried about everything including the possibility of being a klutz and dropping my baby. I mean, I had no experience with kids whatsoever, so the thought of her somehow catapulting out of my arms seemed highly plausible, along with a ton of other irrational fears. You’re going to be fine, and so will your baby.
Accept help and feel guiltless about it
Another thing I worried endlessly about was that I would some how be less of a mom if I handed my baby off for a moment so that I could practice a little self care. I think sometimes as moms we get caught up in trying to do all the things and be essentially perfect. But your baby wouldn’t think any less of you if you took time for yourself, and you would actually be a better mom for it.
Your butt hole will explode and heal eventually (I promise)
So i’ll be straight with you, nobody warned me about the butt changes that occur during pregnancy AND childbirth. First of all, stool softeners and patience will be your best friend after labor. Imagine my shock when taking my first post-labor shower, to feel that my butthole was essentially turned inside out after pushing. To make matters worst, it was hard to go the bathroom for a while after the fact because of the epidural medication. It was literal hell! I told my friend about my dilemma and she nonchalantly told me that it happens but “it’ll be back to normal soon, it’s part of the process”. Gotcha! but a little heads up would’ve been nice.
Pack your cape away for a little while
Moms are literal superheroes but listen mama, I know the dishes need to be washed, there’s a pile of laundry, you didn’t shower and your hair is dirty. But take it from me when I say. Time flies! Your baby won’t ever be this little again and one day, will not need you this much. It might be new and a bit difficult to take a step back but do yourself a favor and try. Live in the moment and do the best you can. In 20 years what will you remember more? The laundry you got done or the days spent loving on your baby?
Talk to your husband about your feelings and expectations
I have a tendency sometimes to think that my husband could literally read my mind. And I sometimes have (and still do), expect him to know what I want and how I am feeling without even saying a word. Definitely don’t do this. Be clear about your expectations and communicate. You really don’t need the added stress of household friction on top of having a newborn.
You’re going to be less judgmental of other moms
Before I had my daughter, I swore up and down that I would NOT bed share, and I was super convinced that stay at home moms had it easy, lounging around and having me time while their kids napped. Boy was I delusional! For starters, I sat upright on my sofa for weeks because my daughter refused to sleep out of my arms. One day in a fit of desperation I laid her next to me in bed and cuddled her and it was the first proper sleep I got since she was born. To this day, she still refuses to sleep without me at night. As for my notion about lounging stay at home mothers? That went out the window real quick, sometimes I struggle to even make it to the shower if my husband isn’t home. Being a mom is hard work, whether you work or stay at home.
Follow your instincts
When you have your baby, you’re going to get tons of advice from well-meaning people. But every baby is different and what worked 10 years ago isn’t necessarily best practice now. The moral of the story is, you’re the mom and you know your kid. Follow your instincts and take advice from non-professionals with a grain of salt. You got this!
There will be tears, fears, doubts and missteps but that’s OK
You will cry (boy will you cry), you will be scared, you might think you’re doing things wrong and you will make a few blunders. But guess what? It’s part of the process, and your baby will forgive you.
In the beginning your nipples will definitely suffer. As long as your milk is flowing and you decide to proceed, suck it up, slap some nipple balm on those bad boys and let them get to work. In a few weeks they’ll get used to gummy bites, tugs, pulls and everything in between.
If you’re worried about being a good mom, you’ve won half the battle
At some point during your motherhood journey, you will worry about your mothering skills. I questioned myself a lot! At every step of the way I was concerned about doing everything right! I think that especially came from information overload, Facebook mommy groups, professional Instagram mommies with their perfect shots and expert opinions on what should happen and how things should be done. Seriously though, don’t get too caught up in that stuff. Every kid is different, every family is different and everyone’s circumstances are different. The fact remains that all babies aren’t born to loving, caring mothers, and while sad, I hope you realize that if you do find yourself caring enough to be worried, you already are a good mom. As long as your child is happy, screw perfection.