When you are pregnant, everyone begins giving you advice.
Most of it will be unsolicited, and unfortunately, some of it will not be helpful. I realize that as a first time mom to a new baby, the advice is going to continue. Forever. However, I wish some of the helpful advice would have been relayed differently.
I was told, “Sleep now because you won’t get to later”, “Sleep when the baby sleeps”, and “If you want him to sleep, (insert random piece of advice here)”.
I wish I’d been told, “Sleep will be challenging for all of you, so do your best.”
Newborns sleep unpredictably. Our little guy’s sleep pattern has shifted multiple times in eight weeks. I’ve learned to do my best, and survive on less sleep. Sleeping when the baby sleeps just doesn’t work for me. I haven’t napped in 15 years, and since I have to go back to work, I can’t afford to train my body to do that. This tiny human is his own person, so we have tried things that we think might work for him (white noise, different locations, different pajamas, etc.) and rolled with it. When he does sleep well, I don’t because I wake up in the middle of the night and have to see if he is still breathing. I wish someone had warned me about that!
I was told, “You won’t want to go back to work after the baby comes”.
I wish I’d been told, “Maternity leave can be lonely.”
Since I work full time outside the home, I am used to constant adult interaction. In week eight of maternity leave, I’m looking forward to going back to work because I miss people. If I had to do this over again, I would have reached out to friends early on and made plans. I learned that your friends want to see you, but they don’t want to bother you or intrude, so you have to take the initiative and invite them.
I was told, “You will never eat a hot meal again”.
I wish I’d been told, “Have food ready that is quick to heat and doesn’t drip”.
I am the textbook definition of a “hangry” person. Therefore, for everyone’s safety, I have refused to skip meals and snacks, and I planned for this while pregnant. What I didn’t realize is that I would find myself eating while breastfeeding. Had I known, I would have planned differently so I wouldn’t worry about spilling things (such as hot chili) on my newborn.
I was told, “You won’t fit in your pre-pregnancy clothes”.
This was true and helpful, but I wish they had added:
“You can’t breastfeed in most dresses in public”.
The bulk of my pregnancy wardrobe was dresses. Unless the dress is easy open up top, this is not a practical solution for breastfeeding anywhere, which you may not realize if you’ve never breastfed before. If I’d known, I would have planned my maternity wardrobe differently and planned outfits that would also be breastfeeding friendly.
I was told, “You will love your baby like you’ve never loved before”.
This one is absolutely true, but I wish they had added:
“You will feel emotions like you’ve never experienced before”.
Motherhood brings new emotions, and every single one of those emotions comes with an intensity I did not realize a person could feel. That is something about motherhood no one could have ever conveyed.
What is something you wish you had been told about new motherhood?