I have four boy spawn of my own and I am also a birth doula here in Kitsap County WA and childbirth educator and have the incredible privilege of witnessing new parents begin this crazy ass journey. Recently on my facebook page I posted an article about new parenthood and asked about the things that you wish you had been told before having a baby. The answers were raw and tender and so very real. They brought back all of the bitter sweet memories of just starting out as a mother.
My brilliant student Bridget Morgan replied with the below list and has graciously allowed me to repost it for you.
10 things you wish you knew before having a baby
1.) You will have expectations and they will all be wrong.
2.) No two babies are alike, and no two mothers are alike. So look for the kernel of truth in every piece of advice you get, but feel free to throw it all out the window and get to know your child and what they need.
3.) Pack more diapers.
4.) Nobody knows what they are doing at first; this is hard for everyone, so try to realize that just as you only post the beautiful moments on Facebook that make it all look effortless, so do other moms. They haven't figured it out any better than you have.
5.) The first shower after giving birth can be a spiritual experience. No really.
6.) No seriously, pack more diapers.
7.) You may find that you go into a personal hibernation - the you that was is no more and the you that is is a mom and it feels like there isn't room for anything else. You will get YOU back. It may be hard and it may be long but your baby will get older and you will feel better leaving him and you will realize that you can do some of the things you did before you became a mom and you won't feel any guilt about taking some time for yourself because you will realize how badly you needed this.
8.) This can be as hard for your partner as it is for you. You may find yourself at your meanest when you are sleep deprived and it is 3 AM and your baby is up for the 4th time and you are exhausted and your partner makes the wrong suggestion. It's okay. Talk to each other. Give each other grace. Give yourself grace. Apologize and mean it. Love is a powerful foundation - don't leave it room to crack.
9.) This is the best advice I had in all of my pregnancy - the beginning is all about survival. Everyone will ask you "are you so in love? Isn't it the most love you've ever felt?" If it is, that's wonderful. Mazel tov! If it isn't, that's okay too. Get through the first few weeks and you will find the love comes rushing over you in waves, seeping at first into quiet moments and then bursting at the seams as the smiles start to happen. (Katie Richardson told me this and I am forever grateful.) **Katie is another one of my brilliant students. I get to learn so much from them**
10.) Listen to your heart. You aren't a bad mom. If you are trying, if you care, you are not a bad mom. You are a mom who is doing the best that she can, just like all the mothers around her. No one will ever know your baby as well as you do, so listen to your baby and listen to your heart and you won't go too far off course.
11.) However many diapers you have in your bag right now, add 4 more. I'm so serious.
What do you wish someone would have told you before you had a baby?