So you’re expecting your first child.
Have you read more parenting books, blogs, and pamphlets than your eyeballs can take?
Do you feel like you’ve spent the majority of your pregnancy on Google asking about birth plans, vaccines, diapering, feeding, baby products, etc.?
Has everyone given you advice, even when you don’t ask for it?
If you answered yes to any of the above, congratulations, it sounds like your journey into motherhood is going much like mine did. I’m sure you’re overwhelmed (I was), tired (I was), and ready to become a mom (I thought I was). In hopes of making your transition a little bit easier, here’s some things I’ve learned:
The bond you have with your baby will be instant.
As soon as you see your baby, it’s over. Just sign your heart away then. You’ll do anything for them. My daughter’s pediatrician quickly learned not to mess with this mama bear when he came to talk to me after her first evaluation…you do not mess with a hormonal new mom. (And to that pediatrician, I am sorry, but I’m not. I love my little girl!)
The realization of your new life might not come as quickly.
My daughter came early despite being told repeatedly I’d go over my due date. We went to the hospital without even a car seat to bring her home in. Despite not sleeping and the hours of labor, that all washed away when I saw her. I fell in love with her immediately! However, I had no clue what had really happened. I still don’t think I grasp the reality that I am a mom. There are still times when the pediatrician will call and ask for my daughter’s mom and it’ll take me a second to realize that it is me they want to talk to. I find myself staring at her while she plays and just being amazed by the realization that the beautiful little girl throwing blocks across the room is MY daughter and I am her MOM. Whoa. Even saying that now still amazes me.
Your child won’t sleep through the night.
Okay, so this isn’t entirely true, but it’s easier to tell yourself that than hope for undisturbed nights. My daughter does have times where she sleeps 10-12 hour stretches, but I’ve learned that it’s better to tell myself that she probably won’t sleep than to get my hopes up. That way, on the nights she does sleep well, it’s a welcomed surprise; opening your eyes after not being disturbed for eight solid hours…BLISS. Try to remember this on those long frustrating nights. As crazy as it sounds, you’ll miss those 1 a.m. (and 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m., and 5 a.m.) wake up calls. One day they will stop needing you in the night. As much as you’ll love your uninterrupted sleep, you’ll miss those moments.
Trust your instincts.
Other moms, pediatricians, your own parents, in-laws, and even mommy bloggers like me will have opinions (or “advice”) to share on EVERYTHING. Just anticipate this and know that regardless, you and your spouse know your child better than anyone else does! Listen to those feelings that you’ll get. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve trusted my instinct (or my husband’s) and found more success than if we just stuck to what we were told.
Moms actually DON’T know everything.
I have yet to meet one mom who knows how to handle every situation. If you meet her, send her my way and I will happily edit this post. We are all just doing our best to raise happy, healthy kids, exactly like you are. If we offer advice, we aren’t judging, we are only trying to help. Turn to those you trust when you need another perspective: your spouse, fellow moms, pediatricians, parents, in-laws, your favorite mom blog (Cedar Rapids Moms Blog, obviously). You aren’t alone in your journey and no one expects you to handle it alone.
YOU CAN DO IT!
A friend recently confided in me about her fears of motherhood and asked me how I’ve managed. I didn’t have an answer other than, you just do it. I’ve heard mothers in all sorts of unthinkable circumstances say that day-by-day, they did what they knew they had to do. They just did it. I feel like that should be a motto of motherhood. But I’d even take it a little further. A teacher I had once used to correct us when we’d say we had to do something. “No, you get to, want to, choose to, love to.” That is how I see my role as a mother—I get to, I want to, I choose to, and I love to be a mom!
I hope that your adventure into first-time motherhood is just as wonderful, if not better than mine. I hope you have more ups than downs and that you love being a mother. I hope that somehow this post will help make your journey just a little easier.
Just remember, you can do it!
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