As we are flipping through days on the calendar faster and faster and getting closer to my daughter’s fourth birthday, the nostalgia has been coming in strong waves. I have been scrolling through pictures of her newborn stage. Sifting through memories of what it was like to be a first time mom. As memories pop into my mind, I can’t help but think about some of the things I wish I had known as a first time mom. I felt pulled to share some advice I would have appreciated being offered to me before my daughter was born. I hope this provides you with encouragement and empowerment on your motherhood journey.
It is okay to feel disheartened if you do not have the birth you desired.
We all are thankful for a healthy and happy baby at delivery. Having negative feelings surrounding your birth story does not make you any less appreciative for a healthy child. YOU count too. Do not let other people (it’s often other mom’s) shame you or speak down to you for mourning your birth story. Bless and release them.
It is okay to feel proud of your birth story!
Sometimes you will have the opposite response. You had a natural birth? Had an epidural? Planned c-section? You may run into others who are quick to shame or downplay your success or pride over your birth going as you desired. “Well you are just lucky, I couldn’t X, Y or Z, because…” This says more about them than you. You should be proud of however you birthed your child and not hesitate to share your story.
Be willing to change your plans.
Most mom’s I know have their list of “never will I ever” or their well thought out parenting plans and styles. It’s me. I’m most moms. I quickly learned, though, your best teacher is your child. Listen to their needs, try new things and be willing to give up the picture of what you thought motherhood would look like, how you would handle different situations and embrace the uniqueness of your child.
Trust your instincts.
It took me months after my first until I felt confident to do what I knew in my heart was best for my daughter. I had to push aside thoughts of, “What would so and so think about this choice.” or “That’s not what the book said.” There is no one size fits all anything for children. No matter what decisions you make or how you raise your child, someone will have something to passive aggressively say about it. So put on your mom pants and do what’s best for your child. Ignore the noise from others. Karen in your mom’s group is not raising your child. You are.
Postpartum emotions are wild.
We hear a lot about post partum depression. Did you know postpartum rage is a category of PPD? I didn’t. Turns out, this is how my personal post partum “baby blues” express themselves. Be aware of your emotions and most definitely speak to your healthcare provider if you do not feel they are improving after a few weeks. To be the best mom for your child means you need to take care of yourself!
YOU CANNOT SPOIL A BABY.
This is a hill I will die on. Momma. Your heart pulls to hold and snuggle your baby with every whimper and cry. This is nature’s way of telling you to hold your baby. Comfort your baby. Do not. I repeat. DO NOT ever let anyone tell you, “If you hold them all they time you will spoil them.” Your grew and nourished this baby inside of you for 9 grueling months. They have known only you. The sound of your heart. The sound of your voice. They have only known the feeling of warmth and a full belly. Can you imagine how cold and scary this new world is to them?
I don’t usually reference my day job on this blog. Please humor me for a moment, though. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, I can tell you that a baby does not have the ability to manipulate you. If they are crying, they need you momma. It is hard and exhausting and worth it. They will not always need you like this. It may feel like you will forever be in this chapter when you are rocking them for the tenth time of the night through a haze of sleep deprivation. I promise you, though, you will wake up one day and they will be sleeping on their own in their big girl bed.
I have so many feelings on this topic. I will most likely write follow up posts to this one at some point. For now, meet me in the comments and share what you wish you had known as a first time mom. What was most surprising to you?
2 thoughts on “What I Wish I Knew as a First Time Mom”
Actually, I don’t think there’s anything I wish I had known. I have a background in psychology and child development, so I relied on that to help guide me. Without having any mom friends or a mom group, I didn’t feel any pressure to try to be a certain kind of mom and relying on myself and listening to my baby were what really helped me feel confident as a mom. I would probably do it all the exact same way over again, though maybe I might have asked my oldest’s nurses to stop swaddling him because he absolutely hated it.
Yes! I think those are great points. There is beauty in having so many moms at our finger tips via social media, but then this also can cause pressure to “keep up” with other moms instead of listening to our own intuition with our children. My daughter loved to be swaddled, my son hated it from day one so we stopped. 😄
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