I could write a novella on the first few months after having your first baby. Instead, I mostly settle on gabbing to friends and family for long after their eyes glaze over with boredom. Maybe I love sharing stories and comparing notes so much because it was truly an experience for which I could have in no way prepared myself and it was the most amazing and challenging thing I have ever done.
I have several friends who are expecting, so I’m jumping at my chance to share my take on the experience of becoming a new mom. Since, having an 8-month-old, I’m a resident expert. (HA! Complete sarcasm.) As I mentioned, I could go on about this for days, but for the time being, I’ll stick to a few random thoughts and snippets of unsolicited advice.
Although I knew having a child came with a recovery period, I was completely unprepared for the difficulty of recovery. After being on bed rest for the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I wanted to be up on my feet and moving, but I was in pain. It’s something no one talks about, maybe because no one wants to scare the soon-to-be mom. I was in pain for much longer than I expected. But I eventually recovered and got back to feeling like my normal self.
Don’t worry about dressing nicely or putting on makeup. For some crazy reason, while I was on maternity leave, and not leaving the house at all, I would put on uncomfortable clothes and makeup. Waste of time. Waste of makeup. You will miss those days where you could be in your pajamas with your hair in a knot all day. Yes, I know I did it to feel more like the normal “me” again, but looking back, I wonder why I wasted my time (and added to my laundry).
Invest in the nursing bras. Yes they are ugly. Yes you will need them. Don’t make your husband navigate the maternity store by himself after you’ve had your baby because you didn’t buy any beforehand…
Another investing tip – if you think you need it, and you can afford it, just buy it. If you end up not using it, you can return it. It’s frustrating, especially for a frugal gal like myself, but in my experience, life is easier when I just bite the bullet and buy four different types of bottles to find which one the baby likes, rather than trying to force her to drink from the one you bought but she hates.
You will get frustrated. You will cry. You will think, “What were we thinking? How on earth did we think we were ready for this?” Or maybe you are a much stronger person than me and taking care of a newborn will be a breeze. But, if not, just know you are not alone. You will have times when you know you should be “enjoying every minute” because “it goes by too fast” but you haven’t slept in 24 hours, you can’t remember when or what you ate last, and the baby has been crying nonstop for two hours because she has acid reflux. It’s okay to not enjoy that time. Just know, it will pass. It will pass! And likely, later than evening (or morning), when your baby finally goes to sleep, you will rock her for a few extra minutes because you don’t want to let her go.
That said, it really does go by too fast! Enjoy every minute (that you can)! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tearing up writing this post and remembering all the things that were so difficult at the time, but now are fond memories. Having a newborn was nothing like what I expected; it was so much better.
Last but not least, follow a few mommy blogs They will lift your spirits, connect you to moms facing the same challenges and experiences, and are great for late-night feedings.
Kelly Weikle and her husband Chris are navigating the uncharted road of parenthood with their infant daughter, AJ. Kelly shares the ups, downs, laughs, and cries of new motherhood on The Mommyhood every Monday. When not discovering what everyone else who has a child already knows, Kelly works full time in corporate communications.