Advice to a first time mom

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Here are some thoughts I’ve had about being a mom so far:

It wasn’t for nothing that you did all that research about birth and pregnancy. It was worth it.

Your mom is a rockstar. You have no idea what your mom went through, even though she might have told you and you thought you understood. Be thankful for her. Tell her that you love her and you appreciate her. Do it often.

I love my husband with my whole heart. I didn’t think I could love another human half as much. I now now that it is indeed possible and so freeing to love the product of your first love. Daphne is nothing but our love.

Each day, I see my daughter change. I love watching her grow and change.

I don’t feel guilty about holding Daphs, having her sleep in bed next to me, or picking her up all the time. She will soon be running away from me to discover new things in the world. I don’t want to look back on her childhood and wished I would have spent more time with her in my arms or cuddled close. That cannot be taken away.

Taking a baby out in public has not been as traumatic as I imagined–then again I do have a near 3 week old and not a tantrum throwing 2 year old. Daphs doesn’t get odd looks from people. I don’t feel that she is cumbersome or a bother. I don’t feel that people glare at us because we have a baby. I think it’s all about perspective.

If something doesn’t work, try something else. Daphs has seemed to have little fits lately. We don’t know if it is because she gets hot, because the house is quiet, if we aren’t holding her enough or perhaps too much, or anything of that nature. It’s not that she is constantly screaming, but every now and again we can’t help her calm down. We stay calm and try different things to figure out what’s wrong.

Your outlook and perspective is everything. I don’t get upset at her crying or at dirty diapers. I do my best to sing while changing her diapers and when she cries I just calmly assess the situation and try to fix it. Keep a cheery outlook. Don’t you want your children to remember you smiling and cheerfully going through life?

If you are frustrated or upset or have no patience, just walk away. A few days ago, I had a bad day and wish I could have had Sam there to take her for me. I tried to suck it up and get through it but ended up just bawling most of the day. When Sam got home, he took her and calmed her down and I was able to regroup. I think if I could have done it differently, I would have just made sure she was fed, changed, and put her safely in her swing so I could walk away for a few minutes.

Take pictures. You can always go back and delete them but you can’t capture the moment once it is passed.

Know that you are doing well. You are doing a great job. Don’t compare yourself to anyone.

Reach out to someone if you are struggling with something. Sam is my go-to man. I often vent to him about issues I’m struggling with and he offers solid and positive feedback. He listens to me. Have someone you can talk to about your issues. Don’t stuff them.

Being a worrywart will only stress you out more. I find myself inwardly critiquing Sam for everything he does with Daphs. “IS HE CRADLING HER NECK?! Don’t let her head fall back. Oh Gosh, her diaper might not be on tight enough and she could have a blowout. Why isn’t he running to her when she cries?” ETC ETC ETC. This is not a good thing! I catch myself and turn it into thankfulness. I thank Sam for what he is doing and I realize that he is doing the best he can too.

Take care of yourself. Eat well. Take your time getting into exercising. You’ll lose the weight. You’ll fit into normal clothing again. You will be able to have normal bodily functions.

All the while during pregnancy, I stayed active. I walked. I did squats and arm workouts. Given, I didn’t do these to the extent I normally would but all the same the workouts were done. I even jogged until I realized that my jogging had turned into walking with a fast waddle. I don’t regret working out. I wish I would have walked more.

Accept gifts from friends. I was blessed enough to have an outpouring of friends and family offer us clothing, baby gear, and more while I was pregnant. I think it is a fantastic thing to buy new items for baby and some items should be bought new, but just remember that baby will outgrow things quickly and really–baby just needs love and attention.

Give breastfeeding a try. Give it at least a few weeks. I’ve found that it has gotten easier. Initially, it was a bit painful and awkward. Now, I treasure the time Daphs and I have to nurse. I sing to her and talk to her. Breastfeeding has so many other benefits too–food always ready for your baby, your antibodies traveling to baby to make her strong and resistant of nasty germs, and convenient food. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods. There are so many women and men willing to help you get started nursing or keep it up if you are having problems.

Give cloth diapering a try. I cannot express to you how much I enjoy it. Do I like poop? No. However, I like saving money. Here in the beginning, Daphne has just liquid in her diapers. I have a tote that I keep next to our mock-changing table with a lid that I drop the soiled diapers in. I then do laundry daily with sensitive/free and clear laundry soap. It’s been hard to get outside with Daphs right now, otherwise I’d hang them on the line to dry. I don’t use dryer sheets. I have them all prefolded and ready to go in another tote at our changing table. We don’t pay for water so it is so nice to have this option for washing the diapers. The covers for the diapers are super duper cute and they make sure she doesn’t leak out. Don’t be scared of cloth diapering.

Talk about your husband to baby. Talk him up. Brag about him. Speak positively of everyone.

Never stop researching and questioning.  During pregnancy, I was happy to research and couldn’t get enough info. I feel the same way about parenting. I’m always looking for a new topic to research. This keeps your mind fresh! It’s a good thing to exemplify in your life. An inquisitive mind is a golden one.

Don’t keep score with your husband about child duties (diapers, feedings, calming when they are crying). This is a joint effort. Keep communication open and don’t hold a grudge . Find a system that works for you. For Sam and I, our system has seemed to work so far. He changes diapers thru the night while I get ready to nurse her. When he is gone all day for work, of course I take care of everything. When he comes home, he is happy to change diapers and hold her. I make sure to ask him instead of commanding him to do things. I realize that some days, he’ll do more work and other days, I’ll do more work. It all pans out. Don’t keep score.

Don’t let your love life suffer from pregnancy or having your baby. I understand that some people just aren’t in the mood while pregnant, either person is weirded out by it, or that it is physically impossible due to health concerns. There are so many ways to show your spouse you love them and keep your love life up! You may not feel sexy, but he still loves you. Keep him happy. You’ll be happy in return.

Be prepared for changes. Not all the changes will be bad. I’ve got stronger nails and hair. My stretchmarks have faded. I have a little bit of loose skin on my tummy, but am confident I can strengthen my core and tighten it up a bit. My body has  returned to near normal just 3 weeks after birth. I am so thankful for this.

Birth is a gateway that a woman must go through alone. Sure, she can have her support team around her, but only she can face her fear. Only she can push. Only she can remain calm through surgery. Be prepared to face birth. You will hear many stories from family and friends. Take it all lightly and remember that your birth won’t be like anyone elses. Your birth is your own. Research until you are confident. Ask questions and ask for help if you need it. You can do it. Birth brings about baby!

Accept help from others after baby is born. We were blessed to have Sam’s parents come visit us after Daphs was born. They were both invaluable. Sam’s work offered to bring us meals. We took them up on it. People genuinely want to help and it makes a person feel good to know that they can do something to help a person in need. Don’t be proud or try to be superwoman. Get some help! It’ll help you stay relaxed and rested to take care of your little one!

Laugh. Laugh at the small things.

Take it easy and don’t be too hard on yourself. Do the best you can but don’t beat yourself up if things don’t end up perfectly or like you imagined.

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