I still remember the moment my doctor confirmed what three home-pregnancy tests had already told me (and was still sinking in) – I was going to have a baby.
That was almost four years ago.
My first thought in that moment was, “Really? Pregnant so fast?”. Somehow in my mind I thought it would take longer than it did.
And when it finally started to sink it that I was having a baby, a profound yet simple question kicked in, “So, what now?”
Everything from then on became about answering that question.
Flash forward several years and I have two beautiful boys. My eldest is three, and the youngest just turned one.
I have learned some things along the way of what it takes to raise a baby, but if I could go back in time and give some advice to my pre-mom self, I might have a few tips up my sleeve! So here’s my list for the things I wish I knew before having a baby.
1. This too shall pass
During your pregnancy (especially your first), you will encounter a lot of things that you can’t help but think will last forever, but that is not true.
Everything will pass.
(i) Are you going to be pregnant forever? No. Before you know it, it will be over and you will ended up with a baby in your arms.
(ii) Are you going to look like a pregnant woman forever? No. It takes your body nine months to build an entire new being. After having your baby, your body will adjust and little by little it will go back to normal (or almost). Don’t worry, just celebrate every little step of the process. You can’t change it so you might as well appreciate it for what it is. Quite a miracle really!
(iii) Is the baby going to be [fill in the blanks: crying, demanding, sleepless… etc.] forever? No – little he or she is growing. They will learn to eat on their own, walk, talk and yes, even go to the toilet themselves eventually. 🙂
Everything has a time of its own. The best thing you can do is respect and honor it, for better or worse. These are just moments that are part of your life and creating all your memories.
2. All you need is love
As a mother you will have to make a lot of decisions. And most of the time, you will feel like these decisions are “life or death” situations. “Breastfeed or bottle-feed? Co-sleeping or not? Is cow’s milk okay? Organic or non-organic? Which is better: disposable or eco-friendly diapers?”
The best advice I can tell you is that no matter what decision you have to make, the most important thing you can give to your baby is love. The rest is just an accessory, which in some cases, can help make a daily routine for you better and easier. Anything that you need to contemplate is really a choice to help you do your job as a mother better, but it doesn’t have to be taken so seriously.
And when in doubt, remember that your parents had half of the information (or less!) than you have right now and you turned out quite okay, right?
Finally, if you want a good laugh about this issue, watch this short video, you will love it.
3. Lower your standards
This was my husband’s best advice of all time 🙂
Life will get complicated, you can try to be superwoman or… you can lower your standards and expectations.
Maybe the house doesn’t look like it came out of an interior design magazine; maybe today you didn’t do your hair; or maybe, you just had to put yesterday’s clothes back on the baby. Seriously, it’s okay. You are doing your best, no matter what.
Just try to relax and don’t take it out on yourself. No deceased person is remembered as “the best dish-washer of all time” or “the best diaper-changer of all time” so do what matters most to you and to your baby’s happiness and take it easy on everything else.
It is important for you to understand you are going to feel overwhelmed.
There will be days where you could feel stressed out or burnt out or so tired like you’ve never felt before. Heck, maybe it’s not one day – it could be a week or even an entire month.
And that is when you have to… breathe. It will help you relax; it will help you connect with your inner-self and release tension. Plus it will allow you a few moments with your thoughts. Breathing is an excellent practice and mood-changer.
5. Forgive yourself
If I will have the power to one thing go away it’s “guilt” (and world poverty… and cellulitis too) 🙂
The feeling of “not doing enough” or not being a “good mother” is the worst way to waste your thoughts. Don’t let those thoughts catch up with you.
You are an excellent mother, and the perfect mother for your child, that’s why destiny has paired you. Don’t let anyone, not even your own guilty or low self-esteem thoughts, tell you otherwise.
You are doing everything you can with the resources you have to raise the best (and happiest) children. And you are doing a great job, trust me. Cheers to that!
6. Don’t forget yourself
It will be very easy to get caught into the routine of everyday tasks. Don’t.
Take time to do something just for you, even if that means simply putting on lipstick, reading a trashy magazine or going for a massage. You need to feel good not just for yourself, but really, for your family’s sake too.
Never forget this: “Happy mother, happy child”. I think it’s so true.
Enjoy every step of your motherhood experience because, believe me, it will be the most memorable time of your life.
Enjoy all the tears, laughter, throw up, poop (there will be a lot of that!), cuddling, kisses and love (just to name a few). This whole experience is deeper than that – it’s also about your own perhaps growth, self-awareness and spiritual expansion. Live it to it’s fullest!
Finally I want to share a short video that made me cry because it is nice, sweet and very honest. (Oh, and crying could something you start doing a lot as a mom, too.) 🙂
So there’s some advice to my pre-mom self! What about you? Share your thoughts below – we’d love to hear it!