Recently, a good friend was gathering advice to share with a soon-to-be mom who was expecting any day. It’s been almost two years since I’ve been at that point but it made me think. What advice did I receive? What helped me through the beginning of this journey?
It inspired me to write a letter. I may need this advice again sooner or later.
Dear future mom,
Your son or daughter is already a part of your life as she kicks and hiccups and does somersaults in your tummy. I’d love to give you solid advice on what you are about to go through, but I can’t. This particular journey is individual. It’s unique and special to you and your child.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned since my son’s birth is that there is no one-size-fits-all guidebook to giving birth and being a new mom. However, my friends helped with some key points which I will share with you:
1. The Birth: It will likely be different than what you imagine.
No matter how you give birth — in a hospital, at home, in a tub, in a operating room, in a car, with drugs, without drugs, with a midwife, or even adoption — you can’t predict your exact childbirth experience. It’s easy to get disappointed if you do and you’ll miss the beauty of welcoming the new one to your family.
Your baby is going to come out at his or her own speed. Just focus on providing warm and accepting arms for your new one, no matter how it occurs.
2. The meeting: Don’t be upset if you don’t immediately fall head over heals in love with your child. For some, there will be an instant bond. For me. I cared for my son immediately but it took months to fully bond.
You may need time to get to know your child. Or you may not. It will come. Let that bond happen on both of your timelines. Don’t let TV or a friend’s experience set the bar for what you feel.
3. The first month: It’s okay if your first month is a little difficult. You may panic. You may not. But if you do, get support. Pray or meditate. Hug your child. Call a friend. And know it will get better. Get more support if needed.
Again, it’s an individual experience and you shouldn’t compare it with anyone else’s.
I was told that something magical happens one month after the birth and it did. Breastfeeding became easier. The baby’s sleep was a little more predictable. I became more confident as a mom. You have a little more time to make better meals for yourself.
You start to remember who you were before you gave birth.
At the beginning I fought this journey. I did not gracefully enter motherhood and it’s comical that I am even writing this letter now. I was not a model first-time mom.
But now I see how my life is changing for the better — how I am being pushed to grow in ways I didn’t know I needed to.
I’ve learned to give up expectations of how my days should go. They rarely follow my plans, and at first this frustrated me. Well, it still frustrates me a little, but I’ve learned a bit more patience, and a bit more grace.
I also learned that a hug from your child is much more rewarding than a clean living room.
Now I love my new life and I would not have it any other way.
So the best piece of advice I received: Just let go of your expectations and enjoy the experience. Just wait long enough and whatever circumstance you are dealing with will likely change for the better. At least, it did for me.
Enjoy the journey!
P.S. Yes, in case you were wondering, you will sleep again.