Motherhood has been the single most defining moment of my life. Between the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes, I feel as though my life is now a crazy whirlwind of activity with hardly a second to spare for reflection.
But, as my husband will attest, I am a thinker. I am forever thinking, with a million wheels spinning through my head at any given moment.
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Since I love lists, here is one of my favorites:
Top 5 Things I Wish I Had Known BEFORE I Had a Baby
5. There is such a thing as being over prepared.
I can hear some of you saying…uh, no there isn’t. I completely get where you’re coming from! The teacher in me likes to be prepared for all possible scenarios. I’m a planner. I like to know and make arrangements in advance.
Babies and birthing seem to run on a different agenda.
I wanted to be prepared for IT ALL. I had my hospital bag packed a month ahead of time. (Read Must Have Hospital Bag Items – Minimalist Version and The Best Hospital Bag List Ever for some inspo!) I freaked out at my husband for not having the car seat installed yet. I painstakingly made 36 (arbitrary number) Pinterest “padsicles”. I spent hours carefully choosing each song for my birthing playlist on Spotify. I had been gifted with boxes and boxes of newborn sized diapers (and newborn clothes, which I had washed and folded). Nursery was all set up, complete with crib and changing table.
As it turns out…
- After some 30+ hours in labor, I ended up having a c-section, thereby nixing my need for padsicles. It actually physically pained me to throw them out, after all the time I spent making them!
- Everything worked out with the carseat.
- During labor, my pain was so intense I decided that music was the LAST thing I wanted to hear.
- My little nugget came out at 9 lbs. so newborn anything was a bit snug on her and didn’t work. Diapers ended up being exchanged and newborn clothes packed away.
- We co-sleep (read about my accidental journey to bedsharing) and I found the changing table to be too high and a pain to use, so there’s that.
My point? Despite my efforts to think ahead and be ultra prepared…sometimes you just have to go with the flow and take things as they come. And it’s ok.
4. The baby doesn’t need THAT many things… in the beginning.
I, like many new moms, went a little overboard on my Amazon registry. BABY + SHOPPING = OHMYGAWWWWWWWD, right? A tool to dig out boogies? A baby hammock? A thing that makes noise? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Ok, so I actually did buy the boogie digger, called the oogiebear. It’s so useful, I bought two!
But seriously. I know all babies are different but in all likelihood, your baby will spend most of his/her time eating, sleeping, and eliminating during the first month of life. There will be plenty of time to shop for your bundle of joy later. Get to know your baby first. Half the time, s/he may not even end up liking or using the things you bought!
3. Self care + Asking for help = LIFE.
By nature, I am a very independent person and have a hard time asking for help. I also tend to take care of others before myself. Niet, mama! It’s time to start doing both, ASAP.
I wish I had known that it is ok to ask guests to leave after an hour because I’m in pain and need to bond with my baby and figure out this breastfeeding thing. Or to just nap while everyone oohs and ahhs over baby.
I wish I had known to make bringing food a prerequisite to visiting. I am dead serious about this one. (Also, if you come to my house empty handed and TALK to me about what you had just eaten, all baby visiting privileges will be revoked. And yes, this really did happen to me!)
This time around, I will not be shy about making my needs known and asking for help!
2. Time will never be the same.
Time with your significant other. Time with friends. Time by yourself. Time to complete basic everyday tasks. You will never look at time the same way. When it’s 3 a.m. and you haven’t slept in weeks. When your child is sick and you lie awake watching her. When you just need five minutes to do XYZ…but those minutes never seem to materialize. When milestones seem to fly by. When you wake up and your child is suddenly X months old…X years old…
Live in the moment if you can. I’m working on that.
1. Your heart will explode.
I had always heard “Oh, you’ll understand when you’re a parent” and “There’s nothing like the love a parent has for his/her child.” THEY WERE RIGHT.
There is nothing like that first moment you see, hold, kiss your child. Smell her, touch her, look into her eyes. Take her home. Be responsible for her well being.
Nothing has prepared me for the intense amount of love I feel for my daughter. I understand now how my parents must have felt when each of us were born. I also can imagine the pain they felt when we were hurt.
I am undoubtedly a better person because of my daughter. And my heart explodes every time she smiles or laughs.
What are some things you wish you had known before becoming a parent?
Want to know some of the things I ACTUALLY did need? Head on over to What I Actually Needed for a New Baby to read more!
Until next time,