Thursday, October 10, 2019

Things I wish I knew, but could only learn through experience...

SO many women I know have announced that they are pregnant lately and I have to say it's pretty freaking exciting to me. We are 6 weeks into this new life and I still think it's absolutely the best thing ever, even with the accumulated lack of sleep, the number of dirty diapers I've changed (along with two huge blowouts in a row on Sunday) and the hours of baby screaming. I still can't handle her cuteness when I hold her, when she falls asleep in my arms or on my chest, when I look at her peaceful face when she is nursing, and especially now when she coos to communicate with us.

Now that we are 6 weeks in and I have some experience, and it's still fresh, I feel like I want to share/record my thoughts on some things that may help other new moms (or me next time if there is a next time).

Embracing the 'lazy' recovery life, when it's important
to just slow down and smell the roses/take advantage
of a bit of alone time every day. 
I think the most important thing that I learned/am learning is to just trust your instincts. I never thought I would HAVE instincts, but turns out I do, and no matter how many books or internet articles I read it seems like my instincts are pretty damn good and I end up doing what I instinctively wanted to do when it comes to things like sleep, feeding... For example, the hospital sends you home with tons of info about how dangerous SIDS is, think every other paper in the folder of paperwork, and it claims that sleeping with the baby in your bed = instant SIDS death. Well it turns out that they just want to cover their arses in case an alcoholic, chain smoker shares their bed with baby and rolls over on it. I am neither an alcoholic, nor a chain smoker, and it turns out that my baby is a very low risk baby for SIDS, so my instinct to sleep with the baby in the bed (let's be honest it's also because that's the only place she WOULD sleep during certain hours of the night) were FINE. But that doesn't mean I didn't spend the first two weeks feeling super guilty each time I brought her to bed with me at 2am, and that I didn't hide my bedsharing behavior from the pediatrician/my doctor. Anyway, the more different books I read the more I realized baby A isn't high risk and the better I felt about it, and now I'm actually kinda upset that I didn't embrace bedsharing from the beginning because those first two weeks were incredibly sweet, and the guilt/shame kinda put a damper on my enjoyment.

And that brings us to the second most important thing I wish I had known, preparing for labor is all fine and good, but that's just one day that goes by so fast, what I SHOULD have been preparing for was what to do with this tiny human AFTER labor. It took me a few weeks to start reading about sleep and soothing techniques... and I really really wish I had done that before because I could have avoided all that shame about the bedsharing if I had read Sweet Sleep BEFORE birth. My Midwife even admitted to me that they feel in their office that they don't do a great job preparing women for postpardum, so all you preggo mamas listen up, take the time to think about life AFTER birth now, not just labor. I think this includes talking to lots of moms about what it will be like for the first two weeks, because you will most likely be alone (with your partner) and not know what is normal, and no amount of internet can help you understand that what you are going through mentally is normal, or prepare you for what it will be like. For example, you DON'T want visitors during the first week, or at least I didn't. No one told me this, and I guess I just got lucky that people stayed away, but I was walking around the house in nothing but a nursing bra and disposable hospital undies for a solid 5 days after birth, and there's a good chance you will too.

And along with no visitors for the first week I would HIGHLY recommend being as 'lazy' as possible for the first two weeks! I felt guilty just laying on the couch so I was up trying to do construction and laundry and whatnot after like 3 days, and my biggest regret is that I didn't just lay on the couch all day every day snuggling the baby and watching her sleep. I did watch her sleep some, but I wish I had committed to just 100% nothing but baby. I wish I had embraced the stitches in my nether-region and demanded to be waited on hand and foot by Brendo, but instead I acted tough and pretended to be fine and I can't go back and have that two weeks back now haha, the dark side of being good at tolerating pain and being stubborn/prideful.
My awesome parents came last week and offered
to hold the baby all the time which was HEAVEN!

Another thing, DO NOT feel guilty if someone comes over and offers to let you nap, just do it, even if it means just closing your eyes in bed with no baby for 20 minutes. Them offering to hold the baby is probably the greatest gift, better than any adorable newborn outfit, so if you know someone who is expecting consider gifting mama a nap or two over another outfit the kid will never wear because they outgrow that newborn stuff so fast. But really seriously think about who is going to cook and visit and plan that stuff out a little before, because having people come cook for you, or hold the baby after day 5, when you stop running around almost naked, is heaven, don't ever turn down offers for that help/love.

And mostly it just takes time and experiences to build your know how. You can prepare as much as possible but it's still going to be like 99% figure stuff out as you go, and that's fine. I'm talking everything, from how to change diapers, how to soothe YOUR particular baby and how to nurse to how to cope with your recovering body and how to deal with a husband who is still learning that you are a hostage every time the baby eats, and he needs to be sympathetic to that, and offer you snacks and water rather than just going about his bachelor style life of eating cereal in bed, next to you when you are starving, but stuck waiting for the nugget to finish eating... sorry, kinda got carried away :)

Feeling like zombies most days, but hey, we
figured out that she sleeps in the carrier, so that's
something, haha
But yeah, it feels like most of what I was told and read kinda went in one ear and out the other, and no matter how many times people told me stuff, nothing really clicked until I was holding this kid, and figuring stuff out in real time. So enjoy every minute and don't stress, everything works itself out, for the most part. I feel like people told me this stuff and I didn't really 'get it' until now, but I want to tell all the mamas to be this same stuff, and maybe it will help one person, or me in the future if there is a #2 (which I secretly really want now).

Off to try and get some stuff done while the nugget sleeps like an angel :) Happy Thursday!

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