Kveller recently received this note from one of our readers:
I’m a 25-year-old newlywed and I love your site! I’m not a mom yet, but I very much look forward to becoming one someday and parenting with intention. The purpose of this note is to ask if one of your contributors could share things they wish they’d known before they got pregnant.
Thanks so much,
Well, Samantha, a single blog post isn’t nearly enough space for six opinionated mamas to share all of our advice, but here are a few gems about pregnancy and the first months of motherhood from our contributing editors that we’ve put together for you:
– During the first three months, all bets are off: Midnight becomes the new morning, and you’ll measure time by feeding, sleeping, and TV reruns. THIS PHASE DOES NOT GO ON FOREVER: I promise, it gets easier.
– Watch The Business of Being Born. This documentary is for anyone giving birth, no matter what you want for your birth, how you end up doing it; home, hospital, whatever. It’s not scary fear-mongering, it’s wonderful information that is empowering and important. I suggest partners watch it, too!
– I strongly suggest NOT reading What To Expect When You’re Expecting. I think it makes you terrified of every single thing going on for 40 weeks and makes you approach pregnancy from a place of fear.
– Learning how to parent a new baby is like learning a new language: it’s immersive, you will get it, and the speed with which you feel comfortable with it says nothing about you as a person.
– Your regular clothes will not fit. For a while. Possibly ever.
– There is no such thing as getting lots of sleep now, so that you’re well rested later. You will be SO TIRED later, no matter what. So enjoy, now. Go out to dinner all the time. Stay out late or stay up late. Order that second (or third) glass of wine when out with friends. Go away for the weekend. Lay in bed, don’t get up and go to the gym, just relax. Twiddle your thumbs. Go shopping and take a very long time picking out a pair of shoes. Then get yourself frozen yogurt and don’t share it with anyone and listen to any kind of music you like in the car. Do this frequently before you get pregnant. Take mental photographs.
– Have expectations about the birthing process, but be flexible and know the ultimate goal is a healthy baby. For example, I really wanted to have an un-medicated birth my second time around but in my birth vision I included what I would want if I needed a Cesarean.
– New mamas need lots of support, from their partners, their family, and their friends. You may be surprised (in both good and bad ways) by the people in your life who step up after the baby is born, as well as the people who aren’t there for you as you might have hoped. This is normal, and it happens to everyone, but it can be disconcerting, to say the least. Research ahead of time and find yourself a new mother’s support group–I attended a free one at a local synagogue every week after my first daughter was born, and it was incredibly helpful. Not only did I get lots of useful, practical advice on swaddling and feeding and tummy time, but I also got so much emotional support during that time. It really kept me sane.
What would you have liked to know before you got pregnant for the first time? Leave your advice in the comments below.