Hello there pregnant first-time momma, this post is all for you. I envy you right now because I miss those days of having my little worms all to myself inside of me. Those days where my mind would just be an endless wander of all that there was to come. I wanted so badly to hold my babies. To have them in my arms and to kiss their little heads and smell that newborn skin. Just like you, I couldn’t keep them off my mind. It’s like the moment I found out I was pregnant my channels changed to a one-track mommy mode. There is so much you are looking forward to these next couple of months. But before the days of having your baby earth-side arrive I want to share with you all the things I wish I would of known back when I was in your shoes. These are the things I wish my now-self would of told my pregnant-self.
1. Rest. Everyone tells you to enjoy sleeping and resting but trust me, however much of it you’re doing right now its still not enough. Rest and sleep ten times more. Tell that ticker in your mind to turn off and enjoy being all cuddled in bed or sofa, or whatever feels comfortable right now. You will never sleep the same way as you do right now or did before you were pregnant. ‘Why Abby? Why would you say that?’ Because as moms we sleep with a certain lightness that is constantly aware of your baby. You’ll hear the slightest of noises and wonder if he/she is alright. You will check in the middle of the night whether they are breathing or not (which they are) because they’ve slept just a tad bit longer than usual. You’ll miss them when they are asleep. You will walk in the baby room just to watch them sleep. Just to be near your baby. Or you just won’t sleep at all. We have all heard of those scenarios.
2. Enjoy that long hair you have right now. After 16 months, it’s still not the same it used to be.
3. The newborn stage passes. This is the toughest part of the first year. But you will get through it just fine. The days will all mush up together and you’ll only be keeping track of your feeding schedule every three hours. You’ll be exhausted and cranky but oh so in love with looking at your baby. They make it all so worth it. Even when you are crying for no apparent reason or for all the reasons you can think of at once, it will be ok. Notice I keep saying it will be ok and not it’s going to be perfect. Perfection is not what you want, perfection will make you go mad. O.K. is your jam. Ok means you are surviving without going nuts and all along enjoying every minute of the ride.
4. Don’t forget about your husband. I love my husband. I know he will agree with everything I am about to say so there’s no secret here. A lot of times when a woman becomes a mom she forgets she was once a wife too. Momma takes over and leaves little room for all the attention she once devoted to her partner. I am guilty of being this way to a certain extent. I felt overwhelmed with taking care of the twins, myself and my love all without hitting a breaking point. I was ever so lucky to have him help me as much as he could. SO soooo lucky, because I know that’s not always the case. But somewhere between 3 am feedings and going 20 hours without taking a nap we would find ourselves giving each other the mean stare. On my end I wanted him to do MORE and MORE and on his end he just wanted me. The “me” he married. The me he had before the twins were here. There were many nights when I would just pass out right next to him. But there were many nights we let it get the best of us and one of us was sleeping in the sofa. Don’t let this be your scene. Even if you do have twins or triplets or more. Communicate way before the babies arrive what you can do to avoid this. We found our system after many nights of trial and error, but if we would of planned ahead worst case scenario days we wouldn’t of flipped when they actually happened. We found a way to spend even an hour together alone. Date night happened. Trips to McDonald’s down the block for ice-cream happened. Days of just listening to him tell me all the things he wanted to say without a kid on my boob happened. We needed our time. It’s not that we took a break from being parents, we just gave time to just being husband and wife again.
5. Take pictures of that baby bump. You may have a couple, but a couple isn’t enough. You will always wish you had more.
6. Make arrangement for your newborn photos with a photographer before the baby is born. Most photographer’s need somewhat of a notice and it’s best to find the one right for you before hand. Which reminds me, start your baby book BEFORE the baby comes. Once she/he is here you will loose track of time and all those pregnancy photos you wanted to write long notes with will just end up in a folder on your desktop.
7. Don’t compare your pregnancy/birth with other mommas. We are all the same in a very different way. Do share stories but don’t feel judged either way.
8. Birth is a scary thought. But it doesn’t have to be. Read up on all the ways you can go about it and form a birth plan. Remember that your birth plan is just that, a plan. Sometimes plans change, so be open to new outcomes. I imagined it one way and it happened nothing like what we had planned. I kept thinking I was going to be weak and wasn’t going to endure labor. Instead I was tough, I was strong and I had energy I never knew I had. We don’t give ourselves enough credit. I thought I was going walk in and ask for an epidural the moment I had my first contraction. But I didn’t. And you don’t have to think that’s going to be your case either. You can do this!! You can have your baby whichever way you choose and you will still be you.
9. Labor can be messy (as I had previously witnessed with all the moms I photographed). Everyone understands and should already be aware that everything will not be dainty and lady like. You will probably not even notice things that your husband will later tell you about. The nurses and doctors there are used to it. And if you happen to have a birth photographer, they’ve seen it too. Don’t feel self-conscious about it as if you are the only one who’s ever farted or worse in front of strangers…
10. You will cry a lot. I don’t know if I should blame the hormones for this one entirely, but I was always crying for something. Happy tears. Sad tears. I’m freaking out tears.. you name it.
11. Breast-feeding. Although I am a 100% supporter of mother’s milk I understand it’s not for every mom. There were days I didn’t feel much like myself. The kids were literally sucking the life out of me. There were other days I felt I never wanted our breast-feeding journey to end. And most days I felt like it was the one thing I could do that no one else could do for my babies. I was connected with them and felt such immense sense of purpose. Till this day, I feel it was the best decision I made way back then on day one of being a mom.
12. Admire your body in the mirror. It has already changed now that you are pregnant and it will do so again once you give birth. You are beautiful. Now. Then. And every step of the way. Don’t feel like those extra baby pounds have “ruined” you. They haven’t and they wont.
13. One day it will hit you that maybe you didn’t know what it was to really love before your baby. Be prepared to watch your heart GROW and GROW. Love like this only keeps growing and aching more and more.
14. Your husband will do just fine babysitting. Oh this is a good one. I would stress and stress so much about leaving the babies for just a little while with anyone. Even my husband. Because he always just took care of one and I the other at all times. But once I stopped being such a control freak, and gave him the very much credit he deserved, I found it was ok to go to the store and everyone was in one piece when I got home. It was ok for me to get my hair done and it was ok for me to take a very very long nap. He had mastered babysitting. Granted he isn’t going to do it how we moms would, but no one ever will do things like we would. He does things the dad way. AND THAT’S OK!! Your baby needs to get to know him as well. They need to bond over Star Wars cartoons or whatever it is he likes.
15. Join a mommy group. These women have been through some version of your shoes and are the perfect companion to share kid snacks with while you talk about the latest “so today this happened..” story. I don’t mean replacing your friends, but having new ones with similar interests will help you feel more comfortable talking about whether or not you’re producing as much milk or what to do when your baby doesn’t want to try new foods.
16. Don’t apologize for posting photos of your bump, your child and your family on any social media. Post away! In fact, post right now. On your spare time (like we even have those) you’ll look back at your own feed and reminisce on all those beautiful days that have passed and what you had to say about them. Take no shame whatsoever in showcasing the new love of your life.
17. Sleep. Oh right I already mentioned that one. Still deserves a second mention. SLEEP.
18. Don’t skip out on a healthy mom routine. Don’t forget to brush your teeth and eat breakfast. Yes you will get caught up with schedules and breakfast may be at 6 am or 12 PM but do eat. You need to be healthy in order to breast feed so don’t forget to feed yourself too. Brushing your hair is optional… ( my mother will kill me for this one ) however brushing your teeth is not. 🙂
19. Hold your baby. Carry and wear them around. Those tales about how they will get used to being held and won’t want to be put down can be dealt with later. My boys were held all the time, they co-slept with me for the first 4 months and at 7 months old they were already in their cribs in their rooms going to sleep all on their own. You can worry about scheduling and sleeping arrangements after those first few months when they don’t want to be cuddled as much. So for now, cuddle and snuggle that baby all the time. It’s the sweetest most delicious thing to hold your newborn baby. After all, isn’t that what you’ve been dreaming of doing those last 9 months?
20. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. I was ever so fortunate to have my mother and mother-in-law both readily available to help, but sometimes I would just hold everything in. Like groceries and laundry and cleaning the bathroom… they can help. I’m a firm believer on asking for help for all the non-baby related things as opposed to the baby ones. I would rather my mom help me by going to Publix and getting me my list of things instead of watching the kids so I can go to the store. But either way, help is help… use whatever help is available to you.
21. Laundry… who knew you would ever have to fold so much laundry. Get ready to dedicate an area of the house to folding and organizing clothes because if not it will always be everywhere. ( Or maybe that was just me for having twin boys that spit up a lot and a hubby that walks in covered in dust every day. )
22. Trust your mommy gut. ALWAYS TRUST YOUR MOMMY GUT. If you feel something is wrong, don’t let it slide by.
23. Baby books, don’t give them the ones your really like until they pass the phase of ripping everything and putting all that their hands touch in their mouths. We have probably 3 good books left. The rest have all gone through Hurricane W&M and are suffering the consequences.
24. Get dressed with something else than your PJs. I’m still reminding myself of this one. No need to be momma frump all the time.
25. Diaper blow outs. Explosive poop. It will happen. In the most inappropriate moment or on the nicest outfit they have. GET READY. This one is really fun. Sad part it doesn’t just happen just once. Woohoo for having to jump in the bathtub with your baby because you are covered in his “oh my god what is this”.
I can honestly make this list endless after all the things we learn as moms as time goes on. But I know you are probably on your lunch break reading this over and an endless list of baby tips its quite overwhelming. Mommas, is there anything else you would like to add as tips for first time mommas? Comment below. I’d love to hear what you have to say. [ All the pictures in this post were taken during my 24th week pregnant with the boys. ]