Pregnancy, giving birth and taking care of a newborn baby is not easy. Some moms have it relatively easy and other moms really go through the wars.
Another thing to take note of is that not every pregnancy, birth or baby will be the same. This is what happened to me. My first baby I had a terrible time from the moment I fell pregnant until she was at least 3 years old and finally slept through the night for the first time.
I took such strain with my first pregnancy and birth. I gained 40kgs and no that is not a typo. I went from 60kgs to 100 kgs and I did not cope well with that. Followed by a 42 hour labor at home attempting a home birth…. which then resulted in an emergency c-section. So much for a birth plan right? I had everything perfectly planned and it all went belly up.
I struggled to adjust to motherhood while suffering from PND and I swore I would never have another baby.
And then life happens, as it does and my IUD fell out which is apparently quite common. Funny how you find out these things after the fact right?
In the same month I finally lost all my pregnancy weight I found out I was pregnant again. I cried for weeks.
Luck was on my side though. My second pregnancy was a breeze in comparison, I only gained 14 kgs. Yes I know that might be considered a lot to some people, but it is bliss compared to 40kgs I can promise you that! The birth went smoothly and I had an angel baby that loves to sleep!
The advice I am going to give here is not based on a book, or scientific evidence. It is my own personal advice from my experiences that I want to share with you. From a mom that struggled with pregnancy, labor, birth and adapting to motherhood.
1 Read A Few Good Books on Pregnancy, Labor and Birth
The important thing here is a few good books about pregnancy, birth and labor. Not the whole library. I read so many books when I was pregnant with my first baby. I was so scared of becoming a mother and worried I wouldn’t know what to do that I read books compulsively.
Reading is truly one of my favorite things to do, but I should have looked for recommended pregnancy books to read and just focused on those. It is important to read and research before coming a mom so look for the best pregnancy books for expectant moms and just read those.
Then I should have rested and read for fun, because now I hardly ever have time to read!
There are also some really great posts by mommy bloggers that you can read which give some awesome tips like 40 Tips for those 40 Weeks.
2 Nothing Will Prepare You 100%
You know what I tried to do? I tried to prepare myself 100% so that I would be like so ready for this journey into motherhood. I knew all the early signs of labor and all the stages of labor but that does not prepare you for a 42 hour posterior labor that is not progressing past 6cm.
You can read all the books in the world about pregnancy, birth and how to cope with a newborn baby, but when that baby does not sleep for more than 2 hours at a time for 3 years… yes not once… how on earth do you prepare for that?
How do you cope with being in pain while pregnant? Peeing in your pants every time you sneeze? Not being able to poop while pregnant?
(Kegal exercises help to get naturally tighter walls of vagina which will help prevent you peeing when you sneeze btw)
My daughter was scratching the inside of my stomach, I kept thinking of the movie Alien where the aliens come out of your stomach. I thought she was trying to claw her way out. And there is nothing you can do!
How do you prepare for being able to care for your newborn baby when you have just spent 42 hours in excruciating pain with no sleep?
I remember my mother warning me that nothing can truly prepare you for what is about to come. So I was not exactly shocked that I wasn’t prepared but I was shocked at the extremeness of it. If that makes sense?
Becoming a mom is like being with a sledge hammer out of nowhere. And there is no respite. There is no saying “oh can I just take this weekend off please, I’m a little exhausted“. Nope, you are a mom and you are on duty for the rest of your life.
This is it, this is your new reality.
3 The Time Goes So Fast – Enjoy All The Little Moments
I remember during my first pregnancy being so sore and uncomfortable and praying for that baby to come out. I started researching ways to bring on my labor because I felt I could not go on any more. It felt like forever.
Then my baby was born and every day and night felt like it stretched on forever too. I just wanted a break and I couldn’t get one. Honestly I started wishing the time away.
Once again my mother warned me, don’t wish it away. These moments are precious and once they are gone you will regret it.
Then in a flash the baby years were gone and I missed having a cute little baby to cuddle. I struggled with breastfeeding and I so looked forward to the time I could wean and then when I did wean my son I was sad.
Just know and trust that from the moment you fall pregnant each moment is precious and when you look back you will realize that the time did fly past and you will miss it. I promise you.
4 It Is All Worth It
Yes there have been some experiences I would rather not have had. Like once my daughter actually vomited in my mouth, like how the hell did she manage that right? Of all the gross and disgusting things that have happened to me that one sits right up at the top.
Yes I did suffer extremely badly from lack of sleep for 3 years and it was awful. But when I look into the faces of my children I am filled with love.
If you are not a mom you have not experienced the purest, strongest and most beautiful love that exists.
5 Trust Yourself As A Mom
This is something that took a while for me to do. We are women, we are meant to have babies and look after them. We have natural instincts and we need to trust ourselves in this journey.
I found that there were so many people throwing advice at me from all over. Even people I don’t know telling me what I should and should not be doing my with baby. Yes listen to other people and then do what you feel is right for yourself and your family.
Don’t let other people upset you for your choices, or to convince you to do something you are not comfortable with.
When your baby is born a mother is born too.
6 Trust Your Husband (or Baby Daddy) As A Dad
My husband does everything differently to me and for a long time I gave him a hard time. (Oh wait sometimes I still do, but I am getting better at it.)
The point is that my husband is an incredible father, he is loving and he always puts their needs first. It has been quite the process for me as a person having to let go my control and let him be the father he is.
It is amazing watching my husband with my children and they have a very special bond.
If I could do things differently I would have been more understanding when we first became parents and realized that while I was struggling and tired my husband was going through his own difficulties adapting to being a new dad. I should have been kinder and more supportive.