It has been a long time since I’ve blogged (I know, I know, I blog in spurts- I’m sorry!). My life has crossed yet another big milestone- the birth of our first child, Ellavie Mae. She is our pure joy, and we couldn’t be any more in love with her! Throughout my pregnancy I often wondered how being a mom will differ from being a nanny. I felt prepared in so many ways, yet knew that I had much to learn. I was right. Every pregnancy, child, and mother is different. My hope is that by sharing what I’ve learned so far, I can help at least one mother or mother to be feel like she isn’t alone.
Tip #1- You’ve heard it before, and I’m going to tell you again. TRUST. YOUR. INSTINCTS. Seriously. God gave you this child, and He also gives you the smarts to care for him or her. My water broke in the form of a small leak. I thought it might be my water, but after talking to the Nurseline and a midwife, was convinced it wasn’t my water, but rather, my “bloody show” since I was not having contractions. After calling the Nurseline three times in less than two days, they told me to come in to do an amniotic fluid test just to put my mind at ease. They even went so far as to assure me I did not need to call my husband home from work. Surprise, surprise. My instincts were correct. The test came back positive. My water had in fact been broken and was slowly leaking. The downside to this, is that the risk of infection is significantly higher after 24 hours; which I was well beyond. I was admitted to the hospital and waited patiently for my husband to leave work, go home for our bags, and arrange dog care. We were lucky and infection did not set in until I was ready to push. However, if I would have pushed harder with the Nurseline about my instincts, it might not have even been a risk.
Tip #2- Network. Throughout my pregnancy and transition into motherhood I connected with several other mothers. Some ahead of me that have been there, done that; and some behind me that have questions of their own. We text, we converse on social media, we talk. Connecting with other moms gives you perspective. Seeing other moms succeed by trying different things is reassuring that different things work for different moms and babies- and no one way is right or wrong for everyone. Whether you’re parent or baby led, breast or formula fed- what’s right for someone else isn’t necessarily right for you. Just be sure to pay the wisdom forward to those that are just a few months behind you, wondering the same things you were! 😉
Tip #3- Give yourself a break. One of the things that surprised me most about childbirth was not the main event, but the recovery period. Oh. My. Word. Things got real. I didn’t have any major tearing, in fact they were as minor as they could be aside from not tearing at all. Yet I found great difficulty in sitting & standing for over a week. I knew childbirth was hard on your body, but no one really warns you that you’ll feel fairly helpless for a few painful days or weeks. Ouch. That being said, take all the help you can get, and if you can, spread it out. My mom stayed for a few days, which helped so my hubby could get some rest, too. Once she left, my rested hubby was able to take over and care for us. Once he went back to work (after two blissful weeks, thank The Lord!), it’s just you and baby. Needless to say, not much gets done for awhile. You feed, play, diaper and sleep. Repeat. You might find occasional 20 minute increments to eat and pee, but for awhile, you’re pretty much at the mercy of the demands of that sweet child. And that’s okay. Soak it in because time does not slow. Things WILL pile up. Dishes, dust, laundry. It will annoy you at times- but more notably, it will likely annoy your spouse when he gets home from work, especially if he’s a type A personality, like mine (love you, babe!). I sought advice from one of the lovely mothers I mentioned above. She suggested making at least ONE thing a priority. She said she picks up the family room before her husband comes home, since it’s where she and little one spend the most time, and it’s the first thing her husband sees when he gets home from work. This has been game changing advice, for me. I chose to make the kitchen a priority since coming home to a sink full of dishes is stressor for my husband. Having just one chore to do when you’re busy with a baby is a lot less daunting, and it makes you feel like you have accomplished something each day. (But don’t beat yourself up if it just doesn’t get done- your child is way more important!)
Tip #4- Take time to care for YOU. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel human. In the beginning, I took advantage of my sitz baths and used that time to shave my legs. My legs were summertime smooth! Chances are you won’t shower every day. That’s pretty normal. I make it a priority to shower at LEAST every other day (Though there may have been a few 3-4 day stretches. Whoops. Life goes on). It’s one of the easiest things I do, too. Right after a feeding, I bring the rock & play into the bathroom, set my pandora to worship music, and shower away! If my sweetheart is a little fussy, I simply give her the pacifier (my condolences, if yours won’t take one), and sing to her. We all sound better in the shower, right? 😳
I also advise investing in BLACK. First of all, it’s slimming. I don’t care who you are or what your body type is, childbirth changes your body, and it takes time to adjust to it. Also, maybe it’s just me, but I feel more human and put together on the days I don’t stay in pajamas all day. But I’m definitely not about to try and squeeze into my uncomfortably tight jeans when I’m not going anywhere. Simply changing into cute yoga pants or leggings with a black nursing tank and a comfy robe or cardigan makes me feel less stir crazy and ready for the day.
I still have a lot to learn and several things I’m working on. I’ll blog about those things in the weeks and months to come. For now, I’m going to cuddle and kiss my sweet baby girl.