Monday, February 2, 2015

Dear Pre-Baby Self

I have read a few blog posts that made me cry. Mostly they have come from Coffee + Crumbs. I have sent "A Letter to My Pre-Mom Self" to every single friend who either recently had a baby or was about to have a baby to prepare them. When I read the post "Tethered", I sobbed. I actually had a wet shirt. I happened upon each of these at a time in new motherhood when I was struggling. Reading these posts helped me realize that I wasn't alone, and they also helped me communicate with my husband (Who probably thought I was a little off the deep end...). Recently, I have been thinking about how things played out a bit differently than I expected them to. Here are a few things that, if I had known, would have helped me make the transition to being a new mom easier.

- You will forget the newborn stage. You may feel ready to pass out, you may try to clean up a few things, but your days fly by in a blur. Especially the early days. When your baby is eating ten times a day (bottle or mommy fed), you feel continually spent. I would have told myself that those beginning days are fleeting. They are grains of sand in the hourglass. Memorize that baby. Gaze an extra thirty seconds when you lay them down for a nap. Suddenly your newborn is laughing, not as snugly, and rapidly gaining independence. Enjoy the dependence, as exhausting as it may be.

In the beginning they barely open their eyes! It's amazing how small he was. Truly amazing.

- Social outings can feel stressful. It was so hard for me to calm down when we would go places. Where will I feed him? How can I avoid getting spit up all over both of us? Not to mention the "what to wear" stress. I found it hard to relax despite my friends doing their best to assist me. There are only some things mom can do, and in the early days of breastfeeding it takes FOR.EV.ER. Now I understand why moms say "It's so different with number two." I would have told myself RELAX. He will eat, he will poop, and he will most likely spit up on both of you. Bring extra clothes and have fun!

He pooped every time we were on a plane. God love ya Henry!

- There will be tears. There will be tears over running out of coffee. There will be tears over pain. There will be tears when the nap only lasts 20 minutes. There will be tears when you are overcome with the most intense feeling of love over.and over.and over. I would have told myself that between the hormones, sleep deprivation and learning curve, tears will probably come unexpectedly and frequently. Embrace the feelings, work through it, and talk about it. Other moms will share what they cried over, and then you will probably cry from laughing about it. 

Face palm. Mom is whimpering because I'm so cute.

- Take more pictures of you with the baby. I didn't want pictures taken. I felt huge, bloated, awkward and exhausted. Seriously, I can't think of worse feelings to have right before taking a picture! I would have told myself that you will cherish these pictures when you are not huge, bloated, awkward and exhausted. You'll be able to look back at them and think "My how far we have come."

We sat outside because I needed fresh air. We live in a third floor walk up, so my post C-section self was restricted to our apartment for over two weeks. 

- If you plan on absolutes, plan for frustration. Doctor's appointments, play dates, mom dates, are all subject to an adjusted sleep schedule. If Henry's doctor appointment is at 11 AM because he is always awake and fed at 11 AM, he will inevitably sleep extra long! I struggled with this as a teacher who worked on an extremely scheduled day for six years. I would have told myself that babies are their own planners. Find the humor in adjusted schedules, relax when naps are shortened, and find comfort in the fact that your baby is A-O-KAY.

Oh look! He's up! AGAIN! 

We always gain wisdom after the fact. Although I struggled in the beginning, I would have told myself  "It will always be worth it. Always."

How about you? What would you have told yourself before having a baby? Were there any preconceived notions that differed after birth? What surprised you the most? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

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