First off, a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who participated in lending me your mom advice here! I had asked y’all to share any personal tips on life before and after baby, and you came through, as always. The support and love John and I have received from you has been such an amazing feeling and I’m BEYOND thankful for such an amazing community. I’m honestly terrified to enter into mom-life but if it means I get to be even closer to you guys, then I’m all for it!
Since I know there’s a ton of info out there [which I’m currently trying to sift through], I thought the best way to share your advice was through some quick tips. I didn’t choose every single response to share but I did compile general trends and the overarching advice that you mama’s seem to agree on. Obviously there are endless books and resources on parenthood, but I wanted to provide something a bit different here. Think of these as quick, digestible tips from the mom’s in this community. And as always in life, take what sounds good to you and leave the rest. That’s my plan at least
Before Bringing The Baby Home
Discuss expectations with your partner and/or support system. Some areas to touch base on:
– How can they be most helpful during your pregnancy?
– What kind of parents do you want to be if raising the child together? What’s important to you both as parents?
– Do you want to be on a schedule or be more flexible? Obviously this may change once the baby comes but a lot of you said it’s nice to at least feel it out and see options.
– What type of birth plan feels best to parties involved? Who will be in the room if you go to the hospital? Are there any religious aspects you want to put into play? Who will prepare what and when for the hospital?
Hire help if you can before baby comes [i.e. dog walker, home chef delivery, part-time cleaner, a lawn service, someone to help with laundry, night nurse, etc.]. Whatever you personally want help with, just know that help is out there. It seems like most of you said this because in those first few months and the final months of pregnancy, the baby takes over [naturally]. So the less on your plate, the more peace of mind you may have in a sense. *NOTE: I know this won’t be the case for everyone, and we certainly won’t be able to hire help for all of these tasks [nor do we need to], but I think it’s about prioritizing what you & your spouse want to do, identifying what you & your spouse don’t want to do, and taking a look at finances to see what you’d be able to afford to have someone come in and help you with so that this is as enjoyable a season as it should be. It’s going to be hard but, if you can make it a little easier on yourself, you should.
Don’t push yourself too hard to ‘get it all done’. Many wrote in saying their bodies reacted negatively to too much pressure prior to giving birth, so don’t sweat the small tasks you didn’t get done before the baby comes. It all works itself out!
Have John bring the boys [our dogs] something that smells like the baby before you come home as a way to introduce them to the baby before baby actually arrives at home. Let them sleep or cuddle with one of the baby’s swaddle and learn his scent.
Invest in good prenatal massages and perinatal chiropractor appointments whenever you need them along the way. It will make the experience much more comfortable!
Get organized early. You’ll be exhausted toward the end of pregnancy. In the same vein, don’t stress if things aren’t perfect.
Don’t force yourself to be any certain type of pregnant person. There will always be someone who is working out more, cooking more, or just being ‘better’ at being pregnant, which is just silly. I really appreciate this point though because I can see how pregnancy comparison is a thing!
After Bringing The Baby Home
Things will natural slow way down after baby comes. It might drive you [as someone who is used to being busy] crazy but keep in mind that it will not last forever and it’s a beautiful season so EMBRACE. IT.
Just know that nothing will get done during that first month other than taking care of the baby.
Cry when and if you need to and remember that every mom feels like they’re struggling sometimes. Give yourself grace. Grace, grace, grace!
Accept the fact that you can’t do it all and you need to ask for help. Even when it feels like a ‘mother’s responsibility’ or anything like that. Some people noted that they came up with certain tasks for different family or friends to do once the baby came here – so that way they feel involved and like they are helping, without you having to figure out tasks when you’re dead tired. This kind of falls on both before/after the baby I think, but I plan on at least coming up with a list of ideas with John before baby.
Your priorities will just … shift. Naturally.
There’s power in delegation [in all areas of life]. Similar to the ‘pre-baby’ delegation tip, it seems like off-loading tasks in any way possible is a huge help as you navigate life as a new parent.
Set boundaries! From saying ‘no’ more to not answering work emails at all hours like you used to, a couple of you touched on this. Which honestly I haven’t thought about much before! My life and career can be very invasive in a way, and lots of things need to be handled swiftly [sales, answering DMs, sharing items that are in stock, collaborations with firm dates, etc], so I could see where I’d have a hard time building boundaries. But I know it’s doable and I’m definitely going to be working on this!
Remember that you and your partner are on the same team. A mother naturally has to do more in the beginning, and while it’s easy to ‘keep score’ with your partner or family, remember that you’re on the same team.
Be realistic about how many things you can get done in a day. Focus on one thing at a time.
Know that you might not like the newborn stage or feel an instant connection with your baby and that’s OK. Others mentioned feeling a bit down about your life prior to baby and the importance of embracing those feelings. It’s a HUGE new chapter after all!
Allow yourself a guilt-free break from work and your normal responsibilities. Remember that your main job is the baby and YOUR well-being.
Take. Time. For. Yourself. Communicate your needs to your partner when you need alone time or you need to do something that makes YOU happy.
You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to every visitor who wants to come. Obviously this will change depending on the COVID situation but a few of you said there’s a pressure to let guests come to visit..when you just want to sleep or zone out every chance you get. I’ll try to keep this in mind and create a balance here!
Alright, as I mentioned, I didn’t include all the tips but these were the main threads. Again, thank you SO much for everyone who shared insight – it’s truly invaluable for me and hopefully from some of you expecting mama’s as well. If you have anything to add to the ideas, please let me know in the comments. Thank you, thank you! xo.