A Few Things I Wish I Knew Before

from my pregnancy, through the first 8 months of caylin’s life, a lot of things came up that were unexpected–good and bad. this goes out to my preggo friends, friends of friends, or anyone needing reassurance from a fellow noob.

here it is.

  1. if you’re newly pregnant (or not stupidly uncomfortable yet), or thinking of getting pregnant, and you don’t already have kids–take a second and think about all of the things you want to do. is there a concert you’ve been wanting to see? a trip you want to take? any classes you want to do while you still have free time? take advantage of the free time you have. this is something i wish i had been better about. if you think you don’t have enough time now, you will be looking back 9+ months from now kicking yourself for not doing something awesome with all that free time you had boatloads of and didn’t even know it. do something fun. road trip. concerts. stay out late for no reason. go get ice cream at midnight. go to the movies. go out to eat. whatever. do it, have fun, and take lots of pictures.
  2. when i found out i was pregnant, my biggest, most daunting concern was postpartum depression. given my history with depression and anxiety, i was almost certain i was doomed. little did i know, there’s also such a thing as prenatal depression. my doctor never mentioned it. none of my friends who are parents mentioned it, or just never dealt with it. it wasn’t in a single article i read until it dawned on me that’s what was wrong, when i couldn’t even crack a smile and felt like the world was coming to an end, and i googled it. it is real, and it sucks. you are not alone. a lot of the media makes pregnancy seem like it’s all sunshine and rainbows, especially those moms who are gung-ho baby. it isn’t, and a lot of it does suck, and that’s okay. it doesn’t make you a horrible person or parent. i bought this and did 30 minutes every night while i watched seinfeld. not only did i feel better, but i lost weight. also, a glass or 2 of wine a week was a fantastic stress reliever.
  3. your OB might try and prescribe you prenatal vitamins. i don’t know what they are prescribing you, but the one-a-day prenatal vitamins work just fine and they’re less than half the price of the ones that my doc tried to give me, last twice as long, and have the same ingredients. read the labels. :)
  4. eating for two doesn’t mean double your food intake. it means eating healthier, possibly more often, and only about 300 extra calories a day. your doctor should tell you this.
  5. i never bought maternity clothes when i started getting bigger. i wore a lot of yoga pants, and i bought a whole mess of these dresses and rotated them every week. it was the only way to survive being pregnant through a summer in charleston. plus, you can wear them when you’re not pregnant, and you didn’t waste a whole mess of money on something you’re only going to wear for a few months of your life, if that.
  6. everyone is super nice to you. people will unload your groceries for you, at the register AND at your car. they will open every door. they will carry things for you. they will bring you food. they talk to you for no reason (sometimes this is not a plus, but it’s still nice). this is also true AFTER you have your baby, but it’s only if you bring your baby with you. after that, people don’t care about you. they care about that baby. and they want to touch it. especially old ladies at the grocery store. it’s like a magnet. i’m sure they mean well, but i will straight up lysol spray the next total stranger in the face who tries to put their hands on caylin.
  7. people puke when they give birth. what the hell. apparently, the epidural hides the pain from YOU, but it does not hide the pain from your BRAIN. apparently, when your brain knows it’s in a lot of pain, you throw up. do you know how hard it is to puke lying down? while you’re trying to get a baby out of you? i felt like a ninja when i successfully puked in the ridiculously small “bowl” they gave me to barf in. thing was like the size of a fanny pack. i made brett stand facing the wall for the whole delivery/birth, but he was close enough to still hold my hand. sometimes the bucket.
  8. the shameless nurses. i know they’ve seen it all, so i get it. but there was a reason i made brett stand with his back turned during the whole experience. there was a reason i made him shield his eyes. there was a reason i asked him to leave the room several times. i understand husbands and wives are supposed to be intimate, but i am not like that. i enjoy my privacy. i also enjoy my sex life, and there are some things you can’t unsee. and AFTER you have the baby? the nurses just don’t care. they will yank your robe or bed sheet off mid-sentence, regardless of whether or not he’s standing right there. i’m sorry, but that is not okay. ladies, talk to your nurse about your level of comfort. they have no boundaries. if you’re a nurse reading this, stop stealing people’s robes!
  9. postpartum hair loss. are you kidding me? estrogen is such a bitch. when your estrogen levels drop, your hair falls out. did you know that? because i sure didn’t. mine didn’t start until like, 4 months after, but according to the google, that is totally normal. and it can last for up to a year. A YEAR. i don’t think there will be any hair left in a year. the upside to this? i attempted curling my hair by myself for the first time in about a decade when it started, and it took all of 5 minutes. not because i’m a pro, but because i can do all my hair with 6 curls. unfortunately, i don’t own any hair spray and it is straight by the time i get to work. fail.
  10. cosleeping can be a GOOD THING. almost everything i read about mommies who cosleep swayed in favor of not cosleeping. it wasn’t until i read this that i realized it could be beneficial (and learned a lot of other helpful tips). i don’t want to get into a debate with anyone about this, but i am 100% in favor of it. if it suits you, and everyone gets their sleep, and your baby is safe and comfy, by all means, go for it. i’ve mentioned it several times on here. i coslept with caylin for about 4.5-5 months, and it was one of THE best experiences of my life for so many reasons. some people say you will spoil your baby–that’s crap. it will spoil YOU. some people say it isn’t safe–it depends on how safe you are about it and how your baby sleeps. caylin and i slept face to face every night (except for the first month or so where she slept on my stomach), and neither of us budged. she hardly ever woke up, you bond with your baby, feeding is quick, and it was the best sleep i ever had. also, babies are like miniature heaters. it was harder to ween myself from cosleeping than it was for her.
  11. this book deserves its own bullet, if only for the “five S’s”. it’s the only baby book i took a second glance at because it just makes sense.
  12. formula feeding doesn’t make you a bad mom. it’s a personal choice. almost every woman i talked to (except for the women at work who are all awesome) gave me the death stare when this topic came up. bite me, is all i gotta say. if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. don’t judge those of us who choose not to, and especially don’t judge the women who are unable to breastfeed.
  13. everyone said sleep when your baby sleeps. if i had to hear that again, i was going to punch someone. you know when that phrase is appropriate? AFTER the first 3 months (unless your baby is colicky or is just difficult, we got incredibly lucky). before that, they sleep so much. and they sleep often. if i had things to get done, that’s when i got them done. plus, when they’re that little, almost nothing entertains them. so all you do when they’re awake is carry them around. i wore caylin in her moby wrap all the time and she loved it. now, she is exhausting (in a hilarious and awesome way, of course). and she can’t even walk yet. i can only imagine. trying to entertain someone with the attention span of a goldfish is so tiring. she’s alert. she is constantly grabbing for ANYTHING. so all you do is move from activity to activity. toy to toy. fling her around. eat some more food. fling her around some more. more toys. wagon rides. i can hardly keep up.
  14. tummy time was something that the pediatrician(s) insisted on happening. along with rice cereal (i decided to stick to organic fruits, veggies, meats, veggie/whole wheat pastas) and no feeding at bedtime (which happens to be the best way to put caylin to sleep at night). well, guess what: some babies hate it. caylin hated it until about 2-ish months ago. she finally started rolling over voluntarily, and then she would get pissed that she was on her stomach. for a while, she would do it while sleeping, and it would wake her up and she’d start screaming. in my opinion, tummy time is for the birds. and the doctor wanted an HOUR A DAY. no way that was happening. she loved her jumper and her bouncer, could stand and squat and all that jazz by herself, and had incredible control for her age. she just didn’t want to be on her stomach. i respect doctors, but i also know my baby. go with your gut first. babies are on their own timeline. just let it happen.
  15. consignment shows and consignment shops are awesome. so is amazon mom combined with amazon prime, this baby food, any of these snacks/foods (caylin would eat a whole bag of rice cakes if we let her), these high chair/shopping cart covers, this list of things you may need, and these monthly baby gift boxes.

i am a young mom, a first time parent, new at this (obviously), and have no idea of what is to come. but i do know caylin, and i know that the choices i’ve made so far are what is right for her and our family. in the end, that’s all that matters.

don’t let people try and convince you otherwise. choose books/articles/blogs/etc carefully, and don’t let anyone force unsolicited advice down your throat.

[edit] i should also add, if this is your first baby, and you’re scared (i was terrified), just know that it will be the most awesome experience of your life. if you take anything away from this post, that should be it.[/edit]