What I Wish I Would Have Known Before Motherhood
As a mother to a little girl, I've started to think about what I want to be able to tell my daughter as a "heads up" before she becomes a mother(if she's decides to do that).
1) How hard nursing can be.
There are many different approaches to this subject. Whether it's not even wanting to nurse, deciding to nurse and your baby choosing never to latch, chapped nips, bloody nips, excruciating pain in your nips, not having a good supply, having TOO much, nursing in public, not nursing in public, etc., etc.. NURSING IS HARD. It's also hard to compare yourself to others, so let's be honest here moms....
Knock it off.
You are not the lactation goddess that may be leading a La Leche league, or the perfectly posed naked mom with her baby perfectly sucking her boob. Strive to your limit, and stop when you've hit it. Everyone is different. Show your baby that that's okay.
2) It's okay to want to keep up.
You start seeing dishes pile up, the toilet accumulate pee stains, mold in the bathtub(personal experience), dirty floors, and trash on trash on trash. I have always been the type of person to never be able to have the house clean enough. I also never had enough time during Lenni's nap to finish everything I wanted to. HOWEVER- I didn't put down the vacuum. I began making a game of it. Lenni is a champion when it comes to entertaining herself, and it's honestly awesome. She'll talk to herself and wack toys on the ground and maybe come crawling to the bathroom as I'm hoisting my body over the side of the tub to scrub. My opinion? I want my daughter to be able to play in a clean house, and not stick whatever is on the floor in her mouth. To some, that could be bad parenting. To me, it's life. I don't want to live in a messy house, and neither does my husband or daughter. So, I clean as much as possible while she's sleeping, finish whatever I need to while she plays by herself, and then get to spend the rest of the day with her and my husband in a clean house.
3) Sometimes you won't bond with your baby.
I didn't want Lenni. Plain and simple. I didn't want to be a mom or to have a daughter(I wanted sons). After she was born, the motherhood instinct immediately kicked in, but I didn't feel an ounce of love for her. I was hearing the echo of voices in my head saying "it'll all change when you see your baby for the first time". Nothing changed. I didn't apply for the job, or anticipate receiving the title. I was holding a tiny human that just shot out of my body and I was supposed to fall in love with her? No way.
Shortly before giving birth, I had a friend randomly reach out to me to share her similar experience. She didn't bond with her baby, and she was telling me that it was okay. I re-read her message after having Lenni, and I can't tell you how much relief I felt from that. Knowing that love can take time made how I was feeling "okay" and I was able to breathe.
Give it time if you're not "feeling the bond"(whatever that means). You'll love the living shit outta that baby soon.
4) Your relationship with your husband can, and will probably change.
To be extremely transparent with you, my husband's and my relationship was not great. And then, I got pregnant and became extremely overwhelmed. We didn't know how to help one another through it, and then we immediately became parents.
The first few weeks were bliss. My husband was my rock and had to help me with everything(I was still bleeding out of my hooha and felt like I was just wacked with a bat in my lady part bones). Then, after a while, we dove into "normal" and quickly drifted a part. The fights became more severe, and the hurt feelings became deeper. We couldn't connect physically because I was emotionally exhausted and my body parts weren't healed(on another note, it takes your body longer to heal sometimes...don't force yourself to get up if you can't). We threw a baby into the midst of it all, and expected her presence to heal us.
- Your child's job is not to mend a relationship. Do not put that on them.-
As a woman who's entire being was shaken, I felt unattractive, exhausted to tears, and barely had anything to give my baby, let alone my husband.
My advice to you? Marriage comes first.
Your husband was there first, and will be there last. You MUST put your spouse before your children. Obviously not to the point of neglect, but enough to make sure that you are one another's priority.
Remember those vows that you once spoke to each other in front of hundreds of people(or at least the person who married you)? They are called "vows" for a reason. It is our job as husbands and wives to be people of our word. Take action on what you once spoke, but also understand what the other may be dealing with. Your husband could feel as alone as you do. Don't forget that.
5) TAKE A BREAK.
I remember the moment SO vividly. My daughter refused to sleep, decided to "cluster feed"(which...in my opinion...doesn't have to be a thing...you can fight me later), and would cry and cry and cry. Corey was out of town, and I called him while having a panic attack/emotional breakdown/anxiety attack/losing my mind. I was shaking and crying so hard that I almost passed out. My husband called my mom and best friend in a panic and tried to talk me through it.
Shortly after, my mom gave me the book "Baby Wise"(which is my baby bible) and my husband forced me to go out.
I went and had a cup of coffee with TWO hands, and just looked at Instagram and Facebook for an hour.
IT WAS SO GREAT.
You are not a bad mother if you need to leave your baby. You are in charge of taking care of yourself as well, and there are people around you who will help you do it.
Take that friend up on babysitting for a few hours and go have a cocktail by yourself. Tell your husband that you're peacing out for a drive after he gets home from work and your baby goes down for the night.
Take. A. Break.
6) Most importantly. You are not alone.
However, it is your choice to surround yourself with people who can help you and encourage you. If you are choosing to push your husband away, choosing to not invest in other relationships, or choosing to shut yourself off from advice or helpful words, then do not play the victim and embrace loneliness.
You think you're the first one to fight this battle? HAHAHAHA please. There are SO many moms out there who are willing and ready to help.
You think that you are unable to help another mom who you can tell is dying inside? No way.
Stop with the "mom judge" looks. Laugh with the mom who's child is losing their mind at a restaurant and share the bag of cheerios that you finally remembered to bring. Tell somebody random that they're doing a great job, or genuinely ask a mom "how's motherhood going"?
You are not a better mom then somebody else. Your kid is not better than theirs. Maybe they were dealt a shitty hand, and they're kid has reflux or a disability and can't function like other kids. Maybe that mom is raising babies by herself and has anxiety in public because she wonders when one of her kiddos will lose their mind.
Let's do this together. Let's talk about the weird things, the hard things, and the awkward things. Speak up, take a break, be conscious of those around you, and remember-
You have the hardest job out there Mama.