Looking back over the years since I’ve had my first baby, there have been countless lessons learned, wisdom gained, and knowledge acquired–and I’m still learning. There have so many times I’ve muttered to myself “I wish I knew that the first time!”, and with some things, wondered why in the world no one ever filled me in beforehand!
So…I’m going to do that for you. Six babies later, I’m sharing not only some of the truths I’ve learned, but also tips on some baby basics and advice for new moms, and maybe–hopefully– you’ll glean a little something that will help you on your motherhood journey. And while you’re in the thick of it, you’ll know that someone else has been there, and understands.
You ready? Here we go…what I wish I knew with baby #1! (affiliate links included below)
You will still look pregnant after you have your baby. Like 4-5 months pregnant. At least. Unless you are a freak of nature (and I still love you if that’s you–just extremely jealous), you will probably wear your maternity jeans for a month or two after your baby is born, and at the very least, lots of very stretchy and comfy yoga pants. This came as a big shock to me. I had no idea that that’s how it worked, and I squeezed into the pants I brought to the hospital to wear home. So, just be prepared. That’s half the battle, right? Bring your comfiest, stretchiest pants with a waistband that won’t hurt you (especially if you have a c-section, like I did several times). Your stomach will go down over the next weeks, but it takes time.
Just remember—you are a ROCK STAR. You just grew and gave birth to a tiny human, and you’ve earned your stripes, and that stomach. You are beautiful, and even though you don’t feel it, tell yourself in the mirror at least ten times a day how awesome you are. If you forget, I will remind you.
Trust your instincts.
As a new mom, you might be wondering if you have the “mom instincts” to know what to do, and how to do it. If they just “come”, or if they happen over time. Actually, it’s a little of both. You’re the mom, it’s your baby, and with that comes an innate sense of what “feels right”, and what doesn’t. Listen to it. Trust it. Don’t be afraid to act on it.
When my oldest was just two weeks old, his umbilical cord was just not looking right. The whole surrounding belly button area was red and a little inflamed, and even though I had no idea what it was actually supposed to look like, I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right. He was also so fussy, I couldn’t get him calmed down, and I decided to take him into the doctor to get it checked out. I was nervous about it, because I didn’t want the doctor to think I was crazy. If nothing was wrong, I would like really foolish, and it would suddenly be very obvious that I had no idea what I was doing. In the end, I decided I would much rather go in and look a little silly, then not go in and be worried sick, or have something be really wrong.
When I got to the office, it took only about five minutes before they sent him directly to the PICU of the nearest children’s hospital–we skipped the emergency room, everything. He had a very serious bacterial infection that required a week in the PICU, a PICC line inserted and another week at home on heavy antibiotics. The doctors kept asking me over and over again how I knew, how just a little redness around the belly button clued me in, but I didn’t really have an answer other than I just knew. I didn’t know what was wrong, or that would be that serious, but I’m so glad I trusted those instincts. That has proved to be the case over and over again, with all of my children, in every situation, both small and large.