Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Had My Baby

I recently read a blog post with a similar title to my own, you can read it here. It spoke of the anxieties, fears, and doubts every new mother has and that in the end, it really will be okay. I, for one, can say ditto to that article. Fortunately, I did have someone there to tell me everything was going to be okay, my mother...okay and my husband a little bit. As I pondered on the article though, there were a few things I felt a little bit jipped on not being told.

First, I feel like all new mothers need to be told that it is literally a requirement for you to sleep when your baby sleeps. I'd heard this my whole life, but really didn't take it seriously until about two weeks ago, and my baby is almost five months old. Why is it exactly you want to sleep when your baby sleeps? I'll tell you why, because when you don't sleep your mind starts to descend into this very dark place. When you don't sleep for more than 4-5 hours a night for nights on end, the darkness pulls you down. You get grumpy. You get mean. You get impatient. When you don't sleep, let's just say, you have a better understanding of why those mothers do what they do when you hear about them on the news. Not that you ever could or would do those things, but you have a better of understanding of why they do them...because they are tired (and maybe a little psycho). You cannot be a functioning, purely loving, kind, gentle, and patient mother when you do not have enough sleep. You turn into a grumpy snappy person you don't want to be.

Second, there is nothing in the world that can prepare you for being a mother. Nothing. I'm sure all my readers that are not mothers are thinking, "yes, I've heard that before" BUT NO, YOU HAVEN'T. Here is a little are your baby's burp cloth, wipee, blanket, pillow, binky, towel, punching bag, food dispenser, and last but certainly not least, you are their entertainment. Yes, folks, you really are their binky and their burp cloth at times. And whew, you've gotten your lil babe down for a nap, you set the sleeping baby in the carseat, head to the bathroom with said carseat, get the carseat arranged with your precious cargo just so, hop in that much needed shower, lather up your hair, and "wwwwwaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!" So you rip open the shower curtain and try to do a happy dance to get your baby to stop crying all with your hair lathered up and your butt naked body half frozen from the bathroom air. Ahh...the things we do for our kids.

Third, in the beginning, breastfeeding sucks so bad! For the first six weeks of breastfeeding, your nipples will feel like someone took 220 grit sandpaper and went to town on your precious nipples. When you walk outside on a cold day, or heck, walk into a room with the A/C on full blast your nipples will get so hard. It will feel like you have grade A diamond cutters on your chest. It will get better, I promise you, it will get better. Keep at it and use a double dose of nipple cream. I can honestly say there are very few things I now enjoy more than nursing my baby. There is such a sense of satisfaction and comfort knowing that your boob is a cure all. LITERALLY. A cure all!

And finally, I was reading a book, the topic on sleeping and children no less, and it gave me some of the best advice I've ever gotten on how to be a mother. I'm paraphrasing here, but it said something to the effect of: be a mother. You can't be a mom if you are always out and about, going here or there, doing this and doing that. Stay at home and be a mother. Stay at home and teach your children, laugh with them, be silly with them, sing with them, love them. I wish someone had told me that it is okay to just stay home and be with my baby. I don't have to go places and do things to be a good mom....I can stay home and be a great mom! It really doesn't matter if I don't leave the house all day, except to check the mail. It doesn't matter if my hair is a hot mess and I wear sweats all day, that isn't the important thing. The important thing is that I'm a hot mess at home with my sweet baby. He doesn't care, he likes me better that way, or at least that's what I tell myself. ;)

Sometimes I get so frustrated with the concept of being a mother. Why can't I have a second to myself? Why can't he just sleep through the night already? Why will he not adhere to any type of schedule? But at the end of the day, as he nuzzles into my neck, and I squish my lips into his cheek, there really is nothing better. There is this little person that depends on you for everything and you cannot help but love them. You love them so intensely because you love those you serve. I'm not perfect, but the love I have for my little person is. I wish someone had told me all these things, but I guess you can't quite explain "the dark place," dancing butt naked with the shower curtain wide open, rawer than raw nipples, and grungy hair and sweats everyday to a mom-to-be and have her understand the full meaning. Oh well, can't say I didn't try.