You might think you’re ready to become a mother. Perhaps you’re already pregnant and counting down the months, weeks, maybe even days at this point. But, no matter what stage you’re at, there is one crucial thing to remember right from the start; being pregnant and having a baby is not going to be what you expect.
It’s full of surprises, and much of the time, you’ll be learning as you go along. And, of course, your particular pregnancy and child will be entirely different from someone else’s.
So read on to learn what first-time mothers need to know to help them prepare for the profound life change they’re going through.
Ideally, you’ll start preparing for your baby before you even become pregnant. You’ll start taking folic acid, for example, and reducing your caffeine intake. You’ll quit smoking and start exercising more.
However, knowing that all this planning might come to nothing is essential. Or at least some of it might. As we said above, no two pregnancies, births, or babies are the same; knowing this is crucial. There is a lot of trial and error involved.
For example, you want to breastfeed, but your milk doesn’t come in, or the baby can’t latch on. You want to use formula, but it ends up giving your baby stomach cramps, or they’re allergic to it. You find a cradle cap on your baby’s face that you hadn’t planned for and didn’t know how to handle. You want to use disposable diapers, but they’re not cost-effective. Instead, use reusable diapers but never have time to wash them. You want to co-sleep, but the baby won’t settle, and you don’t sleep.
The baby will dictate what is needed, and to be less stressed and enjoy having your baby more, you’ll need to learn to go with the flow.
Have you heard stories about how as soon as the baby was born, the mother fell in love with them? Most people will listen to this, and many parents will tell that story to other parents-to-be. It sounds excellent, and it’s lovely to hear.
The fact is that a lot of the time, new parents immediately adore their baby. However, equally, this bond can take some time to come about.
And there is the mental health issue of postpartum depression to consider. This affects as many as thirty percent of new mothers. Yet many first-time mothers worry they’ll never feel that surge of love.
This is not something to be concerned about. With so much going on, it makes sense that your brain needs a little time to gather itself. Eventually, however, even if it takes a few months, you’ll find you’ve fallen in love with your baby and everything slots into place.
There is no ‘should’ when it comes to being a mother. What is right for one person won’t work for another; if you need help, take it.
And it’s not just about someone caring for the baby while you do other things, either. For example, perhaps you haven’t had a chance to eat properly because you’ve been busy. In that case, accept someone’s offer of home-cooked food or money for takeout – it’s essential to eat. Likewise, maybe you feel bad because your house is a mess; if someone offers to clean up for you, let them.
People want to help when loved ones and friends have babies – it’s a natural human instinct. But, ultimately, this won’t be good for you and your baby. So, if no one is offering, ask for help.
If you don’t have anyone to help you, look for experts or groups that specialize in assisting mothers. There will be people around, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.
It will make you tired and irritable. It will disrupt your usual way of life. Even if you have the most supportive partner imaginable, there will be times when you actively dislike them. You might even wish things were different.
This could spell the end of relationships that were problematic to start with. What you need to remember is that this is normal.
At this point, you can stop worrying and start enjoying your family.