Nobody can ever prepare you for the way you are going to feel when you bring your baby home. No prenatal class, no heart-to-heart with your mum or closest girlfriends, and no book could properly explain to you the emotion of bringing home your first child. I felt excited. I felt terrified. And, I had moments of sheer panic. I felt confident in one moment, and fearful in the next. In truth, the experience is so different for each parent, while parts of the journey are extremely similar. Here are a few things that I wish I’d known when bringing home baby, and perhaps they’ll be helpful for you mums-to-be out there. Or, they just may provide a fun little retrospective for those of you who have already brought your little bundles home…
- I wish I knew that time could stand still. Even in the busiest weeks of your life after bringing your little one home, when the baby is crying and you are home alone, time truly stands still. I recall staring at the clock, calculating the exact number of minutes it would be before my husband would be home, even if his arrival time was still hours away. Those moments were quite painstaking for me. But when I look back, it was all just part of the experience. Having to do lots of things on my own probably made me an even stronger mum in some ways. (Though I was always grateful when he walked through the front door!)
- If only I had known that Mom & Me fitness classes weren’t so scary! I was terrified that everyone in the class would be completely rid of their baby jiggle and bench pressing their two children at the same time. Though I have always been athletic, something about them kept me away from joining in on the fun. I stuck to classes like Salsa Babies, which somehow seemed less daunting. By the time I had my second daughter, I was ready to get to those “scary” fitness classes and always regretted not doing it the first time because they were so awesome!
- Please know this: if you have a two-story home, you won’t use the things on the second floor! I promise, even if you you make the second-floor baby room look like it’s ripped from the pages of the Pottery Barn catalog–complete with state-of-the-art diaper stacker, wipes warmer, and extra-plush change table–you won’t use it. You’ll grab a diaper downstairs, lay the baby on the floor (sometimes on a change pad, sometimes not) and you’ll just get it done. You’ll be changing what seems like 200 diapers a day, so convenience tends to win out in this battle.
- I wish I had known that some people have no innate knowledge of when to end their visit. I loved having people come over to see us and sometimes it was a great way to fill the time when my husband went to work. However, not everyone realizes that you don’t want them to stay for four hours. Don’t be afraid to tell them to leave! It’s your home, your baby, your rules. (And if anyone thinks you’re being rude, just blame the hormones!)
- I had always heard that people want to give you advice, and from the moment my pregnancy was public knowledge, it seemed that every mum had something to say about it. “Make sure you breastfeed, ‘Don’t let the baby sleep with you’, ‘Just let her cry it out!’, ‘You need to get your rest now’, ‘Just sleep the baby on their back – that’s what I did!'” The list goes on…and on. Bottom line ladies, take it in stride. Know that whatever choices you make for your child are going to be the right ones. You’re the parent, and you WILL instinctively know best!
There is nothing easy about becoming a parent except for loving your sweet little baby. All of the fears, concerns, assumptions and advice melt away when you just focus on how much you love this new someone who you have known just such a short time. And it only grows greater with each passing day. Now that I think of it, nothing or nobody could have prepared me for that kind of love either.
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