Saturday, July 21, 2012

10 things I wish someone had told me before

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When you become a mother, your life changes in ways you would have never imagined, as much as you tried to.
People tell you many things about it, and chances are you have so much info you don't really know what to do with it. At least, it happened to me. There were some things, though, that nobody told me and I would have loved to know before they happened.

These are 10 of them:

1. If somebody tells you "you sound different with these contractions, like it is more serious this time", listen.

It doesn't matter if they do not really hurt and are only making you uncomfortable. Chances are they are right. Of course, there is no need to run to the hospital or call your midwife, but keep in mind that this might be it.

2. Chances are you will forget everything you've learned about breathing "right", but it is okay.

Do not freak out, keep on breathing anyway, that's the most important thing. You may learn things you never knew, though, like that if your hands and face get all tingly, you are hyperventilating. Also, it supposedly possible to breath deep and slow while trying not to push (but I'm not too sure about it).

3. At some point, you will get very scared and start to think you can't do it. Even if you have never been afraid of birth and labor before.

But you know what? You were right all along: you can do it, and you will. Don't be ashamed to admit to yourself that you are afraid, it will be easier if you just accept it and let others guide you through fear. Midwives, doctors and doulas have seen it many times and know how to help you, trust them with this.

4. When the bag of water breaks, it makes a "pop" sound.

Yeah, I know, this does not help much. I would have liked to know it, though, so I wouldn't have been startled when it happened (and maybe I wouldn't have scared Partner and the midwife with my sudden "WOAH!")

5. A few hours after giving birth, you will realize you sounded like you were drugged all along.

And you might very well be very ashamed of it. I know I was. It's not something you notice while it happens, so you can't help it. But it's okay, you can always blame hormones, and it'll be something fun to remember later. Just don't ask your significant other about it: "Partner... did I sound like I was drunk?" "Yup" "But... much?" "You have NO idea!"

6. The baby will sleep soundly the first night, and won't wake up even if you poke/gently shake/undress him, not even when you change his diaper.

And you know what? It is perfectly normal. Don't freak out, he will wake up eventually, and then he will eat. Take this chance and try to rest as much as possible.

7. You, on the other hand, will be wide awake.

Not only because the baby is sound asleep and you are worried, or because the bed is not the most comfortable ever. The rush of hormones will take your sleep and exhaustion away. Try to rest, though, because it will be one of the calmest nights of many.

8. If anything happens to your child, you will believe it is your fault.

Hasn't taken to breastfeeding as well as you imagined? Your fault. Smelly cord? Your fault. Sleeps too much? Your fault. Doesn't sleep enough? Your fault. Sneezes? Your... you get the idea. The first days your most common thought might well be "What have I done wrong that this is happening to my baby?"

9. But chances are nothing of what is worrying you so much is actually your fault.

Many things happen to a newborn, and most of them are perfectly normal (like the ones I mentioned in the last point). Others might not be "normal", but as long as you haven't dropped him on his head, you're probably free of blame. Really. He's not crying that much because you are a bad mom, promise.

And, finally...

10. You will eventually believe what you just did, and you will be prouder of yourself than ever before.

And you have all the right to! You've created a human being, a new life. There's nothing more worth of pride in this world, is there?

Oath's mom

*I had a natural birth without drugs at a hospital (though I spent most of labor at home, waiting for it to "get real"). I can't know if the things related to labor and birth would apply to any other kind of experience, but as far as I know they are common when giving birth naturally and drug-free*

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