Much like any other major life change, pregnancy is often full of unplanned surprises. In fact, sometimes no amount of planning will prepare you for every situation that’s to come. However, for our femmes who have yet to step into motherhood, why not learn from the experiences of those who have? That said, we’ve collected some of the most-cited unexpectancies from a few seasoned moms who have already BTDT. First-timers, we hope our list better prepares you for this wonderfully joyful season!
Find Your Tribe
Writer and Blogger Kathy Radigan contends that finding support from fellow mommies, however challenging at first, makes for a fantastic network for support and advice. “The faster you can meet other moms you really connect with, the faster you will start to really have fun in your new role. I was astounded at how lonely I felt those first few months being home with my baby, and I was equally shocked at just how much time and effort I had to put into finding my mom ‘tribe.’ But it was so worth it.”
Stay Healthy During Pregnancy
Peyton of Maryland, a mother of two girls, says she wishes she had reconsidered her diet when pregnant with her first daughter. “I wish I had exercised more during pregnancy (I was overly afraid of injury), and also not have eaten so much! I ate healthy, but ate lots…the second pregnancy was even harder to take all the weight off.”
Getting That Body Back Takes Work
“The [post-baby] bump doesn’t just magically go away,” shares Chriselle Lim, an L.A.-based style blogger and Youtuber. Thinking her tummy “would automatically deflate like a balloon,” she soon realized that was not how her body bounced back from pregnancy. “The fluids and gunk in my stomach actually took months to digest. Even now that I workout and have been eating relatively healthy, it’s still definitely an area that I have to work on.”
Go With The Flow
“Things will not always go just as you planned,” recalls Jen, another Maryland mama, of giving birth. After learning that a complication in her pregnancy meant she could not receive an epidural, she found herself faced with an immensely challenging labor ahead of her. “I literally didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she admits. “However, I persevered and found a type of inner strength and determination with myself that I never knew I had. I birthed my first child without any pain medication…something I felt like is few and far between in this day and age! So as far as what I wish I knew…go with the flow and be prepared for things that may not be planned in everything related to parenthood. It will all work out!”
Have A Supportive Helper
Melanie, a North Carolina mom of four, recollects how helpful her nurse was throughout the labor and birth of her first child. “Your first labor is supposed to be the longest and hardest,” she says, “but it made so much of a difference to have a nurse that was at my side the whole time, coaching me through what to do next and telling me, ‘You can do it,’ and ‘You’re doing a great job!’”
Jackie is a mom of two in Durham, and found out the hard way how to avoid sleepless nights with a night owl of a little one. She says to keep “low lighting at night and open all the blinds for natural lighting during the day. Keeping the baby stimulated during the day is best, and at night low lighting is best.” This will help the baby settle into a regular day/night routine, so everybody is asleep when they need to be!
Don’t Be Afraid To Work
Of balancing motherhood and career: Feeling inspired in motherhood, Hayley Jon Parker discovered a newfound drive and ambition after giving birth to her first son. “I have always been a career-driven woman, and when I had my son the urge to follow my dreams strengthened ten fold! Life finally had a purpose. My husband is a boat captain and is away for 6 months out of the year, making running my business a challenge while balancing motherhood. I know some mothers disagree with working with small children, but I believe in teaching my son about work ethic and independence from a young age. I want him to grow up knowing that if you have a dream in life, you have to take action for it to become a reality.”
What are some of your favorite tips or stories on motherhood? Tell us in the comments below!