When I first found out that my husband and I were expecting our first child I thought to myself, ” Psh, I got this!” I grew up being the eldest of five and figured that I was more than qualified to be a first time mom. I had so much confidence in my teenage years of babysitting and helping to raise my siblings that I couldn’t see me possibly struggling with a little one of my own.
Boy was I wrong
While working part time gave me plenty of R&R opportunities, there were some days that made getting out of bed unbearable. Between the morning sickness, lack of sleep, increased body temperature, and the constant pain my body was experiencing, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it to full term. Thinking back on those first few months there were tons of questions I had and would often ask my mother-in-law or my mom, who would refer me to my OBGYN…. I will say this about the doctor that I saw all the way up to the delivery of my son, I was treated like I had been pregnant before. There was nothing unique or special about my visits or the fact that I was a first time mom. The vision of having a special bond with the doctor that would deliver my son was quickly shattered. There was very little information shared that would help to prepare me for what was to come physically and emotionally. I had done the research and took in all the advice, and had it on good authority that the clinic I went to was one of the best in the area I lived in. I had planned on having a vaginal birth, but little did I know that I would have a 10 lb 5 Oz healthy baby boy and would have to switch to having a C-section after 36 hours of active labor.
Bearing all of that in mind and hoping to pass on some tidbits of motherly advice, here are the Top 5 pieces of wisdom that I wish someone would have given me about preparing to being a first time mom;
1.) The Best All-Natural Medicine for Morning Sickness: Sleep! During the first trimester, I switched my work schedule to days only, and made sure that I did everything possible to get to bed by 8 pm. Sure, I didn’t get to watch much TV, surf the internet, or get the usual chores done, but I did get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night! As time progressed I found it harder to sleep with my increasing body temperature and the inability to sleep on my back. If you can invest in a body pillow! It’s amazing how much worse nausea is when you’re not getting enough sleep.
2.) Pass the Milk, Please: It’s no secret that milk does a body good especially a pregnant body. And some studies suggest that drinking a certain amount of milk while pregnant may actually help your baby grow taller as an adult. At one point in my pregnancy, I would go through about 2 gallons of milk a week. My husband was shocked at how I went from hardly drinking a glass pre-pregnancy to opening the fridge, twisting the cap off and guzzling milk straight from the jug. So if this sudden urge to consume the entire dairy isle at the grocery store happens to come upon you while pregnant, don’t worry it is normal.
3.) Prenatal Vitamins: I really struggled with this one. At my first visit my OGYN asked me if I had started taking prenatal vitamins, and I told him no because I wasn’t sure which one to take. Vitamins come in so many different forms and some work for others and some don’t. He advised me to try and find one that had DHA and Folic Acid. I found them hard to swallow, literally! I would almost immediately get sick after taking my prenatal pills no matter what time of day I took them or with what meal. I brought this to my doctor’s attention but little was given as far as advice on how to keep them down. So I did my best to keep my stomach at ease and eventually I noticed that my body started to feel better and they didn’t give me a desire to upchuck every time I took them. Bottom line : TAKE THE VITAMINS, YOUR BODY WILL THANK YOU LATER.
4.) The Pounds Don’t Always Melt Off: I gained about 40 pounds in total while I was pregnant with my son. At some point during my second trimester I just stopped caring about counting calories and just ate what my body craved. Which consisted mainly of Baja Blasts and copious amounts of Taco Bell Cantina Bowls. I had planned on breastfeeding and had read that for most moms the weight would just melt away. For me, it was the exact opposite. My son had a difficult time learning how to latch on for the start. I even had a lactation consultation at the hospital before we departed for our new home. And no matter what position I tried he just wouldn’t stay latched, not to mention that it was a lot more painful than I expected. So I often had to pump breast milk and feed him with a bottle. Well, about a month in to pumping my milk started to dry up and I had to start compensating my son’s lack of breast milk in his diet with formula. I felt very frustrated and discouraged…. I tried Mother’s Milk, eating certain foods to help stimulate milk production…. nothing worked and I eventually stopped producing milk. So instead of the weight falling off, my body just held on to the weight… no matter how much I dieted or exercised. And at eight months postpartum I am just now getting back in to the gym to start aggressively attacking my post baby body. Don’t let it discourage you from breastfeeding; just know you may need to be patient in getting that pre-baby body back.
5.) Postpartum Depression or Baby Blues?: Do your homework on this especially before you go to deliver. There has been a long standing attitude towards mother’s who struggle with PD. Often misunderstood, if left untreated, can lead to you potentially harming yourself, your child, and can cause unease among your family and friends. When I first suspected that I might have PD I spoke to my OBGYN (I switched to the doctor that delivered my son on the day of his birth, best decision ever!) about how I was feeling and about what I had been experiencing since the birth. He said that it was nothing to be ashamed of, and that he was proud of me for coming forward with my concerns and that we would work on it together. Treatment for PD can takes weeks, sometimes it takes months and it’s not uncommon for it to take years to help treat, but it is not a permanent emotional state. Which is awesome news! So at that appointment we discussed the difference between postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety (Yes there is a difference) and once we narrowed down which one I was most likely experiencing he wrote me a superscription for a mild anti-depressant. Almost six months later and I would say this has to be the best decision I made following the birth of my son. Don’t ignore your body or your emotions, chances are you may have a hormonal imbalance that needs to be addressed and corrected.
What items would you add to this list? Please leave your comments below!
Have a blessed and happy day!