Category: postpartum

7 things I wish I knew about being a new mom

7 things I wish I knew about being a new mom

Before I had my first child, I had no idea what those early motherhood days would be like. Obviously! I didn’t know many things that were to come, but there are 7 things I really wish I knew. Why nobody talks about these things with first time moms is beyond me. But I made it my goal to talk about it, good or bad, so that these things don’t catch a mom unprepared like they did me.

1. I didn’t know I would have contractions after the birth process is done. Yes, I knew the baby comes out first. I even knew the placenta is to follow. Yay me! But I had no idea there is pain in the days to follow from my uterus contracting back to its initial size. And it got worse with my second delivery. I didn’t take pain killers or anything during labor, but believe me when I tell you that I cried for them after birth, begging my midwife for something to take that pain away so I can finally rest and sleep.

2. I didn’t know my husband could sleep so deep! There we were, sharing our bedroom with a newborn. And newborns cry. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but they cry! It would wake me up, probably wake the neighbors up too, but not my husband. I would breastfeed, change the diaper, do jumping jacks, watch a movie, put the baby back to sleep and during this time, there he was. Right next to me, sleeping like a bear in a hammock. Not one care in the world.

3. I didn’t know I wouldn’t sleep. You probably think I am crazy since every woman knows new moms don’t sleep much. Now, wait a minute. I knew that! What I didn’t know is that when my baby is fast asleep, I would be by his side, making sure he is not dead. If it was day time, I would watch the chest for movement. If it was night time, I would put my fingers to his tiny nose and feel his breath. Sometimes babies sleep very deep and you can’t really tell they are breathing, so I found myself shaking the poor baby and waking him up many times. Of course, later you wanna punch yourself in the face for doing it because now you have to deal with a screaming, tired and probably scared baby.

4. I didn’t know I would be a giant ball of emotions, that I would experience feelings I have never had before and that they would be so extreme. I am not talking about post natal depression, which is a serious thing and needs to be discussed with a doctor. What I am talking about is the thing they call baby blues. Imagine you and your body had 9 months to get used to hormonal changes as they come, and they are many. And then suddenly, baby is out and your hormones are everywhere, trying to catch up with what just happened. I would feel happy and excited about the future one second and incredibly panicked and anxious the next. I would feel love for my husband when I wake up but feel suffocated and angry before we even had coffee and then later find myself crying to him about how much he means to me. I know, right? It’s extreme and powerful, so you will need to have patience with yourself during those days. You and your entire family.

5. I didn’t know food meant so much! We need food to survive and sometimes cooking is a pain, but let me tell you something. I don’t know about you, but I lost my appetite during my pregnancies (thank you hyperemesis gravidarum) and I got it back ten times after birth. Especially during my breastfeeding years. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood to cook, but I would dream about big, fancy meals with juicy meat and delicious sauces. I will be forever thankful for my friends who offered to do a 2 week rota with someone bringing cooked meals every other day. It was life saving, especially with my second baby. Having an older kid to care for and feed while trying to survive the early postpartum days is not easy!

6. I didn’t know it takes so long to get the paperwork in order for your new addition to the family. Here in Germany, at least, you have to wait for an appointment for the birth certificate–up to a month after birth. Then come all the forms and papers you need to fill in and send for your child allowance, maternity leave, this and that! Oh, and it’s also good to think about where you would like your bundle of joy to go to kindergarten. Waiting lists are loooong and it takes years to find a spot. Yeap, didn’t know that either!

7. I didn’t know I would love my child so much! This powerful love just takes over… For some it might not be love at first sight, you might not even feel it a week after you are home. It might take some time to grow in love with your child, but you WILL get there. And the love you feel is your reward for every little pain, discomfort, lack of sleep or each moment you thought you’re doing it all wrong. The love a mother has is powerful and there to stay. Because that baby is yours and you are his forever. Enjoy!