I have learned a lot over the last year. Not because I went back to school, but because I gave birth to another human being. The first thing I can tell you is that I now understand my own Mother better. Looking back I understand why she would get frustrated with us, and why she would tell us no, or the reason behind her actions. I understand why she would get mad when she was trying to take a bath and we were bothering her. I took my first bath in almost a year only 3 weeks ago. (It was glorious by the way. Haha) I give my Mother credit. She raised 4 kids. Some days I think I am having a hard time raising 1! Below is some of what I have learned in the last year, and I know the list will only grow. Haha!
Babies do not need to cost a lot of money: Hand me down baby items are awesome. So what if they are pre-loved. Your child is just going to throw-up and poop on it. Also, it doesn’t matter what gender clothes you put on your child. Girls can wear blue, and boys can wear pink.
No need to buy baby food. There are so many resources out there to reduce the cost of baby food to almost nothing. Coupon, use coupon apps, write letters to the baby food companies and see if they will send you free samples and coupons. You can also make your own baby food. You can puree almost anything.
Our grandparents and parents were on to something with cloth diapering. Cloth diapering can save you thousands over the 2-3 years your child will be in diapers, and once you are done you can sell your cloth diaper stash to other moms and recoup some of your starting costs. I wish I had started cloth diapering sooner. My LO pooped out the back of her disposable diapers all the time before I cloth diapered. (RIP all the onesies that met the poop stain monster.) If cloth diapering is not your thing then disposables don’t need to be expensive either. Find the kind that works for your child and coupon, use coupon apps, and write the manufacturer for coupons and free samples.
Everyone will be in your business, and you will meet a ton of new people: Once you become pregnant it’s as if your uterus is no longer just yours. Everyone will be in your business wondering your plans for childbirth and rearing. I learned very quickly how to stand up for myself and my LO. I try very hard to be nice when I need to tell strangers no. You will meet random people at the grocery store who will gravitate to you and your LO. You will probably have to tell them to not touch or no you can’t hold my child. It gets easier, but it also makes you stronger in other areas where you have to say no or its none of your business. I also have met a lot of new mom’s like myself and I enjoy hanging out with them. It opened up my social circle and I love it.
When you have kids your heart will grow just like the Grinch’s: I knew what love was before my LO was born, but the love I feel now for her, my husband, and our family has been magnified. It amazes me how much love you can have for such a small human being that tests your will and sanity almost every moment of everyday.
Your love life with your partner doesn’t need to change: You might need to get creative or start scheduling alone time with your partner, but your love life doesn’t have to change. I remember hearing from a lot of people who said adult time with my husband was going to change drastically. The only difference is you have another human being you have to work around. Baby sleeping in your bed? Move to the floor! Just heed any Doctors advice for recovery and your own feelings. Make sure if you’re not ready say something to your partner. Sometimes the mind takes a little bit longer to heal then the body.
Your body will change: Speaking of body. This one was the hardest lesson for me. My body did change. Not drastically, but it is different. My boobs are different and I had a C-section so my lower stomach has a scar that I don’t like. It can be hard. My husband doesn’t love my body any less, but I personally just have to get over the difference.
Other lessons: I also learned you will be tired, cranky, emotional, and sometimes feel like you are doing a horrible job. I am here to tell you that it’s OK. You are allowed to have those feelings. Just make sure you work through them, and if you are having a hard time with them talk to someone. Postpartum Depression (PPD) is real and can get bad. (Men can also get PPD by the way.)
Always remember, you did an amazing thing birthing your child, and you are doing a kick-ass job parenting. Rock on Mama’s and Papa’s!