I chose to write this post as part of Life With Levi’s Breastfeeding Blog Hop. This week’s topic is “I Wish I Would Have Known”. Enjoy!
Before I became a mom, I knew that there were a lot of things about my life that would change. My evenings were spent reading books, magazines, blogs, and websites about pregnancy and motherhood. I would soak it in like a sponge, but I don’t know that I took more than 10% of it to heart. Now that I am a mom, I know that there are a lot of things that no book, magazine, blog, website, or other parent (or in some cases, non-parents ::ahem::) could have prepared me for. These are the things I wish I would have known…
There is no greater love than the love a mother/father has for their child. For me, I knew I was a mother the moment I found out I was pregnant, but I wasn’t a MOM until I heard Arianna take her first breath of life. Five months ago, I got to feel that joy again when Evan was born. From that moment, for each baby, all I wanted to do was hold them and love on them. Every day when I look at my babies, I feel that love wash over me again.
There is a good deal of guilt being a parent. About four and a half weeks into Arianna’s life, I had a mommy meltdown and I needed a break from her. The second I dropped her off with my friend for the night, I immediately wanted to turn around and get her back–why should I want to feel any joy without my baby? But I needed it. I was a single mom, taking care of my baby pretty much alone 24/7, and probably would have gone crazy if I didn’t take a little break, have dinner with my friends, and sleep in. Now, I feel guilty when my family drops me off at work because I am missing some of the “new” moments in their life. I feel guilty when I eat cheesy macaroni or buttered popcorn in front of lactose-intolerant A. Will the mommy guilt ever let up? Probably not, but I think it’s a good kind of guilt…it proves you are a good parent I guess.
There is a lot of pain involved in the first few days, but it goes away. Since I had an “emergency” c-section with Arianna and didn’t get to try VBAC with Evan (I met my scheduled date too soon), I can only talk about the pain of surgery regarding childbirth. That and weeks of contractions makes a body weak, tired, and battered. Anyways, the surgery, the adjustment to nursing, followed by odd body reactions–excretions that don’t need discussed, lead to the need for a lot of healing. I can’t tell you how quickly the pain goes away, but it does. But it is also painful, so I am not going to deny that truth.
How great baby wearing is when A was little. There is a great feeling when I wear Evan in our Moby Wrap–it reminds me of when I was pregnant and cradled him close. This is an amazing feeling, and I think that not enough people know how convenient it is to cuddle a baby close yet have two free hands (because when you wear a baby, you really SHOULD have two free hands, not having to support the baby all the time). I’ve been able to shop without a meltdown and walk without a stroller. I’ve found it also helps with those people who like to come up to babies and touch and coo. They still love to look at the baby and compliment how cool it looks to “wear” a baby–but there’s something about the baby being so close to their parent that keeps the touchie feelies at bay.
You have to be willing to laugh, and laugh a lot. There are a lot of opportunities to laugh as a parent, and you have to be ready to do it. Both of our kids give us so much to laugh about every day–attempts to roll over, grunts, singing silly songs, eating pints of blueberries without abandon–and we are thankful. It makes life worth living.
Be ready to get flack about your parenting choices, but remain strong. You, the parent, knows what is best for you and your children. Be it breastfeeding, diapering, discipline, education, childcare, religion, television, diet…there is going to be someone who has something to say about your choices. It’s important to have atleast one or two other people to turn to who understand your choices; however, you can’t expect everyone to agree with you. Keep your head up, and be proud to make your own decisions. It will make your child unique, and the world needs more of that.
And finally, Babies really do grow up fast!I can’t tell you how quickly the last two and a half years have flown by. Our daughter has gone from smiles and coos to talking in sentences, counting by twos, and trying to write her name. It feels like our son is doing everything his sister did at lightning pace. The whole “Cherish them, they grow up so quickly” sure is one piece of advice that I wish I really would have taken to heart. Sadly, there is nothing you can do about this one–they just keep growing (which is in itself a precious gift)!