Fresh Insight For The First Time Mama
Without question, there are so many things that start swirling through your head when you see that pink line. And one quick Google search of “How to prepare for baby?” yields 2.7 BILLION search results. That is a never-ending rabbit hole, and one that is sure to make you think that you will never be as prepared as Google thinks you should be.
So how can you approach first-time mamahood without feeling so overwhelmed? I think you do this by ignoring the massive “how to prepare for baby” question entirely. Instead, choose one area to dig into, one book to guide you, one voice on social media that you feel good about trusting. From the get-go, take a few minutes to write down what you’re scared of, what you feel clueless about, what areas you think you could use some advice or help in. Then, move through those specific topics, without wasting time, energy, or anxieties on the vastness of information (about everything) that is available to us. When we stop and take a deep breath, when we get specific and ignore the enormous rabbit hole, when we remember that we get to decide what matters to us - it’s so much easier to learn and prepare in a way that feels doable.
With that being said, I wanted to share 9 completely random tips and tricks that I think made some of the mamahood stages easier. Some of these are “big” picture things; others are small little details that may have big impacts. I’ve intentionally broken them down into sections, as a reminder to you to narrow your focus. You do not have to research every topic all at once. You do not have to take every tip offered. You do not have to listen to every voice. Deep breath - you already know more than you think you do.
- Register for things beyond the baby stage! If you are blessed with lots of people in your life who want to gift you things, take advantage of that! Baby onesies are cute - but what if someone is willing to get you the expensive convertible toddler car seat? Let them!
- Stock a “baby” medicine cabinet: While there are some things you can’t give a newborn baby (or you need to ask your baby’s provider first), it is really nice to have what you need for fevers, tummy upset, congestion, etc. This is especially helpful when it’s 2 am and you were really wishing you had some Tylenol.
- Let go of name brand: Too often, we are told “The 10 Baby Things We Need” - and each item on those lists costs hundreds of dollars. Yes, there are things you need. But be careful in believing the narrative that the most expensive brand is “best” or is what “good” moms choose.
- Prioritize your goals: Birth plans are great, but I actually love birth priorities instead. If you have a partner, sit down with them and prioritize the things about birth that matter to you. Unmedicated? No monitoring? No IV? A doula? Then prioritize these things. It’s okay if everything on the list matters - I was the same way! But prioritization allows you both to make any choices you need to make with those ultimate goals in mind.
- Choose one educator or book: I love that we have so many options now for education and support. But it can also be too much. Once you’ve prioritized the things you long for, seek out a single voice or resource that you believe best speaks to your hopes or vision for your birth process.
- Give up “perfect” birth and focus on “good:” It is too easy to get swept up in socially created ideals around birth. There are many ways to have a “good” birth - and YOU get to decide what is good - without comparing to whatever it is you’ve been told a perfect birth should look like. You and your baby and your birth are unique - and there are so many different stories that are so, so good.
- Let yourself heal: Even if you feel incredible after your birth, the placenta leaves an 8-9 inch wound on your uterus! This is true for EVERY person who gives birth. Your body has been doing an incredible amount of work for 9+ months - please, be gracious to it.
- Invest clothing for you: It is worth it to find bras that fit, to invest in pajamas or loungewear that feels good and soft on your skin. Even those who lose all the weight immediately will still find that clothes fit differently, that their chest significantly changes, that they could use some stretch and softness around their middle. If your baby is getting sweet new onesies, you deserve that clothing that loves your new body too.
- Trust your intuition - it’s real: Yes, there is lots to learn. But I promise you - your intuitions are so much smarter than you are likely giving them credit for. Trust them. Listen to them. When your favorite provider or influencer or educator seems to disagree with you - that’s fine. Listen, learn, and then trust yourself too. YOU know your child better than anyone else. And even those who know more “clinically” don’t know your baby and their rhythms the way that you do.
The truth is, there is a lot to think about when you are pregnant. And that learning can serve both you and your baby well, throughout your lives together. But your baby also needs a mama who knows how to decide what matters to their family - and healthily tune out the rest.