On Being A Veteran

I guess I could be called a veteran mom at this point. I have a four year old and a three year old and one on the way…but it some ways I still feel very new to all of this. I look to mom’s with school-aged kids and beyond as far more veteran, or seasoned, then myself. I have learned so much from neighbors, friends, co-workers, and other mom’s out there. When I need advice or help, I don’t have to look far.

With pregnancy, though, I do feel in a way like a veteran. As we all know, all births are different, but as a mom who has experienced childbirth twice, I pretty much know what to expect. Here is a list of things I have learned about childbirth and/or being pregnant and possibly how my perspective has changed with baby #3. Of course, all opinions are based on my own experiences and should not be compared to anyone else.

1. Babies come when they are ready…When I was pregnant with #1 I just assumed she would come on or before her due date (which was September 6th). When that magic date came I became aggravated, agitated, and angry with each passing day. This time around I am due on June 26th but full expect to have a July baby.
2. Some births are harder than others. The labor pains with Baby #1 were so intense I thought I was going to die, or she was going to rip my stomach apart and come out. Baby #2 was a pretty easy labor. My pain hovered at around a 4-5 the entire time. I am preparing myself for a difficult, grueling labor and if it happens that my labor is easier than I thought it would be that is awesome.
3. Tearing happens and there is really nothing you can do about it. I tore so bad with baby #2 that I needed 94 stitches. You read that right. However, I felt physically better in about a week whereas with baby #1 I felt my recovery took longer.
4. Breastfeeding is either easy or difficult. I have been blessed with good eaters and never had issues, however, I am prepared for it to be difficult. I have heard a baby that doesn’t latch can be the hardest thing a mom experiences in the first post-partum week; it can go from bad to ugly quickly and send the new mom into post-partum depression. I am not naive enough to think it should and can be easy for everyone. Ask for support and guidance.
5. You will need help. Accept it. Whether it be a friend stopping by and holding the baby so you can get a quick shower or you mother-in-law coming over for an hour so you can rest…if someone offers, say yes. You are not putting them out. People do not ask if you need help unless they are prepared to help.
6. Don’t be ashamed to send your new little gift to the nursery so you can get some sleep…especially if you labored all night or if you are so physically exhausted you cannot lift your head. I sent baby #2 to the nursery the first night and he and I both slept like a champ. And to this day he is cuddly and always wanted me. His night in the nursery did not ruin our bond.
7. There are some ugly things that happen to your body right after birth. Embrace it and do the best you can. Sweats, bleeding, chills, hair loss, crying, etc. You are a hormonal mess…
8. There will be a time (or several times) when the baby is crying and she is dry, fed, and comfortable and you have no idea what is wrong. It happens. Put her is the swing and walk away for a minute. Believe me, it is best for the both of you.
9. People will give you unsolicited advice all the time. Take it. Or leave it. But, never, ever stress over it.
10. “Take” as many goodies as the hospital provides…I am talking diapers, formula, pads, creams, anything. You are paying for it so you might as well take it.

I am sure there is more and when I think of things I might just write more.

Any veterans out there? Care to share?

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