There’s nothing like having and raising a baby to shake up your world.
Once upon a time, in the land of 3 months pregnant, a 25-year-old woman thought she had it all figured out.
She knew she wouldn’t want to be messing around with babywearing or any of that weirdness, and she certainly knew that she’d be losing “the baby weight” ASAP.
Pregnant me knew she was going to sleep train her little squishy baby as soon as that kiddo hit the “developmentally appropriate” age of 6 months.
Pregnant me and new parent me are two wildly different species.
Hindsight’s a bitch. It’s a cliché for a reason that your life is literally never the same after having children. Here are a few things I just *wish* I had known before my daughter was born.
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Enough with the baby stuff!
Babies are very inexpensive creatures. Seeing as they’re fairly immobile (unless you have one that’s particularly precocious), they’re unlikely to head to the store and rack up a CC bill buying a massage chair and Xbox One.
What is expensive are societal expectations of BIG baby showers and the MASSIVE registry lists that they come with.
Sure, there are things that make life easier, but is a nursery that cost the same as a mid-range car really going to make a difference to someone who spends the majority of the day with their eyes shut?
Of course, parents-to-be are among the most sage and informed of all humans and will inevitably shun this advice (as they should!) and buy mountains of crap anyway!
When we discovered we were going to be a family of three, Adam and I made a stupidly long list containing every conceivable baby item. We did end up buying or being given the majority of products on the list but we bought second hand but BNWT.
What happened next, you ask? Our baby didn’t sleep in the rocking bassinet with 3.5 million sound and light functions we so lovingly purchased for her. Oh no.
She coslept in bed with us for a good few months before finally graduating to the bassinet we had originally bought her, not even glancing in the direction of the expensive cot we’d bought her months prior.
My advice? Babies are cheap, just have something to mop them up with, and you’re golden.
Relatives, can’t live with ’em.
So it’s Christmas and your Great Aunt once removed insists that you have to stop breastfeeding by the time young Lenny/Linda reaches their first birthday, or else they’ll turn out ~weird ~.
Or maybe your rough and tough uncle decides its time your 4-month-old “cuts the cord” and wants to take them for an overnight stay to hunt wild pigeon, even though you and your partner aren’t ready.
It could be more immediate family, or strangers, with “well-meaning” comments. Advice and *tips* such as:
Enjoy every minute!
“When X was that age they didn’t/did/would always/would never”
Trying to hold the baby/touch the baby when you’d rather they didn’t
My advice? These people are adults and their feelings aren’t your priority, your priority is your health and that of your babies. Don’t be afraid to shut down unhelpful conversations.
Don’t be afraid of parenting how you want
Being pregnant, I was convinced I’d be a loner mum forever. I had no friends in the state, my husband was the only person who I spoke to frequently and I didn’t even have any online friends.
Ways to meet mums friends is a post totally in itself (coming soon) but I will say, don’t completely buy into the negativity you may hear about “mummy wars”.
Fears I had during pregnancy weren’t friendship exclusive. There were big fears around not loving my daughter.
Having suffered from depression for a large chunk of my life, I was convinced that the PPD fairy would wave her ugly wand and I’d be blessed with the inability to love my child.
I over-prepared for what I considered to be inevitable. At least she’d have a loving Dad, even if she had an emotionally distant mum?
What bullshit! Although the feelings I experienced for my daughter when she was first born were complex, they were not negative in the slightest and not at all what I had been anticipating.
The constant worry I had experienced about raising a baby through pregnancy, the “what-ifs”, they hadn’t all been for nothing.
They taught me what was important for me to focus on and look out for in the future, but ultimately, I was pleasantly surprised when life turned around and said nah.
My advice? Be a little flexible with your plans. You never know what’s going to happen a little way down the road.
What would you tell yourself about raising a baby?
This Anxious Mum