Would’ve, should’ve, didn’t. So many things we look back at and wish we had maybe done differently as we ventured into mommy hood. No matter how many books we read or web searches we do, it is impossible to be completely prepared. And hey, that’s part of the parenting gig. But oh how we often wish that we could go back in time and do things differently. We could have saved ourselves a lot of time, stress, money and so much more. With all of this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to write my pre-baby self an informative letter from today’s point of view.
Dear Before-Baby Self,
It’s official…I’m pregnant!
I write you, err, me from the future. I have been there, done that and now know a LOT more than before baby was in the picture. I cannot change the events that will take place but I can reassure you that it always gets better and that it can always be harder. I also want to warn you in advance, that all of your basic daily needs are about to become much more complex. Showers, bathroom breaks, meals, even finding time to clip your nails will become rushed and difficult. Enjoy these daily activities now! Soon you’ll be missing the luxury of a long, quite shower. With that said, lets talk pregnancy.
Let’s start at the beginning. Conceiving was a bit emotional. You tried for 5 months before finally getting a “positive” pregnancy test only to have it slip away days later. But alas, 3 months later, you are officially pregnant! Bask in this moment of joy and remember the wonderful butterfly feeling you have. It’s only a matter of months before your body starts torturing you.
Morning sickness and boat rides on rough waters don’t mix!
Pregnancy, the best and worst feeling, right, Kristin? Heartburn, constant morning sickness, constipation, pinched nerves, insomnia…oh joy! Don’t panic, the moment you feel baby kick or see the sex revealed you’ll forget all of those pains…for now anyway. And I’m glad to see you enjoying it. Eating healthy and indulging is a good balance. What isn’t the best decision? Agreeing to that boat ride to Catalina Island while 3 months along with major morning sickness. Sorry, I don’t think that is going to work out well for you.
This image was my obsession for months. A glimpse of my very sweet, very real baby girl.
Here we are at 5 months, and things are going great! You felt your first kicks and fond out…it’s a girl! Oh, and it’s holiday time which means your sweet tooth is super satisfied by all of the yummy goodness laying around. Just try to watch yourself Kristin, you’re about to see a shocking weight gain at your next checkup! And speaking of checkups, your modesty and hangups are about to go out the window. You think it’s awkward to have a OB/GYN that looks like Santa Clause all up in your lady parts? Just wait until delivery when you’ll have half a dozen medical personnel in there. Trust me, they have seen all shapes, sizes and shave patterns down there. Not to mention all of the embarrassing things they will see during the delivery process.
This was some serious torpedo tummy going on.
And although you have so many worries about baby’s health, trust me, all is well. Stop stressing because you had a cup of coffee today, or because you bumped your belly on the wash machine. Baby is well protected and can handle more than you think. You are also anxious about the labor/delivery process, and that’s completely normal. Just know that you have been educating yourself as much as possible for that moment. You’ll be fairly aware of all the processes and procedures at the hospital and you’ll be fine.
Yay, your newborn baby girl is here! Little Ladybug posed a few challenges getting here, but she made it…finally. This reminds me, due dates suck! That 10 days between the due date and induction date were the longest 10 days of your life. I wish I could’ve warned you of how uncomfortable and miserable you would be during that last few weeks of pregnancy. But you were a trooper and Ladybug was well worth it all.
I never wanted to put her down. I stared at her endlessly. I assumed all mothers did this too.
So, you are now home with your newborn, alone. This is kind of scary, but so wonderful! You aren’t sleeping because you are afraid you’ll miss something she does. That’s sweet, but Kristin, I BEG you to sleep when she sleeps. In a matter of weeks, you’ll lose that adrenaline rush that propels you awake and you will be so very tired. You should also know that you are about to sweat a lot! The hormone changes post-pregnancy will have you sweating like crazy, plus it’s summertime in Southern California, so it’s going to be pretty uncomfortable. Your breasts will be going through enormous (no pun intended) changes too. They will feel full, they will leak, and your nipples will hurt. Your going to have to trust me again on this one, it will pass. Breastfeeding fortunately is easy for you unlike many other new moms and you should relish and appreciate it, pain and all.
Ladybug is growing and changing so much now. At 4 months, she is showing her personality, which is pretty exciting. Sleep on the other hand is awful. Even looking back from the future I can say that nothing prepares you for the sleep battles. There are tons of books, doctors and scientific theories that claim to have the answer to baby sleep issues, but not necessarily for all babies. Your little one is off the grid in this department. Just know that you’ll find a rhythm that suits you all best and don’t worry about what others think, or say. Those last few words there should be echoed throughout your parenting years. Enjoy these moments with your infant and tune out fear of judgement. It’ll poison the memories you are making.
My sweet girl is 1 year…should I be sad or happy?
This next year or so, you’ll encounter teething hell, more sleep struggles, and feeding issues. All you can do is take it all one day at a time. You may have a bad week where baby has several night wakings, followed by a few weeks of longer stretches of sleep. Always try to keep in mind that the annoying “this too shall pass” phrase you hear from those around you is so true. Some babies are more sensitive to things and take longer to regulate. Patience should be your new go-to word of the day…everyday.
And before you can blink, she will turn 1. What? I know, it’s such a sad and happy day rolled into one emotional pill for a mom to swallow. You’ll never forget the first birthday, so do something special that will be cherished forever. Take pictures, save birthday cards, whatever you feel partial to. Bye-bye infant baby, hello toddler!
While I’d like to add a bit of toddler feedback, it would take way too long. After about 15 months, life gets wild for you, Kris. That cute little lady is now a walking, talking, accident prone, clingy mess maker. But WOW, she is also super bright, funny, talented and will warm your heart on the darkest of days. Hold her tight at least once a day (whether she’ll let you or not!) and tell her you love her. Never rush her to grow up and never make her feel like a burden. These things will definitely benefit the woman she will become one day.
If you could take any one thing from this entire letter, let it be what I mentioned above about tuning out judgement and not worrying about what others think. Parenting is full of split second decisions and strategies that can affect this tiny being for years to come, and we need to be confident and committed in how we raise our child. The opinion of another should be just that, an opinion. YOU are the parent, so always do what is right and most loving for your family. It can be hard and at the same time more rewarding than anything else you’ll do in your lifetime.
Me, yourself, and I, Kristin.