Having a baby is like an out of body experience as it is. If I had the opportunity to sit myself down, a year on from being full term, here’s what I’d tell myself.
First and foremost, I would tell myself how lucky I was about to be. It is impossible to describe the incredible gift that motherhood is and the indescribable love and happiness that only a parent could know. I would be sure to convince my pregnant self that the bundle of joy about to come was what we were put on this earth for.
In a reassuring way, I would also let my former self know that:
- You will rise to the occasion. You will lift to new heights, new heights that you didn’t think you were capable of!
- Your baby is going to make you a better wife, friend and daughter. You will soften and see the world in a new and calmer light.
- Right after you give birth you will, naturally, be obsessed with your baby. You will also be more in love with, and obsessed with, your husband. This will last for two weeks. Then you will begin resenting him because a) he goes to work (while you stay home), b) he ‘can never do anything right’ and c) it will seem like his life is ten times easier than yours. This too will last only a few weeks and your love for him will return to the pre-baby equilibrium. Yep, the hubby obsession phase will cease now, too.
- It’s OK to not have it together and it’s OK (good actually) to talk about it. You will get there.
- The tiredness will end. You will sleep well and get your energy back and when you do you will go to parties and dance. Just dance. Stay up late if that makes you happy too! Don’t apologise for it, you are still a good mum. Your friends don’t care that you ‘shouldn’t be out late because you are a mum’ and neither should you. Have fun.
- Other mothers may be experts in looking after their own child, but they are not an expert in how to look after yours. Only you know how to do that. And you are good at it.
- Travelling with a teething child and staying in a one-bedroom hotel room for four nights in a row is not a good idea. Cancel the trip immediately!
- If you meet another mum who has the time to (and wants to) compare mothering skills, don’t engage with her. You don’t have time for this, even though she might.
- You will make mistakes. That’s OK. Just keep on going. You will get it right eventually.
- When your baby is happy you will be happy. When your baby is upset, you will feel like someone is ripping out your heart. That’s OK, too. (See point 9.)
- Baby Panadol is your new friend. Embrace it (and don’t feel guilty about it).
- You are about to experience joy in its most purest form. Watching your baby discover new things every day will leave you with a new sense of wonder. You will ponder, and maybe understand, the meaning of life. You will absolutely appreciate the world in a new way.
- It will be impossible not to smile when your baby smiles. You will feel pride when your baby accomplishes something new for the first time and it will be impossible to have a bad day when you come home and see his/ her face. That little face will put everything into perspective in an instant.
- Women have been doing this for thousands of years. Without all of the technology and expertise (and so-called experts) we have today. You will be fine. More than fine. You will be an amazing mum!
- People will tell you all the things above and more. They will give you advice and you will give advice to other mums (which is so typical of you). But no amount advice will ever prepare you for the love that you are about to feel. It will become your everything and will become your world and your entire purpose. And you will be so happy and grateful that it has.
Written by Emma Hawkins
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