Today’s post is written by contributor Chelsea Becker
As of today, I’m 8 weeks old as a mother or almost a year if we’re counting the time being pregnant. And to be honest, it’s been one of the hardest years of my life – but as it goes, also the most rewarding. I’ve already shared several articles on my pregnancy, from what I’d buy again to secrets to feeling energized to low sex drive, but this is the first post I’ve written since giving birth.
It’s been interesting to look back at the transition into motherhood and see what’s been the most different based on my expectations going in. I actually love reflecting on ANY sort of life transition this way as I find it humbling and a time to check in with myself.
Here’s what I wasn’t expecting about motherhood – and I’d love to hear your own realizations about being a parent if you’d like to share.
I’ve always had respect for mothers, but it wasn’t until I got pregnant and gave birth that the respect grew tenfold. It’s quite insane what the woman’s body has to go through, both mentally and physically, during pregnancy. Add on pre-labor, labor, the recovery process, and the emotions that go into new motherhood, and whoa. R.e.s.p.e.c.t.
The milk issue
I hope it doesn’t come off as a complaint because I seriously thank the stars daily that I have a healthy baby and that I’m able to breastfeed, but holy shit, breastfeeding is hard. But that’s not my realization – I knew breastfeeding was incredibly difficult going in. What I wasn’t prepared for was the mess of the milk (if you have it coming in). I’m constantly leaking, waking up with soaked breast pads in the middle of the night (or while out in public), and smelling gross.
P.S. Cutting a diaper in half and using each half as a breast pad works the best for soaking up milk in the middle of the night!
The lengths of sleep deprivation
I have sleep anxiety so I knew the lack of sleep would be hard, but it’s unlike anything I could have prepared for. What I’ve found to help is taking short naps when the baby does, putting yourself first – even if that means asking visitors to come another day because you’re about to sleep, and coming up with a sleeping schedule with your partner. Pumping into bottles has also been key for me and passing off some feeds.
The in-between sizes
I actually took a genius tip from Geri who told me to buy a pair of jeans a couple sizes up while pregnant. That pair got me through a lot of my pregnancy (with the rubber band trick) and they were also a godsend the first couple weeks postpartum. But I wish I had more oversized items that weren’t maternity.
Maternity stuff was too big or awkward fitting, but I wasn’t back in my regular clothes either. I wasn’t prepped for the “in between” and ended up ordering a bunch of items in the middle of the night, full price. Next time (if I’m lucky enough), I’ll prep for this in advance and buy more stuff on sale as I see it leading up to birth.
Anything you’d like to share?