There’s lots of information available on what to expect during pregnancy and baby care the first year of parenting, but what we love to talk about at Boot Camp for New Moms are those big adjustments new parents make that don’t get enough air time:
1. That you will be totally prepared.
On paper, yes, you’ve planned it out. In reality, life might laugh at your plan. It’s important to do all the proactive preparation and planning you can, but it’s impossible to know just how your unique experience will affect you. Childbirth may not go exactly as planned; your baby may not eat and sleep with ease; you may have the baby blues; your marriage may go through some challenges—you just never know. Preparing is great, but stay flexible and know that babies bring lots of surprises, and plans may require adjustments. At Boot Camp, we offer a whole list of topics to talk about with your partner before baby arrives, so you’re better prepared for what’s coming. You’ve got to keep communication wide open, so you’re sharing your feelings, staying connected, and working as a team.
2. Breastfeeding will feel natural.
It’s easy to think, “How hard can it be?” but Vet Moms will tell you breastfeeding can throw you for a loop. There’s a lot that goes into it: getting the “right” latch, dealing with milk production, nipples adjusting, engorgement, leaking—it may take some time to get used to it all. For some moms, breastfeeding doesn’t work out and THAT’S OKAY. A thriving mother, child, and family is the main goal, and stress doesn’t help anyone. Get information on local lactation consultants and breastfeeding support groups for support.
3. Childbirth is the end of the pains.
Well, the big stuff is certainly behind you, but it took nine months to grow a baby and your body will continue to go through post-pregnancy adjustments. There’s the uterine contractions you’ll feel when initially breastfeeding, those stop after a few days. Your first post-childbirth poop may be an event and constipation is to be expected. Hemorrhoids? Very common (stock up on Tucks). For a time you’re sweating out buckets of fluids when you sleep. Plus there’s the normal, post-childbirth bleeding for which buying maxi-pads in bulk isn’t a bad idea. Your body may be sore or recovering from a C-section. And spontaneous little pees when you laugh or sneeze should eventually fade away ( get mini-pads with those maxi-pads!). Meantime, don’t forget your Kegels. Your body has gone through an incredible journey and it deserves all the love, patience, and appreciation you can give it.
4. You’ll 'just know' what to do.
LOL! Rare is the first-time parent who just knows what to do, since it’s a brand new world you’re in, and babies don’t come with personalized instructions (for which we’d pay a billion dollars). Your best bet is to have a Mary Poppins bag of tricks to try and, eventually, something in there will work. In the beginning, it’s a lot of trial and error, but you’ll soon get a handle on things and build confidence. When you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, just remember you’re like every other new parent and welcome to the club!
5. You will always love being a mom.
What relationship doesn’t come with challenges? Admitting you’re going through an episode of not loving motherhood doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby, because you absolutely do. It’s two separate things. You’ll love your child no matter what, but the job will sometimes leave you in a puddle of mental and physical fatigue. Everyone has struggles, so reach out to friends, family, mom’s groups, etc. to share your feelings and find simpatico. If your feelings don’t subside, or affect your ability to parent, contact your health care provider, because support is always available and feeling your best helps you parent your best.
Finally, one thing you CAN expect: A lifetime of growth and all the rewards a family can bring. Your world definitely changes with the arrival of a baby, but most days you wouldn’t have it any other way.