Things I learned:
1. Labor and delivery is hard and we tend to mistakenly blame ourselves if it does not go well.
2. Let them keep the baby in the nursery at night while you are in the hospital…I didn’t do it the first time but did the second…the nurses ARE well-equipped to watch him/her for you and you will be able to sleep more soundly without him/her in there with you…do NOT feel guilty for doing this.
3. Hemorrhoids are a part of life and they freaking hurt…anal fissures can occur during labor and delivery.
4. The first postpartum poop is frightening.
5. Nursing a baby requires cooperation from both the mother and the baby and it doesn’t always go well…in fact sometimes it’s better to try and then give it up for the mental health of the mother.
6. Mothers’ blame themselves for stopping nursing, even if nursing isn’t working…the definition of ‘not working’ is up to the MOM!!
7. Formula is fine and has fed babies for decades and years from now, the kids will be fine for having had it instead of booby-milk!!
8. Everybody and their grandmother will have opinions about everything from how to hold the baby, to how to burp the baby, to circumcision, to names, to when the baby should sleep…blah freaking blah…you get the picture. YOUR opinion is the best and truly the only one that matters…you have to do what feels right and good and you must trust yourself even though you’ve never done this before.
****9. If you don’t know something and you won’t, you must remember that the baby doesn’t know that you don’t know, so there is no wrong answer.
10. postpartum depression is real…and more common than we know…don’t be afraid/embarrassed to confront it…you may not feel as ‘connected’ to your baby as you thought you would…THIS IS NORMAL. Your special bond will grow and you will fall in love.
11. Everybody always tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps…this is the ONE instance when everybody is RIGHT!! This is so hard to do for some new moms…but trust me, sleep deprivation is an UGLY state and even an hour, uninterrupted will help.
12. You might not feel like “you” for a while…get sleep when you can…it restores your sanity bit by tiny bit.
13. If you have to wake up 2…3…4…times a night, every night, you might find yourself cursing quietly in your baby’s general direction about why he is not sleeping longer/more…this is normal!!! Babies have to eat every 2 hours or so…they have tiny bellies!! Don’t hate yourself for cursing the non-sleeping human.
14. Everything you are feeling IS NORMAL…you are not alone and there is always someone who will help you…LET THEM!!
15. If anyone asks you if you need anything once the baby is born, tell them cooked meals and a cleaning service. Prepared food is a true gift…and for some fucking reason, we still tend to bog ourselves down with what needs done around the house…it can all wait!!