Advice and opinions are usually well-meaning, but not always useful. We get it. Nobody knows yours and your baby’s needs better than you. So as you are trying to navigate the new waters of parenthood, we’re bringing you some inspirational advice to help you as you make decisions amidst a bombardment others’ opinions.
“If it’s not a problem for you, it’s not a problem.”
I read this quote as a new mom and loved it. So many other moms told me horror stories or their opinions of my plans. Others would offer their insight into the way I did things and made me question myself. Don’t let others get inside your head and create doubt or problems where they don’t exist. As long as it’s not a matter of safety, find what works for you and don’t let others make you insecure about it.
Don’t turn little things into big things
When you look back on this time you will not remember the specific days that ended with a sink full of dishes or a pile of laundry. You won’t remember specific days of a cranky baby or specific days in which you didn’t shower. You will remember your attitude and mindset, though. You will remember how you felt. Try not to make the things that won’t be remembered the priority. Do your best, but as much as possible just let it go.
Parenthood is a job
I’m a huge advocate for parenting classes, books, and education. People often call parenthood “the best job in the world,” and often “the hardest job in the world.” If all other jobs require training, education, certifications, continued education, etc. then why shouldn’t parenting? We’ve all heard the saying “babies don’t come with a manual,” but we aren’t born with a full toolbox of parenting techniques, either. Read books to learn new methods of calming a crying baby, parenting in a positive way, dealing with unruly toddlers, and even hormonal teenagers. Practice new techniques, problem solve, and use critical thinking as a parent just as you would any other job. You will never regret investing in your parenting skills.
This too shall pass
I thought I’d never sleep more than 3 hours at a time again when my son was a newborn. I couldn’t see the end in sight of having to nurse while trying to eat at a restaurant. And then one day I realized I was waking up to an alarm clock again, but didn’t notice when it happened. I was showering at the same time every day again. In the moment, it is hard to imagine an end to some phases, but there will come a day very soon that you realize the phases end quickly and don’t last as long as you think.
Things will end better if you ask for help
I’ve had friends reveal their struggles as new parents once their children are older. They’ve revealed dramatically losing their temper with their husband or calling their moms in hysterics that they need a break. So many times I think and say, “Why didn’t you call me?! I would’ve helped you in a heartbeat, even if it was just to let you take a shower!” But then I think to myself, “Would I have asked for help?” Of course, we can see that the burdens of others could be lighter if they asked for help and maybe prevent negative situations, but how often do we accept the same answer to our own problems?
Accept the wide range of emotions
It’s not only OKAY to cry and feel emotional as a new mom, but NORMAL. Yes, that’s right – NORMAL! Remember, this phase will pass, but don’t feel guilty for being emotional, crying, getting frustrated, etc. However, if you begin feeling hopeless, your emotions seem to be abnormal for an extended period of time or you’re struggling to bond with your baby, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. There’s no shame in not being able to heal ourselves – sometimes our bodies don’t self-regulate and bounce back by themselves, and that’s okay.
Live in the moment
One of my favorite quotes of all times is from Andy Bernard on The Office, when he says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in “the good old days”, before you’ve actually left them.” Social media has made me more aware of how precious life and time is, as I see news stories and even tragedies from those I know who lose children, parents, or others who are close to them. I do my best to try to live every day like it’s the last day I have with my children. Any day that we are all healthy, taken care of, and together is a good day.
What advice would you give to a new mom?
If you’re reading this post, you’ve undoubtedly been searching other sites looking for information about your pregnancy and its various stages. It’s true, each trimester of pregnancy is amazing and miraculous in its own way. However, you might not be getting the “full” story. So today, I’m sharing a humorous, slightly sarcastic, perspective of each trimester of pregnancy, in hopes that you’ll have a little laugh. While also trying to appreciate the miracle that is your pregnancy. Even though it might not feel like a miracle every minute of the day.
(Also, I acknowledge that the path to pregnancy isn’t always easy or possible, so I send my love to those of you who are still waiting. I hope you get to experience all of the things, and also have an amazing experience.)
First Trimester: AKA, when you’re super sick and can’t tell anybody you’re pregnant.
Your first trimester encompasses the first 13 weeks of your pregnancy, which is measured from the first day of your last period. This is also the time where you’ll probably start to feel super sick, and not be able to tell anyone about it. So, it’s kind of like having a secret stomach bug that will unleash its fury at inopportune times, like at a work meeting or a birthday dinner for your husband’s best friend. (Not like I’m speaking from experience or anything.) But that can kind of be a fun, nauseous joke between you and your inner circle. It’s like you all have a really exciting, albeit puke-inducing, secret that is about to be unleashed to the world.
And, if you’re like me, you’re going to start gaining some weight. Just enough that people might think that you had a little too much ice cream… at every meal. You don’t quite get to own the cuteness of the baby bump, but your pants might not fit. Oh, and your hormones levels begin to change significantly. Which is great for baby, but it also means you miiiight start getting acne. Deep, cystic acne that you might have to have airbrushed off of your face in every one of your sister’s wedding photos. Hey, anything’s possible.
Second Trimester: AKA, things are starting to get really real.
Your second trimester spans weeks 13-27 of your pregnancy. It’s also a time where many women start to feel better and get a surge of energy. (Lucky ducks.) This is also a fun time because it’s the time where most people announce their pregnancies to their larger circle and also do gender reveals (if that’s your thing). The social media possibilities are endless, really.
Your body also continues to change, and your baby bump will most likely emerge. So you’ll transition from the “a little too much ice cream” phase to, “I’m carrying a human/humans, so give me all the ice cream with no judgement” phase. Which is a fun place to be, not going to lie. If you work outside the home, this is probably the time when you will announce your pregnancy to your boss and coworkers and start making plans for your maternity leave. (My advice would be to make sure you have everything locked down about two months in advance. My first came five weeks early, and really put a damper on my Friday client barbecue attendance.)
Third Trimester: AKA, shower time. Also, baby time.
Trimester three starts with week 28 and continues to the birth of your baby. This is the time where you’ll start seeing your doctor or midwife more frequently, and you and your baby will be monitored more closely to ensure that everything is on track. If it’s your first baby it’ll also be shower time. Which is fun, not only because you get lots of great baby stuff, but because you can celebrate this wonderful time with the people you love most.
You also might have a difficult time seeing your feet. Or shaving your legs. Or seeing how amazing the stretch marks on the underside of your stomach look. (Use almond oil. Or shea butter. And thank me later.) You’ll also have the benefit of seeing just how crazy it is to see a human moving around inside your body. You might see a foot, the impression of her head, and, if you’re really lucky, you’ll get a nice swift kick to the bladder. It’s a good reminder that kids are awesome, but also kind of a pain sometimes. But we love them regardless.
And, at the end of this adventure, you get to meet your child, and marvel at just how your body did all of the crazy things it did to get her here. That, my friends, is the best feeling in the world.
What are some humorous stories from your pregnancy?
Making your health a priority during pregnancy is important for you and your growing baby. Following these 7 steps can help you have a healthy pregnancy and help your baby grow and develop normally.
Drink LOTS of water
It’s always important to drink plenty of water, but it’s especially important during pregnancy. Your body needs water for the baby’s amniotic fluid, and it also makes more blood than usual to circulate nutrients throughout your pregnant body and to the baby, so staying hydrated is very important. Staying hydrated can also help with swelling, constipation, and prevention of Braxton Hicks contractions. The general recommendation for water intake is 8-10 eight-ounce glasses of water per day but talk to your doctor to get his/her advice on hydration.
Maintain your exercise regimen
If you exercised before pregnancy, it’s usually okay to continue your same exercise routine during pregnancy. Staying active during pregnancy has many benefits, including weight control, improved blood circulation, better sleep, and even an easier labor. If you were not active before pregnancy but wish to begin, talk to your doctor about starting an exercise routine. There are many safe exercises for pregnant women, some of the most popular being prenatal yoga, walking, and water aerobics.
Pregnant women are instructed to quit smoking during pregnancy, but avoiding second-hand smoke is also important. Inhaling smoke from any source can reduce the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, which reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to your baby. According to the American Pregnancy Association, second-hand smoke is associated with miscarriage, low birth weight, premature birth, and even SIDS.
Wear your seatbelt
Although it’s probably second-nature to strap-in when you get in a car, you’ll be surprised at how uncomfortable a seatbelt can be once your belly really grows. That third trimester baby bump does not always sit comfortably over that seatbelt, but resist the temptation to take it off.
Don’t miss your appointments
Life happens, we get busy, sick, or just too tired to go out. But the frequency of your doctor appointments during pregnancy are strategic. There are specific tests for various stages of pregnancy, and regular measurements at certain intervals are important to make sure your baby is growing and developing at a normal rate. Do your best to make it to every doctor appointment, and if something does come up make sure you reschedule immediately.
The more you know, the more power and control you have over your and your baby’s health. Ask your doctor for credible sources about anything you’re worried about. Signs of preterm labor, preeclampsia, the differences between false and true labor, etc. You will be better able take action and know what to do if you’ve learned in advance how to notice any signs or symptoms of trouble.
Listen to your body
Along those lines, listen to your body. If you’re feeling light-headed during exercise, don’t push it. If something doesn’t feel right with baby, don’t ignore that feeling. Our minds are part of our bodies, so trust that gut feeling you have that something is wrong. Take time to meditate, paying attention to your baby’s position and really getting to know your own body. This will help you to know when something is wrong, and help you stay healthy. Always be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
What helped you stay healthy during pregnancy?