There are so many things that I wish I knew before becoming a mother. Sure, everyone tells you its a really hard job. There are a lot of tears, a lot of sleepless nights, and a lot of diaper changes. Here are some of the things I wish I could have told myself:
1. There will be many tears shed–and most of them will be from you. Motherhood is so full of uncertainty. The baby cries and cries and you have no idea why. The baby won’t sleep, which means you don’t sleep. You constantly feel like you’re doing everything wrong. Mix all of that together and you are just one big, emotional, and fragile mess. Oh, and don’t forget to throw in those oh-so-fun postpartum hormones. So be prepared to cry…a lot. But when you cry, don’t feel defeated. Don’t feel like you are a bad mom who doesn’t know what she’s doing. Guess what? None of us know what we are doing. So lay on the floor and bawl your eyes out. But make sure that you get back up and push forward.
2. Its okay to ask for help. Ask anyone in my family, because I swore to all of them that I would never need help. I would never need anyone to come over, I would never go home for extra help with the baby. Yeah, I ate those words real quickly. I always thought that asking for help meant that I was a lazy mom. I always felt like as my son’s mother, it was my duty to do literally every single thing for him by myself. Wrong again. Asking for help doesn’t make you lazy. It doesn’t mean that you are pawning off your motherly duties on other people. Getting help from others actually makes you a better mother. The less stressed out you are, the more you can be there for you kids. So ask for help, and do it guilt-free.
3. Your postpartum body is beautiful. One of my biggest worries during my pregnancy was what my body would look like afterwards. But what no one warned me about was the other changes that happen after giving birth. My body was wider and mushy. That, I expected. I was not prepared for the amount of hair I would lose and the extreme skin changes. I lost, and still lose, so much hair. I dread taking a shower in fear that my bald spots will grow bigger. My skin is a complete oil slick and I’m breaking out in areas on my face I never used to. But you know what? None of that matters! This is a big step for me. I have always been so focued on my looks. Always feeling the need to be perfect. And then I had my baby and I felt like I was deteriorating. So yes, your body will look different. You will have acne and bald spots. But I want to tell you that its worth it. And your baby doesn’t care what you look like. All they care about are hugs and kisses from mommy. Sweet little snuggles and smiles. So smile, you’re beautiful.
4. Don’t compare yourself or your baby to anyone else. This is a dark trap that I feel many mothers fall into. They look at other mothers and think, “Well look at her, she has her hair and makeup done all the time. Her baby seems so well behaved.” Or, “Oh wow, her baby is 7 months old and crawling, while my almost-10 month old is still dragging himself across the floor.” My husband actually gave me the best and most simple advice about this subject: Who cares? Who cares if her hair is done? That doesn’t make her a better mother. Who cares if our kid isn’t crawling yet? One day he will be walking, and in the grand scheme of things will it really matter that it took him a little bit longer to master those skills? No! You’re a great mother just the way that you are. And your child is perfect! Every child is different and that’s okay! So don’t waste your time stressing and comparing…you don’t want to lose anymore of your already sparse hair 😉
5. Things with your husband will be different. Date nights wont happen nearly as often, and for a time, may even be nonexistent. Tensions may be high for a bit–you’re both going off of little sleep. You’re both dealing with a screaming baby. There are a lot of changes that happen when a baby comes, and it takes some time to adjust. So my advice: communicate. Now I know…this isn’t your strong suit. But he won’t know what you need unless you tell him. So talk. Open up about your feelings and let him know when you need a break. They want to help. And also, know that when you see your husband with your son, you will fall even more in love with him. So things will be different, but different doesn’t always have to mean bad. Embrace the change and let it bring you closer together.
6. And lastly, I want to tell you that you will be an amazing mother. You will love your little boy so fiercely. You will do literally anything for him. You question daily if you’re a good enough mother for him, and guess what? The questioning means you are a great mother. It means that you constantly care enough to make sure that he is getting everything he deserves. It means that you are constantly pushing yourself to be better for him. If you ever feel inadequate, just remember that you were handpicked by God to be this little boy’s mother. God has faith in you to raise up this little boy right, so have faith in yourself.
These are things I want to tell my past self, and also things I want to tell you. So this is for all the soon-to-be moms, the new mom, or the moms who just need a pick me up! You are perfectly imperfect.