I remember being pregnant with my first baby. It took a while for it to really sink in. The next realization, as crazy as it sounds, was: “Guess what? I am going to have a baby!” At that point, I was already four months into the pregnancy when it finally dawned on me – I was going to have a child to care for, and I had only five months to prepare!
I spent endless hours looking through magazines and window shopping for all things baby related. There was baby furniture and baby carriages and baby clothes and baby toys. Those cute little combs and brushes and nail clippers – to die for! I signed up for childbirth classes as early as possible, and my husband and I were done with them by the time I was eight months pregnant. My maternity leave was planned out. My last day at work was scheduled exactly 2 weeks before my baby was due. Everyone told me to give myself some time before the birth, but not too much time, or it would feel like time was standing still. I spent two weeks at home preparing for the postpartum period.
First, I hit my local craft store. I purchased enough yarn to make several blankets and enough thread to make two needlepoints for the baby’s room. Then I wrote down all our favorite dishes. Knowing that I was going to be home for three months, my plan was to cook our favorite dishes to perfection. In less than two weeks, I made sure I had enough to keep me busy during my maternity leave. I took great pride in all that I had accomplished!
Our small 550 square foot, one bedroom apartment did not have space to put a crib. That was fine, because my husband had made this perfect wooden cradle with beautiful heart shaped cutouts, just like I always dreamed. This would be kept next to our bed. I planned on using this cradle for three months, until we moved to a two bedroom apartment.
What was I thinking?
Planning for all the baby stuff. Planning for a move three months postpartum. Planning on being entertained by a baby when she was awake. Planning on being Suzy Homemaker when she slept.
And then the baby came. Waaaaaaaaaaah! Along with pushing out that placenta, came this tiny person I barely knew. I turned into a crying, utterly exhausted, shell of what I thought a new mother should be, and did not recognize myself. There were not enough buckets for my tears. No amount of hugs from my husband telling me I was doing a great job could cure what was wrong with me. I was anxious all the time, unsure of myself, lonely, and frustrated.
Guilt weighed heavy on my shoulder… all day and all night. She refused to sleep unless I held her. Those ladies at La Leche League had failed to tell me that breastfeeding was painful. No rainbows and birds singing while she fed. No warm fuzzy cuddling going on in my apartment. Friends and family all returned to their normal lives. My new friends were tears, clenched teeth, bleeding nipples, fist balls, neck and back aches, dark clouds, and thunderstorms.
Where were those meals of perfection I had planned to serve my darling husband when he came home after a hard day’s work? Nowhere to be found. Baskets full of blankets that were works in progress? Needlepoints in their frames? None of this was anywhere to be found. I didn’t understand. I spent five months planning for my maternity leave. I spent five months organizing myself so I would be ready to have this baby. All of that effort, and at no point did I realize that I was preparing for a fantasy life. Where did I go wrong?
Psssst! This is where you need to come in closer and pay attention. Repeat after me: “I, soon to be new mommy, do solemnly swear that I will:
- Download this Ebook: www.allaboutmothering.com/sistermom which will help me prepare for my maternity leave.
- Heed Lori’s amazing advice on preparing for postpartum, so that I will avoid being one big, hot mess for months after my baby is born (like she was).
- Spend my pregnancy preparing for practical matters, which will enable me to have a smooth postpartum period.
To give you a glimpse of the helpful advice available in the Ebook, here are two tips on how to effectively prepare for your baby; following this advice will save you time, money, and energy in the early days postpartum:
- The #1 stress in new parent’s life is: “What to do for dinner?” Request gift cards to your favorite home delivery restaurants as gifts for your baby shower. You will be happy to have meals you love without spending money.
- I pride myself on recycling, reusing and all things being green. However, you might consider taking a short break and shop now for paper plates and plastic utensils and cups (you can recycle) for the first 6 weeks of your baby’s life. You will be grateful that you will not have to choose between washing dishes and sleep.
Please enjoy this Ebook, which I wrote with you in mind. My greatest wishes are that you have a healthy pregnancy, a smooth birth, give birth to a healthy baby, and that you remain healthy yourself. Follow this advice to do your best to put all your ducks in a row beforehand, and draw upon the strength of family and friends to walk alongside you, with all the unknowns of the early days of mothering.
About the Author
Lori Jill Isenstadt, IBCLC is a huge breastfeeding supporter. She has spent much of her adult life working in the maternal health field. Once she became turned on to birth and became a childbirth educator, there was no stopping her love of working with families during their childbearing years. Lori became a Birth doula and a Postpartum doula and soon became a lactation consultant. She has been helping moms and babies with breastfeeding for over 25 years. Lori founded her private practice, All About Breastfeeding (allaboutbreastfeeding.biz) where she meets with moms one on one to help solve their breastfeeding challenges. She is an international speaker, book author and the host of the popular itunes podcast, All About Breastfeeding, the place where the girls hang out. Lori is the proud owner of the online membership site – All About Mothering (allaboutmothering.com) You can reach Lori by email at: [email protected] or contact her via her website: allaboutbreastfeeding.biz/contact