Top 10 Things I Would Tell New Mamas (If Asked)
DISCLAIMER: I never want to assume that what I have expierenced would be helpful or needed by another new mama. I know all too well, that becoming a new mom is a journey that is uniquely yours and how you want to journey it, is precious and sacred. May this never be read as a "For All" but for "those who ask and need it."
This is my list:
1) Positive or negative, this is your journey.
However you look at pregnancy, birth, motherhood, the choice is yours. You can embrace the changes or gripe about them. Surround yourself with those who want to journey alongside you in the way that feeds your spirit.
2) People say the worst things, find a vent buddy.
Humans say things. Be it 'how big you look', how 'you must be carrying a boy', 'enjoy your life now, you'll never get it back', or the constant questions on 'how you are going to decorate the nursery'... if I didn't have a few friends to vent to I would have gone bonkers.
3) Find What Feels Good (@yogawithadriene reference) How you want to labour is your decision.
Tub, squatting, standing...don't let anyone convince you of anything other than what is natural to you in that moment. You are the expert on you and your baby, trust in the process.
4) Embrace the poop, blood, and gunk.
Birthing is a messy and stunning process. Being able to laugh and not feel ashamed of your labour and body is an amazing thing.
5) Own your unique birth story.
Birthing is a process we should prepare for physically, mentally spiritually and emotionally, yet YOUR story is an unpredictable one. However your wee one enters this world, it's the story that you both share. Let it empower you.
6) Embrace skin to skin with your newborn.
Even though I was prepared to want to do skin to skin with my daughter I had no idea how amazing it was. It works wonders for your emotions, processing and to the understanding of the new role as mama to your baby.
7) Bring your own food to the hospital.
My husband and I did a lot of research of what food my body would need after birthing our daughter. We are so thankful we had done this. Even though the hospital food was 'okay', having my own oatmeal, prunes, protein shakes, electrolyte drinks, fruit bars, etc, gave me the boosts I needed during those first three days.
8) The hospital is not a relaxing place. Limit visitors.
By the time you have birthed your baby you have probably been awake for more than twenty-four hours. If you had a natural labour with no drugs, you probably will be on an adrenaline high. All of which is normal, natural and is the hormones your body needs to bond with your new bundle. If you have torn during delivery, you will probably be in the birthing room for an extra hour after the placenta is delivered. By the time you get to your room (HIGHLY RECOMMEND PRIVATE) it will be much later. Paper work and processing take time. Depending on how progressive the hospital is, they will discourage vistors and encourage you to bond and rest with your baby as much as you can. I didn't realize how important quiet time was until after that first day. A new mama doesn't just have to adjust with the needs of her new baby, but she is also dealing with the (WARNING TMI --------> ) lochia a.k.a. postnatal bleeding, hormone dips, exhaustion, soreness, stitches, nutrition intake, bowel movements, peeing, showering, nurses checking on mom and baby every 15 minutes to an hour, blood tests and maybe even more. The last thing a new mama needs, no matter how picture worthy, the first few days of a baby's life are, is to have 'people' around while she figures out recovery and her new baby.
9) Never feel guilty for saying no.
Making decisions based off of your needs for health and wellness is a priority. Saying no to attending events, a certain energy in a conversation, things for you or baby, visitors, or any expectation are decisions that only you can make. Feel confident in standing up for yourself.
10) Don't apologize for putting yourself first.
Putting yourself first, especially during the last month and the first two months post partum helps to not only recover faster, but in a way that is balanced. Your health and wellness is more important than satisfying visitors and those that want to 'be' with your baby. You need to be at your top so you can be bonded and give your baby the round the clock care no one else will be able to give. ORDER OF IMPORTANCE: Mama first, baby second, partner third and everyone else last.