- Don't look in the mirror. You'll be tempted to look in the mirror after the first shower at home. Curiosity killed the cat. Do not. I say, DO NOT look in that mirror. Walk away, wrap that towel as tight as you can despite your still swollen tummy. Go ahead and look if you're the type who enjoys spinning into a deep dark depression. I just want you to know, the scary things you see are going to fade. Your body will look nothing like that 3 months later, so give yourself a break. Now go back and read what I said a second time, because trust me you will be tempted to look and believe when I say...you shouldn't.
- Don't freak out when your baby cries. Your baby is not dying if he is crying. Those hormones will do a number on you. Those drugs during the birth will give it to your body even worse. If you are anything like I was, ya know, exhausted, barely able to stand, hands shaking while I leaned against the changing table begging my husband to just let me help him... Back off. Those drugs need a while to get out of your system. Take a break and know this too shall pass. Focus on bonding in bed with your baby and allow your family to help you. You won't feel this way forever. You'll be the most awesome mom in the world once all those hormones and drugs get out of your system. I wish I had relaxed more when I first got home from the hospital, I drove my family insane.
- Don't look at the picture you stumble upon that was taken during the skinniest times in your life. True story, I was on our family laptop, browsing through new baby pictures I had just finished editing when I came across a picture of myself back in the day. When I thought I was fat. Lord help me, before I knew it I was in a fit of tears laying face down on my parents' bed with my husband banging on the locked bedroom door asking what was wrong. Don't do it to yourself, that pretty girl will come back one day, I promise. For now it's sweatpants and pony tails for you, girl!
- Don't listen to those people who try to steal your joy. They are out there and they are crazy. For every "you look beautiful" there is a "haven't lost the baby weight yet, I see!" For every, "your baby's eyes are so blue" there is a "you know baby's eyes change color when they get older." For every moment you enjoy loving on your new baby there will be that person ready to remind you to "enjoy it while it lasts, one day they grow up to be teenagers who hate you". Do not allow those negative Nellies to destroy your new mommy attitude. You are fresh, you are beautiful, your baby is amazing and they are jealous! And if you are reading this and have ever said the above, shame on you because you know how hard it is to be a new mom so back off!!!
- Do enjoy every baby smell you can get your hands on. Press your face into the soft baby cloths fresh from the dryer. Smell your fresh baby's head when he is drying from his first bath. Allow all your senses to cherish each one of these beautiful moments with your baby. Give your little one a baby massage with that yummy baby lotion smell, he'll love that time with you and the scent will linger on your hands for hours!
- Do sleep when your baby sleeps. I hate to say it, because you've heard it a million times, but the saying is true. I held strong to this one and we both did fairly well. Even if he naps at 5PM, you better nap with him. Guess what?! If he is napping during the day he will be waking at night. In my opinion, a sleepy momma is a bad momma. I can't run on no sleep, I wasn't raised that way. So sleep as much as that sweet bundle of joy does, he'll thank you and you'll thank yourself when people come to visit and compliment you on looking so well rested!
- Do let people bring food over. I don't care if you are a vegan, vegetarian, no fried food, only green food eating, hatin' on casseroles kinda person. You. won't. care. Just to be able to eat at all in the first two weeks is a miracle. I remember The Big Dawg asking me multiple times a day "have you eaten anything?!" To which my reply was always, "I'd rather sleep than eat!" So accept those dinners from the sweet ladies at church, take food from co-workers and neighbors. Clear out space in your freezer, you'll need it!
- Do take hand-me-downs. I'll sum this up by saying this: We received two cribs, an extra carseat, a bathtub, onesies, breast pads, diapers, a swing, bedding, blankets... all because I am a sucker for hand-me-downs. I said yes every time somebody said they wanted me to take something off their hands. We live a frugal lifestyle around here and it saved us so much money not looking for what was new, but for what was used/cheap!
- Do let your mother, doula, grandmother, neighbor, or friend watch the baby for a quick outing. You'll be scared at first, so make sure you leave your precious sweetheart with someone you truly trust. Our first trip out was to Kroger when I was 1 week postpartum. It felt so strange, but the outing gave me the confidence to want to go out again with the baby to begin exercising.
- Do exercise as soon as possible. It takes a while for your *ahem* to heal up, so begin with light walking with your hubby and sweet baby. It will be a great bonding experience for the three of you. Exercise beats down that nasty postpartum depression so get out of the house as soon as you can and enjoy that sunshine!
I realize I have more to learn about being a mother, but so far the above are what helped me through some of the hardest and happiest times in my life with our little one. If you don't feel like reading it all I'll end with this:
HAPPY, HEALTHY MOMMA MAKES A HAPPY, HEALTHY BABY!!!!!
Don't forget to check out this post: Top 10 Baby Items!
Don't forget to check out this post: Top 10 Baby Items!