Lately I’ve been thinking about how my life was before having a baby… It amazes me how clueless I was back then about what it takes to be a mother and how hard it is to take care of a baby. Obviously I’m not an expert now (I’ve only been a mother for three months) but it is just a fact that you don’t know what you are dealing with until you are muddling through motherhood yourself.
Do I regret any of the decisions that I’ve made in the past few months? Not at all. But there are some things that I definitely would have done differently if I would have known better… So I wonder, if I would have the chance to give myself some piece of advise ahead of time, what would it be? Here’s the letter that I would send to myself:
Letter to my previous self – Advise for a future mother:
You still don’t know it but in a few months from now you are going to get pregnant. Yes, after only a couple of months trying you will hit the jackpot and your life will be turned upside down faster than you think. For this reason, I want you to read these lines carefully and consider seriously what I’m about to tell you:
- Nothing compares to the joy of being a mother, but this joy comes together with a lot of work…hard work. Being a mother is not what you see in the movies and the toughest part about taking care of a baby is NOT changing diapers… that’s actually the easiest part! You are going to have to juggle with a million things at the same time while being extremely tired because of the lack of sleep. Don’t worry though, you will learn how strong you are and taking care of your baby will slowly come out naturally.
- Remember when you were worried about you not being mother-material because you thought you would get bored? Well, nothing further from reality. Believe me, you won’t get enough of your baby! You will be able to spend hours and hours just looking at him and there will always be something new to discover. Time will fly when you are with him and boredom will be the last word in your vocabulary.
- Keep your mind open and go with the flow – I know that planning things make you feel less anxious but you have to learn that there are several aspects that will be out of your control when you become a mother so you need to keep your mind open when the time comes. You may have a lot of plans in your head about your pregnancy, your labor and how you will take care of your baby but there are way too many unknown factors that will push you to do things or make decisions that are unthinkable for you today.
- Don’t judge other mothers. Period: In motherhood there’s no black or white, right or wrong; motherhood has a lot of different shades and you (like other moms) deserve being able to chose what best suits you and your baby without being judged. You don’t know the background story of every mom so don’t you ever judge them because they are not breastfeeding or because they decide to have a planned c-section instead of a natural birth. Be supportive and understanding because that’s what a mother needs the most.
- Although you won’t judge, there are other people that will – Be strong and don’t let those comments affect you at all. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter what you do, when you are a mother there will always be someone that won’t agree with your approach and will criticize your decisions. Don’t listen to them and don’t let them bring you down. You will do your best and that’s what matters.
- Enjoy your independence while it lasts – Once the little munchkin is born it will no longer be just YOU, it will be YOU and THE BABY. You will be conditioned to his needs and you won’t be able to do whatever you want whenever you want it. I’m even talking about the most basic stuff such as eat, sleep or shower! Don’t worry though, you won’t want to be apart from him anyways so this loss of independence won’t be such a big deal.
- Take care of yourself!– You need to take care of yourself first if you want to take care of the baby. The first week of his life will be so hectic and tough that you will be exclusively focused on him to the point that you will even stop eating! I understand that motherhood is so overwhelming that you won’t have the time to think but please, listen to the people around you and take good care of yourself. Leave baby with your husband for a little while and take care of your well-being. If you get sick you won’t be strong enough to take care of the little peanut and this is not what you want.
- Let your husband help you and let him be a parent too – You won’t want to be away from your baby more than 5 seconds but you NEED to share your baby with him too. It’s not only about the responsibilities, it’s also about them being able to bond and spend time together. You don’t have to be a super-mom trying to do everything by yourself AND, moreover, you both have to act like a team and enjoy joint parenting in every single sense.
- Time flies: Everybody will tell you ‘Enjoy every moment, time flies” and I know that it sounds corny to you today but it is just the truth. So stop rolling your eyes when you hear someone saying it because they are completely right. Caress every single moment with the little munchkin because he will grow from newborn baby to infant, from infant to toddlers in the blink of an eye… Oh! and keep a diary of everything because you will forget the milestones fast. It seems unbelievable that you will forget about the first time he smiled at you or the first time he grabbed your finger… Believe me, everything goes so fast and there are so many things going on at the same time and you have so little sleep that everything will turn into a foggy memory eventually. Keep a diary and the memories will last forever!
- Just one more thing before letting you go… don’t overthink it. Motherhood is a “learn-as-you-go” experience so just enjoy the ride!
Lots of love…
The Spanish Mom