Before I had my first baby, they said it would be the hardest thing — and the best thing — I would ever do.
I knew I’d experience a pure and unconditional love. I knew there would be sleepless nights. I knew I couldn’t ignore my mental health or my marriage. But there are so many little things I wish I’d known… things that might have made a difference.
Before I had a baby, I wish someone had told me that nursing is ridiculously hard for something that’s supposed to be so natural.
I wish they would have told me that for the first few weeks, latching hurts like a mother. And that I’d be in tears every time I tried to nourish my child… from both pain and shame.
Before I had a baby, I wish someone had told me to expect a barrage of advice and correction, from the people closest to me in the world to complete strangers out in public. I wish I’d known how much their questions and suggestions would feel like failure.
Before I had a baby, I wish someone would have put it plainly: no, you will not suddenly have “all this time” to get things done. In fact, you will probably get nothing done. And the best thing to do is to embrace the nothing while you embrace your baby.
Before I had a baby, I wish someone had told me that my husband and I would look at each other in sudden terror at hospital discharge. We genuinely had no idea what to do when we got home.
And… I wish someone had told me that we might look at each other and suddenly feel like strangers, too. I wish I’d known how truly complex the new road ahead of us would be, navigating marriage with a newborn, in completely new life roles.
Before I had a baby, I wish I’d understood the debilitating weight of mom guilt. And I wish I’d known I needed to prepare for the cruel realities of mom-shaming. Because oh.my.goodness, we can be so unkind to each other sometimes.
Before I had a baby, I wish I could’ve prepared my heart for its most spectacular transformation. I knew I’d love my child more than anything, but the love was so overwhelming that it almost hurt inside my chest. My heart could hardly contain it.
Before I had a baby, I wish someone had told me that mom friends are essential to getting through motherhood intact. They are a lifeline. They understand you when no one else does. They know the guilt. They know the pain. They know the anxiety and the feelings of failure. They’re with you, and they’re FOR you. You’ve just gotta get yourself some mom friends.
Of the countless things I wish I’d known, there are a couple I wish I’d known most of all.
I wish someone had told me that it’s all normal, and it’s all okay. I wish I’d known that other mothers were out in the world feeling all alone… and that all we needed to do was talk about it. All we needed to do was find each other.
And I wish I’d really understood that all the other things could wait. That loving the baby — and just BEING there to snuggle, to sing, to make animal sounds, to change diapers, to play, to read, to gaze into his eyes — would be enough. That it would be everything.
I wish I’d understood that I was actually doing kind of beautifully with the love part.
And you’ve got that part covered, too, Mama. Just know you’re not alone.
You’re going to be amazing.