One of the things I love most about ‘my’ World Mamas is their honesty. Last week’s World Mama talked about what becoming a mother meant for her desire to grow and transform. This week a Pennsylvania mother is sharing five things no one told her about motherhood, even though they made quite an impact on her once she became a mother. Jehava decided she wanted to share her experiences to support and comfort other moms (to be). Jehava has been married for eleven years and has three beautiful boys. She is a stay at home mom, is very involved in their church and started a blog to encourage other women. I was immediately inspired by Jehava and her family, so if you want to get to know her too, keep on reading!
I’ve had 3 babies with very different personalities but, there are certain things that many women encounter in the whole experience that are similar. There are some things that women just never tell you about having a baby. I had many friends who had babies but, I don’t know if it’s part of this whole “make my life look easier and better than it actually is” syndrome that many women carry, that keeps them from being honest with someone else about their experience. If I would have known some of these things I could have erased some tears and stressful days & nights and replaced them with more joy!
So, here are 5 things that no one ever tells you about having a baby:
1. The pain is not over after birth
We all know that birth is insane and painful and above what most of us could have ever imagined but, there is this expectation that once the baby is out that the pain will be over and the worst is behind you. Well, with all 3 of my kids (1 natural and 2 with an epidural) that was not the case. The amount of pain you experience after the meds wear off is pretty bad and will last for days, sometimes weeks. Also, that is accompanied by really bad menstrual cramps from your uterus going back down to size. It takes a few days to be able to walk around normally without pain depending how many other methods were used to help you have the baby.
Also, whether you decide to breastfeed or not your milk will come in within a few days which is also painful and literally feels like massive rocks on your chest. The milk supply does level out but, when your milk comes in it’s called engorgement and, it requires pain meds and ice packs to just get through it. The good thing is this only lasts a few days and then you will feel normal just with a few extra cup sizes haha!
If you have an epidural you can’t go to the bathroom during labor, which means you have a catheter and, that leaves you with a chance of a bad urinary track infection (which happened with one of my kids) that needs serious medications to help reduce the pain. This can be a bit much with everything else your body is experiencing, including the continous period you will have for a few weeks.
2. Breastfeeding is way harder, more painful and more rewarding then you can imagine
So, I breastfed all of my children and, with each child I had to go back to the hospital for the breastfeeding consultants to help me through it. The last child we even paid to have a breastfeeding consultant come to my house for a month and help me with the process. I was able to breastfed each kid for a year but, they all had a rocky start. I watched all the YouTube videos and read all the articles on “how to get your baby to latch”, “breastfeeding positions”and “how to increase my milk supply but, that would of helped me a lot if I would of done that BEFORE I had the baby not while I was overwhelmed and in tears.
The fact is that breastfeeding is painful at first but, shouldn’t be for long. I am really in awe of all the things that have to be “right” for babies to get the milk out correctly and, not have pain. I had some friends whose babies came out and miraculously latched correctly. None of mine were that story. I can say that it was worth the investment and getting the help because, overall it saved tons of money and, was an amazing benefit to their health and mine for the long run but, so many times I cried and prayed and cried and wanted to give up. Once I was at that point, God always came through and something would click and they would get it and, we were smooth sailing from then on out!
Was it worth the pain? YES!! I truly believe it is one of the most rewarding and amazing bonding experiences you can ever have. The love and connection that grows from this experience between you and your baby can only be described as a gift from God and, I’m grateful He gave me the chance to be able to do that. I do think that can still happen with bottle feeding as well. I realize everyone doesn’t have this opportunity and, the few times that I bottle fed my kids, I definitely felt a strong bond as well!
3. You must make time for other relationships
You must get out and away with friends and your husband. It is so easy to get swamped with the incredible life change of having a new baby. There is so much to focus on: sleep schedules, soothing, feeding and changing diapers. If you have other kids it’s a WHOLE other ball park of making sure they aren’t feeling neglected and are still getting what they need in every way. Also, making sure you invest in your husband and keeping your marriage a priority can be challenging. It’s SOOO easy to stay in that bubble of all that needs balanced but, I promise…
You WILL get burnt out very quickly, you will be frustrated, overwhelmed and resentful if you don’t get this time. I have seen it in soooo many moms. They aren’t even able to see the joys in having a baby, being married or even having other children because, ALL they focus on is the new balance and, if that includes working it can be even more challenging to get away.
Friendships are so crucial and refreshing at this time in life. Whether it’s someone who has been there to encourage you of how quickly it passes (because it does) or that is right there in the trenches with you. You HAVE to get away without kids to talk with a friend over coffee or dinner. You HAVE to go out with your husband alone and, talk and connect free of the responsibilities a new baby requires. When you do these things, you will be AMAZED at how refreshed, how joyful and grateful you feel when you walk back into the house. I can be gone for an hour and I have an excitement to get home, I feel refreshed from talking with friends or my husband and, I’m ready to see things as the blessing that they are, and not a load of stress!
4. You can function on way less sleep than you thought was possible
I remember when I became a parent the first time, I was waking up every 2 hours at night, which is technically normal but some mom’s are blessed with great sleeping babies, it’s just rare. Most don’t know the difference between day and night and my 3 all fell into that boat. So, in the newborn months I felt that I was awake more than I was sleeping at night and, that took a toll on my body until….
I stopped the feeling of guilt for napping. I decided to sleep whenever the baby was sleeping which was mainly during the day so I adjusting my sleep schedule too. Yes, dishes could be done… yes, laundry was overflowing and yes.. my house may have looked like World War 3 but, I was a much happier, pleasant and present mom and wife when I napped as much as possible during the day.
5. This season is so short and you WILL wish you cherished it more
Why does every older person say that “Time goes so fast, enjoy it..you will miss it” because .. IT’S TRUE!
Now having older children when I went back into the baby scene, I totally get it! It was such a “blink” of time that they were infants even though when I was in it, it seemed like it lasted forever because, I was awake for almost all of the 24 hours in the day! haha
Believe me when I say, I miss those ones little and cuddly and, I cherish every moment with my two-year old because, when I look at my 10-year-old I realize how fast that time went, and how some days I wish I could have it back but, in many ways I just was surviving through not sleeping, and different issues with breastfeeding, and balancing all the balls that I didn’t appreciate it like I should so, don’t make that mistake because, you will BLINK and it will be gone.
Don’t get me wrong. These are the things I wish someone would have told me and some may seem hard and overwhelming but, there is one truth that rings among ALL moms…
Having a baby is the most amazing miracle you can experience and the most amazing expression of God’s love! My heart could burst out of my chest when I think about all of the laughter, the fun, the love that I’ve experienced from having these children! Everything in life is more fun, and better when looking at it through your children’s eyes. So cherish these moments and the baby your going to have or have had as one of the biggest blessings you will ever experience on this earth!