What I wish I knew before getting pregnant... What I wish I knew before getting pregnant...

13 Jun , 2022

Hindsight is 20/20, isn't that what they say?

10 things I wish I had known before I had a baby

Let me preface this with a disclaimer: this is just one experience. Moms everywhere experience pregnancy and birth and the “fourth trimester” very differently. This is just a list of the things I wish I had known before my little one came home from the hospital. Buckle up, because it’s a pretty long list

1. Breastfeeding…

Breastfeeding may be the most natural thing in the world for you. And…it may not. Not every mama is “born to breastfeed.” What do I mean by that? Here it is:


When I  say breastfeeding HURTS, I’m not exaggerating, I’m not being a wimp. When I say you’ll probably be sitting on the side of your bed sobbing in pain every time baby gets hungry, it’s no joke. But when I tell you it’s so worth it, I mean every syllable. The pain doesn’t last. But the accomplishment, strength, and confidence you will feel does. 


Breastfeeding is a wonderful feeling that creates a stronger bond with your baby than anything else I’ve done. But breastfeeding isn’t for everyone; and that’s okay. It’s alright if you have to supplement with formula. Fed is best.


Happy mommy=happy baby. Breastfeeding is a feat in itself. If you produce enough and get through it without any complications, that’s amazing! But it may take a lot out of a mama’s mental health, and it’s okay to stop and reevaluate if it’s the best thing for you and baby. A mama’s mental health is crucial to a baby’s well-being. If you need to take a break from the breast, that’s okay.

 

2. It takes longer than 6-8 weeks for your hormones to go back to “normal”

If you’ve been to a prenatal appointment and asked your provider about postpartum recovery, you’ve probably gotten a generic answer. Most providers will say it takes about six to eight weeks for the body and mind to get over childbirth. I’m here to tell you that in most cases, it takes way longer than that.


I remember sitting on my couch eight weeks after having my baby, crying about having to go back to work, wondering why I didn’t feel like myself yet. I felt like a mom, and I was absolutely head-over-heels in love with my baby. But I still didn’t feel “normal.” I spoke with my midwife, and she told me that it is completely normal. 


So, if it’s been 6-8 weeks and you still don’t feel “back to normal,” that’s okay.  Give yourself some credit and some grace. And if you think you need to, give your healthcare provider a call. If you feel like it might be something more intense, definitely call and ask about postpartum depression. There are screening questions to ask yourself, and if you think you need to, take this PPD screening quiz: BabyCenter Postpartum Depression Screening.

 

3. You may not bond with your baby at first. And that’s OKAY!

Coming from a mama that didn’t immediately bond with her baby, it’s totally normal, and way more common than you think. 25-35% of parents report not bonding with their baby, depending on the type and intensity of the bond (Bonding with baby: what it should feel like and how long it may take). According to a recent Scandinavian study, it’s normal for bonding time to be impaired, or slow.

 

4. Physical Therapy!

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy is a thing, and all mamas should know about it! Coming from someone who didn’t know about it until they scheduled me for my physical therapy appointment AFTER birth, I SO wish I had known about this ahead of time! There are so many benefits.

 

5. You don’t need as much stuff in your hospital bag as you think

Pinterest will have you believe you need to pack like you’re going away for a ten day cruise when you go to the hospital to have a baby. If you’ve chosen a hospital or birth-center labor and delivery experience, you only need a few essentials in your bag. Here’s a list of the things I actually used while I was there:


  • Essential Oil diffuser and bag of pre-chosen oils
  • One nightgown
  • Favorite pillow
  • Bathroom essentials
  • Phone charger
  • Birth Plan / Insurance Information
  • Going home outfit for mama and baby

The hospital or birthing center has literally everything else you might need or want while you’re there. If you want to take your own stuff, by all means, have at it. But the last thing I was thinking about while we were at the hospital was looking into my suitcase and pulling out a blanket or socks. I’m a big fan of hospital socks, and took advantage of asking for at least two pair the entire 48 hours we were there.

 

6. Just get the Hands-Free pump.

If you’re a working mama, then this is for you. hands-free pumps were so new when I got pregnant, and there wasn’t enough information about them. But so many mamas I knew were buying them and all raved about them, especially when they went back to work. 


It had me sitting in the dark, in my classroom, during planning and meal times, wondering why I hadn’t just bought the darn hands-free pump. My next pregnancy, I will most definitely be ordering one.

 

7. It’s not like in the movies…no, really.

Truly, honestly, for real for real, going into labor is NOTHING like the movies. If your water breaks (yes IF, not when), it’s definitely not going to look like a waterfall. Your baby doesn’t always just pop out after three pushes, and you don’t always immediately feel excruciating pain.

 

8. There’s a such thing as a fourth trimester

Whaaaat? I had NO idea about this when I was pregnant until about 30 weeks. And then my midwife was like, “let’s talk about the fourth trimester.” My jaw dropped to the floor and I said “WHAT?”


It’s true, the fourth trimester is a thing. But, thank goodness, your body won’t have a baby inside of it for this one. The fourth trimester is the period of time twelve weeks after delivery. This is what they call the time after labor and delivery where you and baby go through big physical and emotional changes. Baby is adjusting to being outside the womb, and you are adjusting to being a mama.

 

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Take it from someone who has recent experience being a new mom: you cannot do it all. And if you don’t have someone helping you at home–sometimes even if you do–things start to pile up. It may feel like the end of the world asking anyone for help, but I promise it’s not. Have a designated person that you trust come to your home once you’ve had baby, and ask just them to do things for you. It makes it easier on people with anxiety if only one person does things. On top of that, having someone clean your house before you give birth brings a whole new level of comfort and relaxation that you never knew was possible. 

 

10. You’re going to deal with and have to learn things you never knew possible. But it’s possible, and you can do it…

Once you have a baby, you don’t really have a choice to say, “meh, I don’t really like this motherhood gig.” There are going to be things you never thought you would do in your wildest dreams. Some of them will come fairly easy to you, and some of them you will muddle through. But they will get done because you have no other choice. And trust me when I say, you’ll feel so accomplished when you complete any one of those tasks. Picking boogers, aspirating little noses, clipping tiny fingernails, nursing a sick baby back to health for the first time, etc. It gets easier, and you feel like superman–or supermom–when you get them done.

So, what’s the tea?

In the end, you will do just fine, Mama. When you become a mother, you just know. Some things you will find out before baby arrives. Other things you will have thrust upon you in the heat of the moment. Either way, you’ll get through them. Tune out what everyone else is saying. Tune into your natural mama instinct. It’s there. I promise.

 

Written by: Victoria Scarce

Hindsight is 20/20, isn't that what they say?

10 things I wish I had known before I had a baby

Let me preface this with a disclaimer: this is just one experience. Moms everywhere experience pregnancy and birth and the “fourth trimester” very differently. This is just a list of the things I wish I had known before my little one came home from the hospital. Buckle up, because it’s a pretty long list

1. Breastfeeding…

Breastfeeding may be the most natural thing in the world for you. And…it may not. Not every mama is “born to breastfeed.” What do I mean by that? Here it is:


When I  say breastfeeding HURTS, I’m not exaggerating, I’m not being a wimp. When I say you’ll probably be sitting on the side of your bed sobbing in pain every time baby gets hungry, it’s no joke. But when I tell you it’s so worth it, I mean every syllable. The pain doesn’t last. But the accomplishment, strength, and confidence you will feel does. 


Breastfeeding is a wonderful feeling that creates a stronger bond with your baby than anything else I’ve done. But breastfeeding isn’t for everyone; and that’s okay. It’s alright if you have to supplement with formula. Fed is best.


Happy mommy=happy baby. Breastfeeding is a feat in itself. If you produce enough and get through it without any complications, that’s amazing! But it may take a lot out of a mama’s mental health, and it’s okay to stop and reevaluate if it’s the best thing for you and baby. A mama’s mental health is crucial to a baby’s well-being. If you need to take a break from the breast, that’s okay.

 

2. It takes longer than 6-8 weeks for your hormones to go back to “normal”

If you’ve been to a prenatal appointment and asked your provider about postpartum recovery, you’ve probably gotten a generic answer. Most providers will say it takes about six to eight weeks for the body and mind to get over childbirth. I’m here to tell you that in most cases, it takes way longer than that.


I remember sitting on my couch eight weeks after having my baby, crying about having to go back to work, wondering why I didn’t feel like myself yet. I felt like a mom, and I was absolutely head-over-heels in love with my baby. But I still didn’t feel “normal.” I spoke with my midwife, and she told me that it is completely normal. 


So, if it’s been 6-8 weeks and you still don’t feel “back to normal,” that’s okay.  Give yourself some credit and some grace. And if you think you need to, give your healthcare provider a call. If you feel like it might be something more intense, definitely call and ask about postpartum depression. There are screening questions to ask yourself, and if you think you need to, take this PPD screening quiz: BabyCenter Postpartum Depression Screening.

 

3. You may not bond with your baby at first. And that’s OKAY!

Coming from a mama that didn’t immediately bond with her baby, it’s totally normal, and way more common than you think. 25-35% of parents report not bonding with their baby, depending on the type and intensity of the bond (Bonding with baby: what it should feel like and how long it may take). According to a recent Scandinavian study, it’s normal for bonding time to be impaired, or slow.

 

4. Physical Therapy!

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy is a thing, and all mamas should know about it! Coming from someone who didn’t know about it until they scheduled me for my physical therapy appointment AFTER birth, I SO wish I had known about this ahead of time! There are so many benefits.

 

5. You don’t need as much stuff in your hospital bag as you think

Pinterest will have you believe you need to pack like you’re going away for a ten day cruise when you go to the hospital to have a baby. If you’ve chosen a hospital or birth-center labor and delivery experience, you only need a few essentials in your bag. Here’s a list of the things I actually used while I was there:


  • Essential Oil diffuser and bag of pre-chosen oils
  • One nightgown
  • Favorite pillow
  • Bathroom essentials
  • Phone charger
  • Birth Plan / Insurance Information
  • Going home outfit for mama and baby

The hospital or birthing center has literally everything else you might need or want while you’re there. If you want to take your own stuff, by all means, have at it. But the last thing I was thinking about while we were at the hospital was looking into my suitcase and pulling out a blanket or socks. I’m a big fan of hospital socks, and took advantage of asking for at least two pair the entire 48 hours we were there.

 

6. Just get the Hands-Free pump.

If you’re a working mama, then this is for you. hands-free pumps were so new when I got pregnant, and there wasn’t enough information about them. But so many mamas I knew were buying them and all raved about them, especially when they went back to work. 


It had me sitting in the dark, in my classroom, during planning and meal times, wondering why I hadn’t just bought the darn hands-free pump. My next pregnancy, I will most definitely be ordering one.

 

7. It’s not like in the movies…no, really.

Truly, honestly, for real for real, going into labor is NOTHING like the movies. If your water breaks (yes IF, not when), it’s definitely not going to look like a waterfall. Your baby doesn’t always just pop out after three pushes, and you don’t always immediately feel excruciating pain.

 

8. There’s a such thing as a fourth trimester

Whaaaat? I had NO idea about this when I was pregnant until about 30 weeks. And then my midwife was like, “let’s talk about the fourth trimester.” My jaw dropped to the floor and I said “WHAT?”


It’s true, the fourth trimester is a thing. But, thank goodness, your body won’t have a baby inside of it for this one. The fourth trimester is the period of time twelve weeks after delivery. This is what they call the time after labor and delivery where you and baby go through big physical and emotional changes. Baby is adjusting to being outside the womb, and you are adjusting to being a mama.

 

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Take it from someone who has recent experience being a new mom: you cannot do it all. And if you don’t have someone helping you at home–sometimes even if you do–things start to pile up. It may feel like the end of the world asking anyone for help, but I promise it’s not. Have a designated person that you trust come to your home once you’ve had baby, and ask just them to do things for you. It makes it easier on people with anxiety if only one person does things. On top of that, having someone clean your house before you give birth brings a whole new level of comfort and relaxation that you never knew was possible. 

 

10. You’re going to deal with and have to learn things you never knew possible. But it’s possible, and you can do it…

Once you have a baby, you don’t really have a choice to say, “meh, I don’t really like this motherhood gig.” There are going to be things you never thought you would do in your wildest dreams. Some of them will come fairly easy to you, and some of them you will muddle through. But they will get done because you have no other choice. And trust me when I say, you’ll feel so accomplished when you complete any one of those tasks. Picking boogers, aspirating little noses, clipping tiny fingernails, nursing a sick baby back to health for the first time, etc. It gets easier, and you feel like superman–or supermom–when you get them done.

So, what’s the tea?

In the end, you will do just fine, Mama. When you become a mother, you just know. Some things you will find out before baby arrives. Other things you will have thrust upon you in the heat of the moment. Either way, you’ll get through them. Tune out what everyone else is saying. Tune into your natural mama instinct. It’s there. I promise.

 

Written by: Victoria Scarce