As I approach closer to my due date with my 2nd beautiful daughter, rather than worry about the child’s health and well-being like I did the first time around, I keep asking myself this million dollar question:
What do I need when she gets here? Here are a few answers I came up with.
When I was pregnant with Laila, I look back and think “I had it so easy!” Many moms in my shoes can vouch when I say you had the time to focus on yourself, filling out the baby book, thinking about the registry, pinning your ideas on that secret Pinterest board for the baby shower, put up your feet to watch a movie, or take a nap! Other than my husband, I didn’t have to take care of anyone else except my body and baby within. This time around…honey! My goal is to keep everyone alive. My house didn’t slow down because a new life is forming. Laila’s life is still going by before our eyes, hubby is more involved with activities than ever before, and I have my arms elbow deep in many things, as well. Taking time to slow down isn’t reality. Life keeps moving whether there’s a baby on the way or not.
After giving birth to Laila, I didn’t suffer from post-partum depression, but I had severe anxiety. Ya’ll, when I say severe, I mean severe as in I AM JUST GETTING OVER IT. KIND OF. At the time, with a new body, a new baby, cabin fever from being stuck in the house, FOMO because it was spring and everyone was OUT of the house enjoying the weather, an immense amount of anxiety trying to get this “breastfeeding thing”, and just wanting to feel normal again, not to mention that I had a terrible time speaking up for myself, I just couldn’t express fully my needs. Ever since I had a smidgen of an urge to have another baby in 2017, I told myself that I was not going to let the same thing happen twice. There were several things I needed the first time I failed to make clear. A fault on my part which ultimately ended up being a recipe for disaster. My maternity leave experience in 2015 was not an enjoyable one, if I can be totally honest. I just pretended like it was. This time, however I am going to be well-prepared, understanding my preparation has to do with the people who matter during this transition: myself, my husband, our daughter, & our newest addition. Period.
After talking to a few moms about the subject, here are a few things many moms needs once she gives birth to a new baby.
Not outer space. Space. As in, give her a second to breathe! Unless there’s a request to have every aunt, uncle, cousin and whomever else at the hospital, in her home, or dropping by to visit, honey please give her some space! Some women want the bonding moment with just mom, dad, and baby. Some women are so traumatized by the entire experience of getting the kid out, they just want to rest. For me, everyone wanted a piece of the baby. Everyone wanted pictures. Everyone wanted an update. Everyone wanted the story of the experience. I get claustrophobic just thinking about it. This isn’t the time to push your agenda. She will instruct you. She will let you know when it’s time. Let her and the family get the hang of being a bigger family first without you interjecting. Give her some space!
None of your ill-advised or unwarranted opinions.
Sound mean? Doesn’t matter. Moms usually have a good idea of how they want to feed, diaper, school, and raise their children. If they don’t know, they’ll figure it out as they go along. If she wants your opinion or to just understand your experience, believe me: she’ll ask! Your millions of opinions in this matter may be given with “just trying to help undertones.” The fact is a majority of opinions are people pushing their own agendas with a “as a matter of fact” undertone instead. Just because you did something during your experience OR it’s something you wouldn’t necessarily do with your child, doesn’t mean a new mom will follow suit.
My biggest issue was breastfeeding & if you know about it, you know your body will not produce as much if you’re stressed out. There were SO MANY opinions and jokes and remarks – it not only hurt, it made me feel super inadequate that I could truly care for my baby. Laila latched on like a leech and did not let go. I had cracking and bleeding. I was barely pumping 2 oz. per pump session. It made me so discouraged that if it weren’t for my husband coaching me & one of my closest girlfriends helping me everyday, I would have given up. I didn’t get the hang of it until Laila was 7 weeks old! If a mother is doing her best and her baby is healthy, gaining weight and growing, she doesn’t need your opinions! Give her encouragement for possibly doing something you could never do. I ended up nursing for an ENTIRE YEAR. BOOM. Mama knew best.
There’s a thought.
To fail…sometimes over and over…and not be told “I Told You So”.
Let me explain. If a child’s life is in danger, that’s an entirely different matter than what I’m expressing here. Moms come with instinct, but sometimes it doesn’t kick in right away. It took at least 5 blowouts for me to realize maybe I should go up a size on Laila’s diapers. We found out the hard way that you should always swirl milk in a bottle instead of shaking it (gives the child gas to the high Heavens). What’s not useful, helpful, or even warranted is someone breathing down your neck that you’re “doing it wrong”, “this is how we used to do it”, etc. Motherhood is straight on the job training. None of us have this thing figured out – at all.
To hear zero about any of your relatable birthing experiences.
People have a funny way of turning other people’s experiences about themselves. Ever notice that? If I had a nickel for every person who told me they ripped during birth and every single solitary story about THEIR birthing experience, I could buy me a mansion and get my Tesla. When a mother gives birth, please spare her of the “what I did when I gave birth” stories. I don’t care if you’re getting cut open or your legs are in stirrups – the whole process can be frightening. Please let the transition happen organically without reminding us how your experience was much worse.
Exactly what you needed when you gave birth – IMMENSE POSITIVE SUPPORT.
Whether it’s your first or your 15th and you have to figure out how to “live a new normal”. Women seriously need people on her team who are going to love her, nurture her, and respect her wishes. Friends should be stopping by to say hey to the baby, but asking mom what can be done. Better yet, if you see a pile of dishes in the sink, go wash them! If you see a pile of laundry that needs to be done, go in there and get it done. While you’re at it, put them away and grab her something to drink. Offer to watch the baby while she showers/uses the bathroom/takes a nap. Offer to keep the OTHER CHILD occupied because life doesn’t slow down for them! The support I’m talking about here has nothing to do with your agenda. Matter of fact: it’s straight up service. Cuddling with a newborn is the greatest thing ever, but she may not need you to do that! If you’re not coming over to help, unless she has specifically deemed you as “just company”, you’re being a hindrance.