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Hi friends! Doing something a little different here today. My friend Alli (isn’t she adorable?!) is about to welcome her first baby (a boy!) with her husband, Glenn, in just a few short days. She reached out to me and let me know she had written a piece on prepping for her babe’s arrival and when I read it, I was immediately struck by SO MANY emotions that I felt 6 years ago as I was prepping for my first child’s arrival. Enjoy Alli’s piece and leave her a comment of encouragement below :). If you are interested in submitting a guest post, I’d love to read it and if it’s a good fit, we can talk! lovelyluckylifeblog (at) gmail.com.
I have 11 days left. Give or take.
11 days left where I’m the only human I’m responsible for. Sure I have to take care of my husband Glenn in certain ways, and I’m responsible for two abnormally large cats. But that’s about it for me these days.
In 11 days (again, give or take), I’ll welcome a baby boy into the world who will look to me for absolutely every single thing. Understandably, this is a terrifying thought for a first-time mom, right? I’ve never breastfed a baby before. I’ve never woken up several times in the middle of the night to take care of a tiny screaming human. I’ve never had to gauge if someone is crying because they’re hungry, tired, or sick before. And the one thought that keeps popping into my head is, “What if you’re not good at it?”.
I’ve babysat before countless times for my niece and nephew when they were newborns, but it was different because I could always call their mom (my sister) to fix something if it went wrong or if it was too much for me to handle. I had an “out”…
This time there won’t be an out.
I’ll have Glenn, and our families will be there to help, but I know myself, and I know I’ll put the pressure on myself to be able to fix it and handle it myself. Because that’s what new moms do. Or so I’m told, anyway.
I also know myself in that I know that I am NOT a gracious loser. If I try something that I’m not good at the first time, I quit. I did it with softball, and acrobatics class, and too many other activities to list. I know that if I bring this sweet baby boy home, and I run into any sort of hiccup with breastfeeding or sleep training, I’m going to get really frustrated with myself and my first instinct will be to give up. But you can’t give up being a mama. It’s not an option.
Not only is it not an option, it’s not something I’m interested in letting myself do. I do NOT want to give up on trying to be the best mom I can be on a daily basis.
So how do I tackle this personality trait of mine? And on top that, I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teen. So my doctor has warned me that postpartum depression is a very real concern for me. How do I handle being at the base of that dark, lonely, confusing mountain?
I have to trick myself.
I just made a conscious decision today to not be scared anymore. I am not afraid of the roller coaster of emotions known as breastfeeding. I’m not afraid of having this tiny boy scream in my face for God only knows how long while I try to figure out what he needs. And I’m not afraid of how I will talk to myself when things go wrong.
I decided not to be afraid because I’m not supposed to be good at these things yet – or even have the first clue on how to do them. Sure I took a “Newborn Basics” class, but somehow diapering a water baby who isn’t wriggling or peeing all over the changing pad doesn’t feel like real practice.
I need to go into this new life of mine with realistic expectations. That way when things blow up in my face, I won’t be surprised and ultimately heartbroken. I’m going to struggle with breastfeeding. It’s going to be hard and it’s going to be defeating, but I’ll learn. He is going to scream and cry and sometimes I won’t know why. And I’ll want to rip my hair out and I’ll want to cry right back at him, but I’ll learn.
This is undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do, but the good moments are going to outweigh the bad ones tenfold. I just have to keep reminding myself that I’m not supposed to know how to do everything, and neither is the baby. He’ll be new here, too.
And I have to let people help me. I have to let Glenn change diapers even if I don’t like the way he does it (no offense, G). I need to ask for help on days where I’m a walking zombie and I can’t even take care of myself, let alone the baby. It takes a village after all.
So all the panic I’ve been experiencing these last few months and would still be experiencing for these next 11 days, I’m tricking myself into squashing that.
Before when people asked me, “Are you ready???”, I would say, “I’m getting there!”.
Now when people ask, I’ll say, “Nope! But we’re gonna learn!”. And that’ll be that.
And that’s okay.
I’m feeling more excited and less stressed already. It’s amazing what a little mind trick can do for your spirit!