“First babies never come on their due date! That’s what the doctor told me!”
But ready or not, this baby was coming! My pregnancy was ending and my journey as a mom was about to begin. I had so many ideas in my head as to what it was going to be like.
Then at 2:49 a.m., my son was born and I was officially a mother. Now, 8 months later, I feel I have learned a thing or two about the early stages of motherhood … and it is nothing at all how I envisioned it. Here I present to you the 10 things I wish I knew before I became a mom.
1. The love you feel is unlike any other.
It’s completely indescribable. I have never felt a love stronger than my love for my son. I could never have anticipated this feeling. No matter how many things you read about what it’s like to have a baby and the bond you will create, there is nothing to fully prepare you for how you will feel once you become a mama yourself. Pure. Love.
2. Breastfeeding is hard!
My son and I struggled so much in the first month of breastfeeding. I cried, he cried, I swore I was done, we both were frustrated. But, thank you to the local La Leche League and a wonderful lactation consultant, we kept at it and are 8 months strong (with no end in sight!)
3. Your mom tribe = your lifeline.
My closest family is 850 miles away. I had to rely so much on my mama friends. I found my tribe through Columbia mama’s groups and organizations. Without this support, I would not be half the mom I am!
4. Your relationship with your significant other will never be the same.
I have been with my husband for 12 years (married for 3) and in the past 8 months, our relationship has been through some trying times. We have always had a strong relationship, but balancing everything is so tough. Making time for each other and scheduling that time has been so critical.
5. Maternity leave is not a vacation.
I had a list of crafts I was going to do, books I was going to read, places I was going to take my little one … none of that happened at all. I was lucky if I had a meal and a shower! I laugh when I look at that list now. I learned to embrace the time sitting on the couch breastfeeding my son and watching Netflix.
6. Half the stuff on your registry you will never use.
If I could do it over again, I would ask for more breast pump parts, more pumping bottles, snacks, a massage gift certificate, Boogie Wipes, filters for the Nose Frida, and a lot of diapers … lots and lots of diapers!
7. Flexibility and adaptability are key.
Before my son, I had a schedule for everything. I was on top of all aspects of my life. That all went out the window when a 7lb 7oz baby came into my life and started calling all the shots. Learning to be flexible and adaptable have been necessary for survival.
8. It will all work out.
So many days I think I am never going to make it … but guess what? I do! I may be tired, running on “E” and feeling inadequate, but then I see this life I created, and he tells me (without saying a word) it will all work out, and it does.
9. Cut yourself some slack.
Your body will most likely never be the same, the house may never be as clean, you may never have enough time, and sometimes it seems you come up short as a mom, wife, friend, daughter, employee, sister … but you’re doing the best you can. Remember, you are your own worst critic.
10. You will forever be changed (in a very good way).
This little boy thinks I am awesome (for now!). The bond I have with my son … is worth everything. I am a mom and even though life is hard daily, I feel honored every day to be a mother to this little boy.
Becoming a new mom is definitely a life changing experience. What would you add to the list?
Ashley Byrd-White identifies as a Yankee-Carolinian who was born and raised in the tundra of Upstate, New York but currently calls the Midlands her home. She began her professional career in Buffalo, NY in higher education. She continues her dedication to education at USC working as a Career Development Coach to college students. She currently holds a BA in psychology and an Ed.M. in higher education administration. Moving to Columbia, SC 3 years ago so her husband could pursue his teaching career was the most challenging time in her life … until motherhood! She has been together with her high school sweetheart husband, Chad, for 12 years (married for 3). Ashley is a first-time mom as of February 2016 to Oliver. She loves being a mom, is proud of her continuing breastfeeding journey, and is thankful for her mama tribe. Ashley enjoys spending time with her family, drinking coffee, pinning crafts she will never have time to create, and making her son laugh.