Mama’s words of advice

17 Mar

Nine things I wish people had told me before I became pregnant/a mother. Not that I would have necessarily listened.
(NB: some graphic details included)

1. Pregnancy is a physical endurance test. And it takes your body a long time to get over being pregnant, especially if you are breastfeeding. I would say 3-4 months after Walt’s birth I felt really good again. Luckily heartburn goes away immediately, thank goodness.

2. Birth is a challenge of body & mind. (I definitely already knew this one but it was still a surprise given I had never experienced it before). I felt uplifted when I knew I had accomplished my goal of natural childbirth.

3. Pushing sucks. But it doesn’t last forever. A good midwife/doctor can make all the difference in the world.

4. The first 6 weeks of having a newborn are overwhelming. Even if you had tons of childcare practice; even with a fantastic partner by your side. It is lovely beyond anything you’ve ever experienced before, and scary too. Don’t be ashamed if you cry. A lot. Or never leave your house. Or see your friends anymore.

5. Breastfeeding does not come naturally/easy to everybody at first. It does get a lot easier after 12 weeks. The book The Nursing Mother’s Companion was a lifesaver. Also, buy a giant sized bra. You’ll need it.

6. Even if you nurse around the clock you can still get your period back very quickly. And that’s after you bleed forever after birth.

7. Pumping output is not necessarily the same as nursing output. Don’t stress out if you can’t pump as much as that mythological mother who pumps 25 ounces first thing in the morning. I can imagine that comparison would be similar to guys in a locker room.

8. You don’t have to stuff your baby full of food/milk to get them to sleep better. Walt actually slept better once I was nursing full-time again and not giving him lots of pumped milk. Go figure.

9. Your life will never be the same!

walter's february 2013 visit 001 (7)
My love for this boy is more than I ever imagined.

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4 Responses to “Mama’s words of advice”

  1. boblarkin March 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Your writing is very enjoyable at lots of levels. That 57 pictorial of Walt’s six months was much enjoyed. That boy has a clear message in his adorable and unmistakable expression. It says “I am a satisfied boy, I am content, and I am happy to be here … especially when I’m with my kitty”. You and Dave have got to be deliriously happy with such a handsome, huggable, sweet boy. Thanks for keeping me in your loop. You are special.

    • mamajohnston March 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      Bob – Thank you for the kind words. I’m really glad you enjoy my writing and the pictures of Walt I send out! I love watching that boy grow. He’s pure joy in my life. Especially now that I get sleep again 🙂 And he really does love the cat! And she’s so patient with him! It’s pretty incredible!!!

  2. Sarah March 20, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Any tips on how to mentally prepare for natural childbirth? Did you use techniques learned in childbirth classes, or just try to stay as calm as possible and go with the flow? 🙂 Great post!

    • mamajohnston March 21, 2013 at 3:47 am #

      Thanks! I enjoyed writing it!

      I studied to be a doula a couple years ago, so I took an intensive class on childbirth that lasted a long weekend. I already wanted to go naturally, and becoming informed of all the facts regarding childbirth really set my mind in concrete about the whole thing.

      I would say the three things most important for gearing your mind toward natural childbirth are

      1. Wanting to do it.
      2. Hiring a doula that you and your partner connect with.
      3. Reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (always helped me be less anxious to read the beautiful birth stories) and watching The Business of Being Born (which is actually on demand on Netflix).

      You can read Walt’s birth story here if you want! http://mamajohnston.blogspot.com/2012/08/walts-birth-story.html

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