Once I had actually announced I was pregnant, (I waited 4 months, April 1st to be exact, to tell close friends, and waited until I was a month shy of my due date to announce it on Facebook), the flood gate of advice and opinions had opened!
Some of the advice was common sense, some was great, some I hadn’t given much thought, and of course some of it was downright ridiculous! Most of it, I just smiled and nodded at and didn’t give it much of a second thought, that was until Phoenix was born and all the voices I had been hearing for months waved over my consciousness in spurts. So far, in the past 8 months I have learned the following is the absolute best advice I received or that I can offer:
1. Sleep when the baby sleeps. No, really. Sleep!!!
This one I found hard to do after the first 2 weeks, I still struggle with being absolutely exhausted but not wanting to stay in bed once Phoenix has settled for his nap. I have yoga to do! Laundry, dishes, and a girl’s got to eat!
2. The housework can wait. Settle into a messy home.
An extension of number one, and it is so hard to accept, because let’s face it, who enjoys living in a messy or cluttered house?! I can’t stand it! But at the same time, it’s really hard to keep up with laundry and dishes and de-cluttering, when you’re also struggling to find time to shower and eat and get outside for some Vitamin D; and you should be sleeping when the baby sleeps so you’re not a walking Mombie… Oh yeah and you need to feed, change and entertain your baby! If you want a spotless house, be prepared to stay awake 24-7, or hire a cleaning lady!
3. Meal Prep before your Due Date.
Another one I did not accomplish very well myself, but I learned how important it was once I was no longer being fed by the hospital and my Love had to go back to work. Find the time, while you still have it, to prepare some easily frozen and defrosted meals, because as simple as those Ristaurante Thin Crust pizzas are to heat up, you really don’t want them to be your only form of sustenance! Take my word for it!
4. When People offer to Help, TAKE IT!
I do not live as close to my family as I would like to, but I had some great friends offer to help and I found it incredibly hard to accept or to ask for. But you need it! You’ll get by,, I promise, but if someone is offering their help, take it! Whether its to hold the baby while you shower, to help fold laundry, to cook you a meal, anything you would find helpful, take it! And do not be afraid to tell them what you need. Even veteran moms can forget what it’s like to have a newborn and to be a new mom, so let them know what it is you need. And don’t let them take all the cuddles and kisses either, they can have some as payment, but holding and snuggling with your infant while they’re in a good mood and letting you put your dishes away isn’t my idea of help! Also, do not let them take away the small window you have to nap, if you need to sleep, tell them so, if they are indeed your friends and loved ones they will understand or forgive you later.
5. Get outside. As much as Possible.
I struggled with this, especially after a caesarean, but it was so important that I do it, for myself and my entire family. I can get down really easily, especially when I’m not getting enough sunlight or enough interaction with other humans, so getting out and going on walks or meeting up with friends and family was really important for me. Otherwise my mood would drop, the baby blues would set in, and the downward spiral of exhaustion and depression would commence. I joined a few mommy groups and meet ups and signed us up for baby & me swimming lessons, which we both enjoyed. So when people offer to come visit, ask them to join you on a walk instead or to meet you at your favourite park or café, even if you can only get out for 15-30 minutes a day, it’s enough to help stave off Cabin Fever.
To be continued, Tips 6-10 to come…