By Erica H.
When I was pregnant, I was constantly trying to prepare myself for life with a baby. I read as many parenting books as possible, got advice from my friends, and scoured the internet for tips. But nothing could prepare me for motherhood as much as becoming a mother.
Here are 4 things I wish I had known before giving birth to my son.
1. Making Mom Friends is Key
Making new friends can be hard. Making friends while taking care of a newborn is even harder. I was lucky enough to meet my very first Mom Friend at 5 days post-partum. I went to a lactation class at my local hospital to help with my son’s latch. While I came to the first class for advice on breastfeeding, I quickly realized the bigger benefit of attending was to connect with other new moms. It was in this class that I realized I am not alone in navigating motherhood. As my son and I outgrew the lactation class, we still kept in touch with these new Mom Friends and now see them often at local story times, music classes, and playgrounds. I also learned that the internet is a wonderful place to connect with moms. I have found groups for sleep support, natural parenting, baby wearing, and car seat safety...just to name a few. In these groups, I have met moms from all over the world. While Real-Life Mom Friends are crucial, Online Mom Friends are just as key. Thank goodness for different time zones and mamas willing to reply to my random questions at all hours of the night. (Because, let’s face it, every crucial question comes up at around 2AM when your real life mom friends are hopefully sleeping and you don’t dare wake them with a call or text, amiright?) To this day, I still frequent some of my favorite Facebook mom groups: Greenpath Baby Exclusive Chat, and August 2016 Moms. I wish I had known about this avenue of Mom Friends much earlier on, because they are my lifelines!
2. You Will Learn As You Go, and That’s Okay!
Photo Credit Erica H.
I once was a perfect mom...and then I had a kid. As much as I researched ahead of time, there was no amount of research that could prepare me for the number of questions I would have! And no one told me how often I would feel lost. Just as I felt I had mastered one aspect of motherhood, some new issue would crop up and I was back to doubting myself again. In these moments, I leaned on those Mom Friends I’ve made. If I could go back and give my pregnant self any advice, I would definitely say “Stop being such a perfectionist--It’s okay to not have all the answers all of the time!”
3. Cloth Diapering Can Be Easy
Photo Credit Erica H.
I always knew I wanted to cloth diaper. But when I was pregnant, I was so overwhelmed with a million other aspects of motherhood that I couldn’t imagine adding on yet another task. What I didn’t realize is how many tasks I’d take on with using disposables: how many late night Target runs I’d make because we were low on diapers (or wipes or diaper pail liners), how much money I’d be spending on diapers, and how often my son would be battling diaper rash! Once I switched over to cloth diapers, I realized how much easier cloth was to use. I was actually doing less work. No more running out of diapers. No more rashes. No more blow out poop explosions. When my son was 8 months old I found Lighthouse Kids Co. cloth diapers, and cloth became even easier. These diapers have been the perfect marriage of amazing fit, extremely easy care, and are by far the cutest diapers I have ever used. When I think about having another baby, I think I am most excited about skipping the disposables and using these diapers from the start!
4. Motherhood is a Beast
I knew motherhood would be amazing. But I didn’t realize how complex it would be. I didn’t realize how often I would laugh, how often I would cry, and embarrassingly, how often I would laugh while crying. I didn’t know how much motherhood would make me question myself, who I am, and who I want to be. I didn’t know it would also make me more confident in who I am, and who I need to be for my child. And mostly, I didn’t know how it would be possible for my heart to always be full (much like my phone storage, because I can’t stop taking thousands of pictures). Motherhood is a damn beast, and there is nothing in the world like it!
Erica H. is a teacher turned Stay at Home Mom. She is surrounded daily by her favorite guys: her husband, Justin, her 1.5 year old son, Benjamin, and rescue pup, Logan. Erica has a love for photography (aka "mom-tography"), coffee, dessert, and passion for collecting cute cloth diapers.