Chances are, a lot of things are going through your mind right now. It’s true that first-time mamas experience more fear of childbirth than moms who have already given birth a couple times.
Is that really surprising? If you don’t know what to expect, the anticipation and uncertainty can be terrifying!
But worry not, new soon-to-be mama! I'm here to share the five things first-time moms wished they’d known before giving birth.
And be warned - these are the things you can’t find on Pinterest. I'm all about that real-talk when it comes to having babies, because - let’s face it - becoming a mother is the biggest slap of reality a woman will ever get in her lifetime.
But just like a slap - the pain will go away, the scariness will fade, and soon enough, you'll be giving other first-time-mamas some advice of your own. (Funny how that works!) And perhaps it might include some of the advice I have for you below:
Have you spent time with your partner putting together the perfect birth plan? Throw it out. Or rather, just keep it short and sweet. And know that things might change.
Because while it’s great to think through what you might do in different scenarios, giving birth is one of those things that you really have no control over.
You can watch all the birth videos and read all the birth stories you want - but reality is that nothing can prepare you for what it feels like to push out a baby, especially if you’ve opted for an epidural.
If you’re having your first baby, don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare team how to do things during labour - nobody expects you to instinctively know how it works, and they can give you the best guidance for your personal birth experience.
For more pro tips, check out this Helpful Hubby Cheatsheet - we promise it’s one he'll want to read.
It’s (hopefully) not typical for you to spend time in the hospital, so staying for a long period of time might be new to you. And depending on your hospital, nurses will have more than one patient in labour. And in postpartum? It’s not unusual to care for 8 patients (4 moms & 4 babies).
When your nurse pops in to check your vitals, your mind may not be in the right place to ask questions about the procedures and daily routines in the hospital, or you simply might forget (Girl, mom brain is REAL!).
To start you off, here is a list of the most common questions that you might want to ask your healthcare team during labour.
Girl, you just ran a marathon, triathlon and sprint all in one. You are tired. You are exhausted. You might have been labouring for 24+ hours! You think it’s cool you have a baby, but really (if you’re being honest), you just want sleep.
That is totally normal.
I’ll say it again. It is completely normal to just want to roll over and close your eyes.
First-time moms are already facing so many “firsts” that it can feel overwhelming to have this new life placed into your arms with the expectation you will know what to do.
Many new moms I’ve worked with wished they’d received more information about their own aftercare, medications and discharge. Others went home with their babies and had no idea how to give them a bath.
Remember, these moms were having their first baby just like you. There is no expectation that you will know things about bottle feeding, bathing, follow-up appointments, pain management or car seats.
To help, here is a checklist of things to ask your healthcare team before leaving the hospital.
And remember, you are leaving with a little stranger. It will take some time to get to know each other, but having some guidance for the concrete things like safety and general hygiene will make it easier to focus on getting acquainted with your new addition to the family.
And remember, Mama - it’s all worth it.