The 4 Biggest Mistakes I Made After Having Babies
Having a baby is such a momentous occasion in a person’s life. It’s so weird because it’s not just another day, even though the process is one hundred percent normal. Women have been doing this for hundreds of years so what’s the big deal?
I mean, animals do it and then immediately get up and head out to the pasture for a meal.
By nature, I’m a pretty laid back person. Not too much gets me rattled and after a 20-plus year career as a nurse, that’s even more true.
My Biggest Regret as a Woman Who’s Given Birth Four Times
But one of things that I regret the most after having babies is that I didn’t put enough thought into the weeks after they’d arrived.
Let me clarify that-
I thought about stuff. Like, I had all of the stuff: diapers, wipes, soothers, blankets, cute outfits...
But I didn’t think about the parts that actually mattered.
I was just like you are right now: pregnant, enjoying all of the perks like extra attention, belly rubs, better parking spots and people offering to carry things to the car for me. Even if you despise being pregnant, you enjoy some of those perks!
I was organized, had some take-out menus in the kitchen drawer, and I pictured my maternity leave to look like lazy walks with my sleeping baby in a shiny new stroller. I had every intention of ‘going with the flow’ of my postpartum and letting my baby lead the way with her needs.
#1 - Expecting the Baby to Fit into my Life
I was a young first-time mom so I wasn’t willing to give up all my freedom just because I was having a baby. I thought I’d be taking her to dinners and movies with my friends and I did manage to do it- once. It became clear that my lifestyle needed to change to accommodate my baby. In the first weeks, babies sleep a lot. So, it’s easier to do things because they can do that anywhere. But once they start waking up more, it’s hard to get stuff done. That includes laundry, making meals and going to movies and dinner.
I wish that I’d planned a regular day and time to arrange to be free to go out for a couple of hours with my friends. I felt pretty isolated because I was the only one that had a kid in my friend group.
Isolation and uncertainty are common side-effects of new motherhood. You can hire me to be your virtual new mom support so you don’t have to suffer. Click here for more information!
#2 - Underestimating the Stress of a Newborn and a Toddler
Oh, this was a smack in the face.
When my second baby came along, I had a two-year old. It’s no secret that toddlers are a handful but why didn’t anyone warn me about how fucking hard it was gonna be to add a baby to the mix? It’s tough to plan for this transition because kids are different and babies are different, but the truth is that even the sweetest, best-behaved toddlers melt down often.
I wish that I had planned to either have my toddler in a daycare program or with a friend or relative for a few hours a week so I could have time alone to bond with my new baby without interruptions. I started to feel a little resentful of the fact that I didn’t have the space to do that.
Even if someone can come over and take your toddler out to the playground or the backyard it will help. Please don’t underestimate the power of an hour or two a week!
#3 - Not Having a Plan to Recover from a C-Section
It’s a common surgery and hundreds of Canadian women do it every day so what’s the biggie?
Well, to start- the pain is pretty big. The lack of mobility, the extra care needed for a c-section scar, the inability to drive to appointments, the issues with breastfeeding are all other things I didn’t really consider.
I’ll never forget having so many issues with breastfeeding a couple weeks after my baby came home.
My husband had gone back to work and my mom came to help with the kids but I needed to go to an appointment at the hospital with a lactation consultant. This is a problem when you:
Can’t lift anything heavier than 10lbs (I had a 10lb baby in a carseat to lug into the hospital)
Can’t take pain medication if you’re driving. Trust me, you need the medication.
My recovery from my first caesarean was a complete shitshow. I'm embarassed to say that i was so unprepared for the reality of it all.
#4 - Not Taking the Time to Care for Myself After my Second C-Section
After my second caesarean, I had four kids to deal with. This is a fact and I knew that when I got pregnant. I was much better prepared for the recovery after my first c-section, but at the expense of my own health.
I put everyone and everything ahead of my own recovery and what happened was an infection in my incision. I moved around too much and it opened and that’s all it took.
I was so lucky that I caught it early and taking antibiotics helped clear it up, but I’ve seen women end up back in the hospital (even in the ICU!) with post-operation infections.
I knew better, but I got caught up in trying to do everything myself. All I did was prove that I can’t do it all alone, no mom should have to!
I had no idea how to talk to my husband about what I needed because he was working to support us. I felt guilty because I wasn’t contributing to the household financially so I wanted to make up for it by doing EVERYTHING. Huge mistake that I hope you don’t make!
That’s why communication with your partner is a large part of my postpartum planning guides. It’s about starting those conversations before the baby arrives so you feel more comfortable talking when you’re in the thick of parenting.
Cesarean Planning Guide Postpartum Planning Guide
You can’t expect to sail through the postpartum weeks and months without any issues. It’s just not possible because becoming a mom is such a huge change to your schedule, emotions and relationships.
I hope you can take some of my experiences and tools to make your own adjustments easier!
Love all the tidbits in here? You've gotta click the link below to hear about the postpartum years. Yes, years.
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!