Every mother has her own personal "list" of things she wish she'd known before giving birth. Parenting, organizational skills, things that happen to your body during and after birth... all of these and more are part of this list.
Most of these things need to be lived, and can't be told. But there are some things that seasoned moms can say that will make a difference to pregnant women later on. What does every expectant mom need to know?
- To keep this list roughly in chronological order, the first thing is that you'll be very grateful to have discussed your birth wishes in detail with your healthcare provider during prenatal appointments. Knowing what to expect from your doctor or midwife, and being clear if you have certain wishes, really helps. There are plenty of women who were unhappy with their birth experience, who could have changed providers, requested different things, or refused certain interventions, if they had had an open talk about birth with their provider.
- Nothing can prepare you for the love you will feel for your new baby once he or she is born, and the lengths to which you will be prepared to go to keep them safe. But at the same time, not all mothers feel that immediate rush of love when their newborn is placed in their arms. Some do, but others need more time and that is normal and OK.
- Peeing hurts after birth if you have had an episiotomy, or have torn. You can make it easier by squirting water onto your lady parts while you urinate. Peri bottles work great for this purpose.
- Everybody will want to spend time with your newborn right after birth. Limiting visitors and taking time to get to know your baby yourself first can be a blessing, for your bonding as well as your sanity. Other people will have time to get to know your baby later on. Saying no is completely justified, if you are fed up with visitors.
- Think about interviewing pediatricians during pregnancy. A good doctor is worth a lot, and you don't want to be looking for one in a rush, when you already need them.
- Taking time to discuss your parenting views and plans with your partner will pay off! Don't just assume you'll agree. Talk about organizing life as parents during pregnancy as well.
- If you need a daycare, there may be very long waiting lists. Signing up when you are still expecting is not crazy in many areas.
- Once you have a baby, everyone you know, and those you don't, will have views about how to parent that baby. Listen to the good bits of advice, and don't even think twice about the comments you don't like.
- The newborn weeks can actually be quite boring staying at home recovering from childbirth and supervising a sleeping baby can leave you wishing you had stuff to do. Buy lots of books or get them from the library. The same goes for films.