Ingrid Says ...
Ingrid has an almost two-year old boy, who looks like he already has the wisdom of a sage. She wishes someone had told her that "having a baby and being responsible for him is absolutely the most difficult thing you will do in your life." Getting practical, she added, "I wish someone had told me about how your breasts leak when your milk comes in." She emphasised that this happens, "all the time, even when baby is feeding."
Ingrid continued, "I wish someone had told me that it would be difficult to sit when I was feeding my baby because of the tearing that happened during birth."
"You don't have to change the nappy at night if there is no poop," she added, laughing at herself and those first moments of motherhood.
Her final thought: "I wish I had been told that I would be a totally different person after having a baby, but that I would also still be me." Well, none of this seems to have scared Ingrid off, because baba number two is now on the way!
Cara Says ...
Honest, frank-talking Cara opened up and said that she wishes she had been told that even though she had a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, he could still come early. She wasn't prepared for the moment he would be taken away from her to be admitted to ICU. After the first brief meeting, the next time she would see him was later that night, when he would be full of pipes.
She says, "you get sent home after three days and you have to leave your precious baby in hospital ... it was really heartbreaking not being able to be there for my baby." It was hard to be "woken up at night by an alarm to pump milk," rather than having a "crying baby to feed." This, she emphasised, was "horribly hard."
That adorable little prem baby is now a beautiful five year old with large, expressive, brown eyes — just like his mommy. He is also the proud brother to a baby girl, just a few weeks old.
Kylie Says ...
Kylie, a relaxed super-mom of three fun-loving, character-filled kids, who ask all the right questions of life, said, "I wish I had known that I would feel every tear, every laugh and every worry that my kids feel as if it were my own. I would go through primary school again; I would face friendship issues again; I would be studying again." These joyful kids are going to be adults with big hearts, because of the intentional empathy and presence of their Mom!
Sam Says ...
Sam is a single mother of four girls! The oldest is a young Einstein and the youngest has an enviable free-spirited character of unhindered happiness. It's not an easy road, being a single mom, but she said that she wishes someone had told her the wonderful rewards in store. That way, she wouldn't have dreaded the process as much. She said, "The sleepless nights, the endless parting with money here and there, the painful cry of a baby with colic and that scary first croup cough all builds experience. I did not know how I was being changed by these experiences, but learning to care for a helpless human being is a huge privilege, which builds your character."
She agrees that "it is a weighty task" because "you become the vital source of that child's existence. Their every need becomes your priority. You search for opportunities to make them joyful. Your money falls from your hands like soap, so that their needs can be met." According to Sam, "This changes you. You open up to let someone in and it is a privileged responsibility."
Rachel Says ...
Rachel is the mom of a wide-eyed, curly-haired, smiling baby of five months. She has had a lot of reflections, lately, and was ready to share. She gave this advice: "Have a plan for how you're going to eat right for the first six weeks. This could even mean working it into your budget to buy more ready-made meals. Alos, have easy-to-access-and-prepare snacks and veggies. Decide that you're going to make the time to eat well and prioritise those three meals a day. It becomes easier to skip meals after the baby comes, but it will catch up to you. Consider taking a multi-vitamin too."
Rachel also suggested that you "have a soul-filling time in your day or week." You need to "spend time on the interests that awaken your senses and refresh and inspire you." For Rachel, these include Masters research, audiobooks and spending time working on her balcony garden. She says, "we have more to offer to our children's development and care when we are giving attention to our own. It really is true that taking care of yourself (physically and mentally) is ultimately taking care of your baby."
On the subject of breast feeding, she said "don't wait until your nipples are starting to feel sore before using nipple cream. Use that stuff from Day One!"
Speaking of her relationship with her husband, she said, "Be prepared for the dynamics that will change when it comes to your relationship: when intimacy changes or has stopped due to body recovery in the first six weeks, or when you're not as free to go out together and do fun things on a whim, or when your life as a mom seems to have gotten smaller. In these times, find ways to connect over activities and hobbies without having to leave the house. See this as an opportunity to build more communication into your relationship. It was also helpful to know that relationship struggles, after having a baby, are really very common. The first few months are the hardest — and then it gets better!"
Rachel tells moms-to-be: "Know that you're entering into the territory of laying down your rights to a lot of things, and that you'll have times of feeling resentful about that. I would encourage mothers not to fight it, but embrace it. I was advised to write down all the reasons to lay down my rights and do it joyfully — for my daughter's sake, for the happiness of my home's sake, for my relationship's sake. It helps having that written manifesto."