Are you an expecting momma getting ready to embark on this motherhood journey? If so, do you feel like you know what is about to happen to your body, to your marriage, to your life?
I say this with the utmost respect and admiration for the journey you've already been on through pregnancy, but honey, you have absolutely no idea what you are about to experience when you welcome your child into this world.
While there really is no better way to learn about this chaotic time in your life than to experience it yourself, sometimes honest and raw advice from women who have been there can help ease the crazy transition from adult with no kids to momma of a newborn baby.
You hear from me all the time when it comes to my experiences in this parenting adventure, but I wanted to offer you more with this post's topic.
I've reached out to some mom friends of mine and asked them for their best advice and words of wisdom for mommas who are about to take the plunge into parenthood. I love the wide array of perspectives you'll read below (there's even a twin momma's input!) and I hope you find knowledge, comfort, and inspiration in what they have to say!
Kimi - Mom of 2
1) Throw your baby book out the window. Or burn it in the fireplace. Or at the very least put it in a box under lock and key. While there's good advice in those books it's also enough to drive you mad and with the raging hormones you'll have surging post-birth, it'll make you a full blown nutcase. Go with your gut. Motherhood is more instinctual than we give it credit for these days. I found my most tearful, frustrating days were when I was trying to align my parenting and my baby to a chapter I had read in some book written by a retired doctor holed up in an office who clearly forgot what sleep deprivation is like. My best moments were when I just went with what felt right. It's tried and true advice that every baby is different and every mother is different too. You were given your baby for a reason so trust that you will know what they need, when they need it. The last thing you need is guilt or shame keeping you up in the middle of the night---you have a baby to give you insomnia.. you don't need a book to add to the exhaustion ;).
2) A lot of people tell you to find mommy friends with similar aged babies and do it quick. I learned that it will come with time. In those first few weeks, it's ok to be housebound. It's ok to not leave your house except to check the mail. There's no shame in just staying on the couch with that little one, in yoga pants and no makeup. Don't feel the stress to find your tribe as soon as that baby exits you or to attempt to maintain a social life. You will have time and plenty of seasons for playdates and parties. Nothing was more stressful to me in those first few weeks than trying to figure out how to get myself ready, keep a baby fed/on schedule, and try and leave my house and arrive in a presentable state. Enjoy the excuse for the next month to just stay put. Before that baby becomes so active that you have to leave the house everyday, relish these moments where y'all can just embrace unbrushed hair, mismatched clothes and the safety of home.
3) Say "yes" to help. I am the queen of "No, I got this" living but once I had children, particularly in those early days, I realized I needed to let my barriers down, shove my pride to the side and just ask for the village to help. If people are asking to help, allow them to do things for you that would be helpful. Not only is it going to lift a weight off you, it'll also allow those people who love you to feel as if they're a part of this season of your life. Be realistic, though, in what is needed. If you don't want people coming over, you can at least let them drop a meal at the door or order you food delivery so you don't have to cook. If someone wants to come see the baby, allow them to hold that sweet nugget while you treat yourself to a well-deserved shower. If you do need some adult interaction, ask a friend to just come by and sit or allow them to help you with laundry. This is a time when people will be rushing to your door to offer their hands... take it, girl. It's ok to admit that you're in the trenches of motherhood right now and there's no shame in saying "yes" to help when it's freely offered. The more help you have, the more refreshed you'll feel which will help in the long run!
Overall, I have found in motherhood that you gotta go with your gut, stay true to who you are as a unique mother to your children, and don't sweat the small stuff. Everyone says infancy goes so fast and you never believe it until one day you're looking at a kid headed off to school and you just wish you could get another day back when they laid in your arms and slept. Each season of motherhood is different and you have to just allow yourself to be in it. So, enjoy those first few days and weeks when you're sleep deprived, nursing every hour and changing diapers around the clock. It's good in its own ways and once that season passes, you'll be on to the next. You're the perfect mother for your baby so allow yourself to embrace the role in all its glory.
Erin S. - Mom of 1
1. I felt like I had to be able to do it all.. I was the mom, so I should have it all figured out. FALSE! Don't be afraid to ask for help.. and lean on other people.
2. When it came to breastfeeding.. just as much as we as mom's are learning the do's and don'ts. So are the babies. They are learning how to latch, how to breathe and swallow, just as we are learning how to hold them the best way etc. once I accepted that, breastfeeding became so much more relaxed and enjoyable.
3. Take home as many of the postpartum materials they give you in the hospital. The squirt bottle and numbing spray were a God send. And sit on the baby's boppy pillow until you are all healed!
DEmi W. - Mom of 1
1. Don’t Google!! stay away it will only make you worry/freak out more.
2. Mommy instinct is a real thing, trust it.
3. Coffee is your friend! For me it was Spark but whichever works. Use your friend.
4. Never turn down help, even if you think you have it and you want to be super mom. Sometimes a 15 minutes shower will save your sanity than the 4 minute shower you would’ve had if you didn’t get help. I went through a stage where I didn’t want to ask for help because I felt like it meant I wasn’t a good mom or just couldn’t handle it.
5. Life is about to change completely in the best way, your little is going to be your favorite thing in the world and even though you want to stare at him/her sleeping, take advantage of rest while you can
6. Don’t forget about your significant other, and don’t be afraid to ask them to help too. As Moms we try and make it just our job but they helped get the baby too
7. Enjoy it and treasure it because it goes by WAY WAY WAY too fast
8. What works with one mom and one baby may not work for another, don’t feel like you’re wrong or doing something bad just because you have a different way of doing things.
Chelsea c. - mom of Twins
Being a mom is hard. I won't sugar coat that. But adding another baby in the mix at the same time makes daily tasks ten times harder. FORGET THE TASKS! One piece of advice that EVERYONE gives is sleep when the baby sleeps, but if you have twins that doesn't necessarily apply. I say this because sometimes when one baby is asleep, the other one is awake. It's never ending at first. You should ask people who want to come over and meet the babies that you want to take a nap- a real, uninterrupted nap. That's the only way you'll sleep the first few weeks because at this point it's hard to get both babies on a schedule.
-do whatever you can to put them on a schedule. They say you can't train babies when they're newborns but my husband and I found that not to be true. We put both babies in their rockers and fed them at the same time and after about a month and a half they were eating every 3 hours which gave me some of my sanity back.
- get into a bedtime routine after a month. We now have 3 month olds and they sleep about 7 hours at night. It is awesome! I am still tired though!
- coffee will be your best friend. Invest in a good coffee maker and buy the strongest stuff possible, (if you're breastfeeding don't do this)
- Join your local MoMs(moms of multiples) group almost every city has one and it will be your life saver. There's plenty of moms who go through the exact same thing and you have someone to relate to
- Learn the art of bottle propping, trust me. As long as you're in the same room and can watch them drink the bottles, you can get your hair or makeup done and feel somewhat human again.
- Trust me when I say this, but brush your teeth every morning (or try to). Do one thing for yourself every day no matter if it means letting the babies cry for 5 minutes. Your sanity is important.
- It's okay to cry. It gets overwhelming, like, really overwhelming. I could have sworn I was going crazy a few times but I checked with other twin moms and they assured me it's totally normal.
- This is a big piece of advice but YOU DON'T NEED TWO OF EVERYTHING! Obviously for major items (cribs, car seats, etc) you do. But not for the smaller items. I would start off with one of each item (play mats, mamaroos, etc) because even though they're twins it doesn't mean that they like the same things. Each baby is different and you'll find out what makes each baby happiest. If they both like one item, that's when it's time to invest in the second one.
- Children's resale shops are amazing! If you're made of money don't worry about this but if you aren't (like most new parents) you'll want to buy most clothes on sale and best bet is that most clothes have only been worn one time or less because babies grow fast!
- Learn to laugh. It's hard to please two little humans at the same time. One will most likely always be crying. Laugh anyways.
- If you're pregnant with twins now, prepare yourself for early delivery. Most twin pregnancies do not deliver past 38 weeks. I tried to have my nursery complete by the end of the second trimester. It helped a lot because once the third trimester hit, I was exhausted. And huge. I didn't mind though, it was so awesome to meet my babies sooner than later!
- You will be in awe every single day you look at your babies. You made two babies at the same time! And it's true what they say; double the love, double the smiles and double the fun. I couldn't imagine having just one baby now. I put both babies in bed with me in the morning and they both just giggle and coo like crazy and it makes every tear or frustration disappear.
- To sum everything up, drink coffee in the morning, try to laugh throughout the day and don't sweat the small stuff. It gets easier each day and 10x more fun every month!!
I also want to say a special THANK YOU to all of the women who contributed to this post. You all took time out of your busy mom-lives to do this for my readers, and I know that was no easy task. I am SO grateful for the insightful and realistic advice you had to share, and I know it will be beneficial to all who read it!
Have some advice of your own you'd like to share with us? Leave your best tips, advice, and/or affirmations in the comments below!