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6 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Became a Parent

6 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Became a Parent

1. You will never stop worrying again.

I joked about this with a friend of mine when she became pregnant not long after me, but honestly it's no wonder so many women suffer Postpartum Anxiety, I am sure many of them carry it through their pregnancy too.

From the moment you get that positive test the thought runs through your mind - what if I have a miscarriage? You make it to 12 weeks, but still things could go wrong. If you are lucky enough to deliver a healthy baby, something else will pop up, it's a never ending cycle of easing one worry and then another creeping up.

I suffered anxiety prior to becoming a mum, but I have worried about things that I never would have given more than a second thought to since becoming pregnant with Sonny. Long road trips? What if we have an accident? I am a seasoned flyer, but now I find myself quite anxious through the entire process. This is a normal part of becoming a parent, you’re responsible for the wellbeing of another human now.

However, if you are feeling overwhelmed by your anxiety, and it is affecting your ability to do every day tasks - please reach out to a friend, family member or professional for support.

2. Even if your baby has a fantastic latch, breastfeeding will more than likely HURT for the first month.

I remember going to breastfeeding classes while pregnant and the midwife saying “if their latch is good, it shouldn’t hurt’ - I beg to differ.

I was so lucky with Sonny, even though we were separated right after birth as he took a quick trip to Special Care, he was a natural from the first feed. That didn’t mean I didn’t get cracked, sore and even bleeding nipples.

Nipple butter became my best friend, and I went through a hell of a lot of it those first few weeks. But - I persevered and now we are 20 months in and still going strong, I barely feel a thing now. However, breastfeeding is not for everyone and that’s totally ok.

Maybe your baby has trouble latching, maybe you need certain medication, or perhaps the demand on your body is a little too much for your mental health. While I encourage all mamas who wish to breastfeed to stick it out those first few weeks and seek support from a Lactation Consultant (La Leche League is a fantastic program available in Canada) if necessary, if it is not working for you and your babe it is always better to have you both happy and healthy and for some families this means formula feeding. 

3. Talk to your partner about how they can help.

They tell you this over and over - ask for support when you need it, but as women we are inherently predisposed to trying to ‘do it all ourselves’. I have an amazingly supportive husband but I still struggled (and often still do) with actually telling him what I needed from him.

I tend to be fiercely independent, and rather simply telling Joe what he can do to make my life easier I assume he can read my mind and then get mad at him for not figuring it out after a week of getting frustrated.

In the months after Sonny was born while I was putting him to bed, Joe would sit on the couch watching Netflix etc., I would come down and join him, then around 10:30-11:00 he would go to bed and I would stay up, some times for hours cleaning the kitchen and tidying the house for the next day while listening to a podcast.

I hate waking up to a messy kitchen, and to an extent enjoyed have a bit of ‘me time’ (ha) but I was perpetually exhausted. I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but I’m sure eventually one night I snapped and said - “You know you could be doing something productive like the dishes while I’m putting Sonny down”. It was a game changer for me, and now over a year later he still does the dishes and cleans the kitchen almost every night while I do bedtime, and on the odd night he does bedtime, I do them.

He could have begun doing it weeks earlier if I had simply asked him to, instead of quietly stewing over it, expecting him to just ‘get it’. Also, remember that your partner is trying to figure out this whole parenting thing too, being a good partner or a good parent is completely different from being a good co-parent - its all part of the process.

4. Some of your friendships will change, and that’s ok - find your tribe, they will help get you through.

One of the most wonderful things to me about being pregnant, and having a baby is the strengthening of so many of my relationships.

Women I had considered mere acquaintances before being pregnant have become friends, I have gained a much greater understanding of those friends I had previously who already had kids and I have connected with and grown friendships with strangers on the internet. Having babies has a way of bringing you together with people you may not have met or interacted with had you both not had kids, who you would have become friends with given the chance pre-babes.

The first couple of years we lived in Canada I really struggled to make friends. I wasn’t able to work due to visa restrictions and we living in a very small town (Queen Charlotte, Haida Gwaii - population 950), so I mostly socialized with Joe’s extended family. We moved to Terrace not long before Sonny was born and I met people here and there but it wasn’t until I began attending all the ‘mom groups’ that I met some of the ladies who I now call good friends.

Having these women, who mostly also happen to be first-time moms has been priceless - and so have the chats with friends from other stages of my life who are going through the early years of motherhood a world away, but who I am able to stay connected through via social media and even the new friends I have made through my business pages.

So keep your heart open, you never know who might become your new bestie.

5. Don’t buy bodysuits/sleepers with snaps.
I know, but there’s that one that is so cute. However, they are the last thing you want to be dealing with in the middle of the night, fumbling in the dark or even when you’re out on the go.

Double zips? Even better! We only stock sleepers with zips. Sapling Child and Goldie + Ace’s sleepers both offer two-way zips, while Piper Bug’s have a hidden zip crotch.

6. Starting solids actually kind of sucks.

I was so excited for Sonny to start solids. I was going to make cute Insta-worthy meals for him and we would slow down on the breastfeeding a little - what a dream, right?

Instead, we ended up with most of the food on the floor and time spent making meals that mostly went uneaten. I’m sure that in the beginning the fact that we did baby-led weaning didn’t help the mess factor.

Thank goodness for the dogs aka clean up team, who quickly learned that the best place to sit was right under the highchair. We have certainly had our challenges with solids, Sonny wasn’t a big eater for a long time, that is finally starting to change - but I have friends with babes who are the total opposite and will demolish everything in sight, eating as much as their parents!

Every babe is different and they will eat when they are hungry. As always though, if you are worried about how much/little your babe is eating, especially if they are dropping or dramatically rising on their growth curve speak to your healthcare provider.