BREASTFEEDING = HARD - I probably heard this once or twice too, but it definitely didn't sink in. I never entertained the notion that it wouldn't go perfectly, so I didn't prepare for any issues. I didn't factor in how long it would take to pump, or that breastfeeding anywhere but your house is just about the most uncomfortable activity. There is no back support, you can't bring your boppy everywhere, and it quite often ended in a sticky mess. I took a breastfeeding class, but it was not enough information. I wish I would have gotten more support, I feel like maybe then I could have breastfed for longer.
BREASTFEEDING IS WORTH IT - As hard as it was, it was probably the single most rewarding experience I have felt to date. There is nothing that compares to nursing your baby; the closeness and connection can not be expressed in words. I would have loved to have been better prepared, in which case, I think I could have done it longer than 4 months.
GUILT - This one I did hear about all during my pregnancy, but I just didn't understand it. I never knew guilt until I became a mother. Suddenly, I feel guilty for everything. I remember feeling guilty for taking a shower, because he awoke hungry while I was showering and had to wait five minutes to eat. I experienced extreme guilt over the decision to stop breastfeeding. The list goes on and on. I know that it is silly to feel guilty for things like this, but I can't control it.
POST PARTUM DEPRESSION CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE - Growing up, I heard about PPD and I thought, there is NO way that I can have that, I want to be a mom more than anything. I really thought it was something that happens to women who never really wanted kids and didn't have the "mother" gene. I am here to tell you that I was DEAD WRONG. I won't go into detail here about the exact feelings I felt, because I just don't know how to put it into words. My friend from college, Rebekah , wrote about it on her blog and she really described it more perfectly than I ever could. I was so ashamed of this that it took me months to even admit my feelings to anyone. I have since learned that there are preventative measures you can take.
- Get a support person before you give birth. Pick someone who is VERY close to you. Ask them to watch your behavior very closely and if they notice anything strange to offer to talk to you about it.
- Make sure your support person knows that this might not be something that is easy for you to talk about. The shame that accompanies this feeling is overwhelming, so your support person might need to be a little pushy.
- Tell your support person to remind you that what you are feeling is normal. It is also OK to see a doctor, if you think you are losing control of your emotions.
PULSE OXIMETER TESTING - I wish I would have known about this little test that can detect a heart defect. The most common birth defect and cause of death in infants is a Congenital Heart defect. My little brother was born with one, and died only a few days after he was born. Some CHD's can be detected with ultrasound, but others can not. A pulse Ox test is a strip placed on baby's foot that measures oxygen. When performed between 24-48 hours old it can detect an otherwise undetectable heart defect, thereby SAVING YOUR BABY'S LIFE. If the results show less than 95% then your baby should have further testing. The best part is all you have to is ask. Because the test is so inexpensive, hospitals don't have a problem running the test, but you must ask for it. More information can be found at Cora's Website.
SAVOR PREGNANCY - It is hard and uncomfortable, but you will probably miss it. So, treasure the time that you get to experience the little one inside you. It is a special gift that, sadly not all women get to experience.
TAKE MATERNITY PICTURES - I know some women don't feel comfortable showing their skin, but you will love to have the memories, and there are some wonderful photographers out there that will make you look great, even if you are 3 days from giving birth, like I was in this picture. The wonderful photographer who shot my maternity photos, is sadly not in the area anymore. Her husband was relocated to Kentucky, so if you live near there, you should give her a call, she is great! If you are in the Central/South Florida area you should check out Kallima Photography I have never had the privilege of using her, but I have followed her blog for a few years and her photos are impeccable, you will not be disappointed.