I wish I could go back in time and sit down with my twenty-four year old self after seeing that first positive pregnancy test. I would take myself by the hand, sit her down at our then kitchen counter (because our apartment didn’t have room for a kitchen table) and tell her, “Hey there. I’m future you. First of all, everything’s going to be okay. I know you’re freaking out right now. Your life’s about to change in an incredible way, but I’ve got some tips for you and things I want you to know…”
- Make sure you have a strong relationship with your partner before you have your baby. See, Brad and I had only been together (off and on, mind you) for about a year before we got pregnant. We had gotten engaged a month before finding out. We honestly barely knew each other. It hasn’t been easy, but I wouldn’t want to parent with anyone else. I thought I loved my husband before, but after seeing him become a father, I love him infinitely more. He keeps me grounded. However, parenting is freaking hard – it’s stressful and exhausting. It’s important to know as much about your partner as possible so that you can be the ying to their yang after having your baby. And if you can build that relationship before having your baby, things will be easier. It’ll help. Trust me
- Be open minded. Be open minded. BE OPEN MINDED!!!!! You can have the most well-thought out birth plan imaginable, but inevitably, it will not go as planned. I can promise you that. Be open minded as much as possible, whether it’s about your birth plan, breastfeeding, staying home vs. working, etc. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my parenting journey, it’s that being flexible makes all situations a lot easier. I thought breastfeeding would be a breeze. I always assumed because it was such a natural thing, I would just naturally be good at it. WRONG. I struggled so much in breastfeeding both of my babies and supplemented with formula. When I started supplementing with Eliana, I was devastated. With Arlo, I haven’t given it a second thought. I know breastfeeding is a weakness I have and that’s fine. I own it. I’m much more open minded this time around. He’ll be fine. I thought with Eliana that I would have a natural birth. I would get aggravated when someone would tell me to be open minded about it. Little did I know that 13 hours in I would be begging for an epidural. With Arlo, I got the epidural as soon as I could and the labor was a breeze. If I had been more open minded with Eliana, I would have saved myself a lot of stress.
- Your body is never going to be the same. I almost typed here that I wouldn’t miss my old body. That’s a total lie. I miss my flat stomach. I miss not having so much damn cellulite. But it’s worth it. Oh my gosh is it worth it. I have a ton of stretch marks now and pee myself on the regular, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I got to see my body go through two beautiful pregnancies. Our bodies are capable of such amazing things!
- You won’t need half of the things you thought you would. Wipe warmer: dumb. Crib bedding: really expensive and also dumb. Kids are simple. Honestly, when Eliana was a baby, she was much more fascinated with paper towel rolls and tissue paper than she ever was with the electronic toys we bought her. The more gizmos and gadgets you have, the more complicated things become. Simplify.
- Your child will definitely throw mega temper tantrums in Target, but you’ll be just fine. I always thought “Nope! Not my child! My kid will never be like that kid!” when I saw some toddler freaking out over not getting to eat a candle in Target. Little did I know that I would indeed have a toddler who throws tantrums in Target. But I’m way more relaxed about it than I thought I would be. I’ve learned to just deal with it and move on. She’ll find a ball in about ten seconds and do a 180 anyways…
- You’re going to add Moana songs to your iPhone’s music playlist and jam out to them in your car when you’re by yourself. I think that speaks for itself. No shame.
- Your life is about to change in a HUGE way, but you’ll be the happiest you’ve ever been. In all honesty, I didn’t ask for Eliana. She was a big surprise. Kids weren’t even on our radar when I got pregnant with her. But God sure knew I needed her. After I had Eliana, I knew why I was alive. Seeing her and Arlo grow has been the biggest blessing I could have ever imagined. I’m their mom. Some days I still can’t believe it. I gave birth to these two wonderful human beings and I get the pleasure of nurturing them and helping them along the way. I never knew love like this was possible. They’ve shown me who I am and I’m forever grateful to them for that. They’ve made me love my husband more. They’ve brought a deeper meaning to my life. I can’t imagine my life any different. I wouldn’t want it to be.