Well 2 days ago I had the blessed privilege of attending a baby shower for a beautiful friend, sister in Christ and deserving mom to be. As expected we played the games and one of them being you were not allowed to mention the word ‘baby’ at any point during the whole shower. So creative thinking set in and I replaced “baby shower” with the above title whenever I needed to mention it which made me feel like Einstein for a moment. Nevertheless I lost all my 4 pegs because I just couldn’t help saying baby. Blame it on the baby brain even though I’m not sure I still qualify for that excuse 18 months later.
What I love about baby showers is just how every woman who has had a child suddenly is at the same level with every other mother. Be it you are 19 or 35, you suddenly share a common bond and you understand each other at a level no one can explain. Motherhood brings you new friendships and makes you look at life and people from a different set of lenses. A lot of things suddenly make sense and boy do you regret some of the remarks you made in your single-woman life!
So my favourite part came. Advice session. Our glowing mom to be was sitted in the middle of the room and everyone present had the opportunity to give their words of wisdom and finally prayed for her. What was so beautiful was feeling the baby kick as we prayed, priceless!!
The beauty of motherhood is it’s a never-ending education program. You keep on learning and the lessons learnt are so invaluable and will almost always be just as useful to any other mother. Even if you have 1 child or 10, you are bound to learn something new as you interact with other moms. So my mind got thinking, what advice do you give a mom to be especially a first time mom? I thought to share with you some advice that was shared and also a few more points of my own.
- ENJOY! This word was emphasized so much it may as well have been a fitting theme for the evening. Everyone said different points but came back to the word enjoy. Why so much attention to it? Motherhood can be one of the most trying and challenging times in a woman’s life. There are days where one would wish you could put that baby back where it came from. No matter how much you love your child, it happens. But the key phrase that accompanies this word is “It does not last forever”. Yes those challenging times don’t last. Before you know it, its over. So why not make the most of it and just enjoy the ride. A friend once said to me as I whined about wanting the pregnancy to be over and done with, this was the closest I was ever going to be with my child. Once they are out they will keep going further and further away, first daycare, then kindie, primary school, high school, university and out of the nest :(. Enjoy the last trimester which is usually the hardest as you are absolutely tired of being pregnant because once its out its out.
- Keep a positive state of mind. This point is very much intertwined with the first one. It does get hard, the waking up for nappy changes, feeds and comforting a crying baby has its toll. Add to the mix a tired sleep deprived mom, not easy. Just try to remain positive, the baby is not doing this to be spiteful. They need you and are completely reliant on you. Just remember that this too shall pass.
- Acknowledge that you cannot do it all by yourself. We would all love to walk around with a cape and a nice costume with a big letter S printed on the chest but we are not those type of heroes. We get tired, we get worn out and we clearly need a break from time to time.Becoming a mom does not mean you stop being human so if every other human being out there needs a break at times why not you? Use all the help you can because a tired and frustrated mommy is not going to be as efficient as a well rested one. Or maybe I should say a ‘somewhat rested one’ as it is almost impossible to find a well rested mom any given day. Get your friends and family to bring food if possible, do the dishes, do the vacuuming or look after baby for a bit while you get some zzz especially those first weeks.
- Pray for your child. This does not have to wait till the child is born or even conceived. When you start planning to have your babies, start praying for them for remember God knew you before you were even conceived in your mother’s womb. He knows your children before you do. Pray over your growing belly, start speaking positive words into their lives. When they grow up they will not depart from the word of the Lord. One thing I did was to use those night-time feed sessions to read the Bible and pray for my little girl. I had the Bible in the nursery and would get a couple of chapters in the peace of the night. I would pray for her and she nursed. It was a beautiful bonding time and actually gave me something to look forward to during those midnight feeds. It made them enjoyable.
- Remember every baby is different. They do come with the same genetic code that will make them dirty their diapers as soon as you have changed them or wake up as soon as you lay them down after rocking for 2 hours. Well besides that they are different. Learn your child and don’t compare. Your child is unique to you and unique in their own way. Both of you are learning each other and soon will get to know what each other likes.
- Labour lasts a couple of days at most, the baby lasts a lifetime so don’t be scared of labour. It is over before you know, invest your time in reading and finding information on how to look after your little one when they make their appearance. That is where the hard work lies.
- Listen to your body. Do not be pressured by social norms. You need to be aware that not all children can be born naturally and you know what, what is important is a healthy mom and healthy baby. It would be nice if all of us could have a natural birth with no meds and breastfeed etc but it’s not always possible. If you can do that fantastic but as I was once told, there is no record of your birthing method, if you took the epidural or not or whether you breastfeed or formula feed on your child’s birth certificate so don’t get hung up on those issues. Do what is best for your baby and yourself period!
- Look after your first child, yes your husband/partner. He was there first so don’t forget him. the baby came as a result of him being in your life so he needs to be attended to as well. This multitasking skill will become easier at time goes. Have date nights, tell him you love him, tell him when you feeling not so good, let him in, allow him to know what you are going through to make it easier for him to understand what you are going through. He is also going through the adjustment phase into parenthood. Allow him time to bond with the baby, you have had 9 months to bond while baby was inside of you so give him time to bond as well.
- Look after yourself too! Rest, have a quick shower or long bath whenever the opportunity arises, eat well and get some fresh air. It improves your overall mood positively. And a very important point to remember is that we all want to love our children and live happily ever after but post partum depression happens. No one plans to get it but it can get the best of us. Recognize the symptoms and seek help sooner rather than later because there is help out there for you. It doesn’t make a bad mom, in fact it takes a good mother to acknowledge her weaknesses and seek help.
- Above all, trust in God. The Lord is your strength, through Him you can do the impossible. Don’t be afraid to ask the desires of your heart. Do not underestimate the power of God and what He can do for you. Nothing is too big or too small for Him.
I wish you all the best in your journey into motherhood x