This is a guest post from 1st time Mom Julie
With just three weeks left until I’m due with our first child, (a baby boy!) I’m a nervous ball of energy. Okay, maybe “energy” isn’t the right word. I get out of breath trying to get out of bed, feel like I ran a marathon when I climb a flight of stairs, and my feet get swollen if I stand for more than 5 minutes. But on the inside, I’m bursting with excitement and anticipation. The past 9 months have flown by, and I can’t believe that in less than a month, our lives will be changed forever.
Like all expecting moms, I’m really excited but I’m also super anxious about all the changes a child will surely bring. My husband and I have heard it all; advice from friends, the in-laws, family, strangers in the grocery store, you name it. But we both know it’s completely different to read & hear about “what to expect”, and another to actually experience it. I have faith that we’ll start to figure everything out as we go, but here are some of my biggest fears as we get closer to D-day.
Will I lose my own identity once I become a mother?
It took one second of hearing his little heartbeat at an ultrasound appointment to know that I will give up everything and anything to make my child happy and safe. But will I be able to balance that fine line of keeping things and hobbies that are important to me while growing into a new version of me as a parent? Can I be “me” and “mom” at the same time? I think this is something most moms probably struggle with, but right or wrong, I never really appreciated it until now.
What if I never lose all this baby weight?
I’m a petite 5’2” and have gained nearly 40 pounds already. I haven’t really changed my eating habits, still exercise every day, we haven’t been making the cliche fast food or ice cream runs, and I’m not craving weird foods. And yet, I can’t believe how quickly I’ve packed on the pounds despite all of that. And don’t get me started on the size of my hips right now! Have you seen the newest Kate Middleton photo? A few weeks after giving birth and she looks fabulous already. And if a princess can do it, why can’t I? (yeah right). Hopefully I can recover in a healthy and manageable way and won’t have to throw out all of the clothes and shoes in my closet.
What if I can’t keep my children safe?
Mr. Google has been my best friend over the past 9 months, I’ve double checked everything to make sure it’s safe for my developing baby. I’m already paranoid about protecting him, but what about once he’s out in the world and it’s out of my control? I’m having nightmares of bullies in school, stranger danger, one of his future coaches taking advantage of him, or any other CSI-type scenario running through my hormonal anxiety-ridden brain. I am hopeful that I will be able to educate him on how to protect himself, and create a family environment where we can be open and talk about everything, but it doesn’t make it any less scary!
Will I have to choose between my career and family?
And what if I make the wrong choice? My success in my career right now has required a kind of single-minded focus, but what will happen when my children come into the picture? Will I face repercussions if I have to take a day off when my son is sick, or what if I can’t stay late at the office to meet a deadline because I have to pick him up from school or daycare? If nothing else, I know to expect a juggling act that most women deal with on a daily basis.
You can read every What To Expect When You’re Expecting book on the market, but I know nothing can fully prepare you for the changes that will happen once you have kids. I’ll keep you updated on my journey along the way, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What were you excited or fearful about during your pregnancy?
Is there something you wish you knew before your babies were born?
Julie lives in the suburbs of NJ, right outside NYC with her husband, adorable rescue pup Murphy, and will soon be welcoming a baby boy into the family in September. By day, she runs Etch Communications, which helps authors & small businesses with their public relations & marketing needs. In her free time, she loves to exercise, create DIY projects, bake gluten-free goodies, drink gin & tonics, and swoon over letterpress stationery. You can find Julie on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
I agree that there is a major difference between listening to others advice on motherhood and actually experiencing it. I am at the same place as you but with my second baby due in January. I keep hearing about how life will be with a toddler AND a newborn but I’m very scared and anxious about it. I’m more scared this time around, having the experience of raising a two year old, than I was with the unknown idea of what life will be like as a mother! But overall, it is very fun and exciting. I wish you the best of luck!
Hi Monica, thanks so much. And congrats on the exciting new baby! Please check back in and let us know how life is going with a toddler & newborn – I’m sure you will be great! Double the blessings 🙂
You will be great! The best advice I can give you is to relax and really enjoy the first year, it’s amazing! As far as juggling your career and kids, well I am happy to say it can be done and you can do both!! Prioritize and set boundaries and be 100% present when at work and 100% present when not at work. All of us have to find our own way to navigate it all and I think we can 🙂
Congrats on the little bundle! It’s so normal to worry about these things. It does take a bit of figuring out in the beginning — you’re a mother, but you have an identity beyond that — and it can take a little while to find the balance. Be kind to yourself, allow yourself (and your baby!) time to adjust to this new phase of life, and mostly ENJOY. Don’t worry about dirty dishes or laundry that might creep up. Cuddle your little one and soak it all in. You’ll do wonderful!
My advice would be 1. Don’t let anyone tell you how to raise your kid. Trust me, it’s more than likely they didn’t do such a stellar job. 2. Do not eat your kids leftovers. Kids meals look way better then anything we ever eat. It is hard as hell not to but it can be done. 3. Don’t buy a lot of new clothes. You will be shocked how quickly they grow and how you will end up giving away clothes that still have the tag on it. Best of luck!
It’s totally normal to worry about these things and with time you will find that all of this will work itself out. It really will. Will you lose your old self? Yes. Will you find someone stronger, smarter, more experienced, etc…? Absolutely. I wrote about this a little bit ago that I think new moms have all the instincts they need to take care of themselves and their baby, but the trick is to listen to those instincts. Good luck! http://wp.me/p3P05h-1d
Oh I was terrified before I gave birth to my son (also a September baby!) Four years later and one more kids in the house and I feel like I’m still bumbling along some days. A few things we have picked up, and yes, you will figure out how to make life with a baby work for YOU in your own way, not someone elses. But #1 That first week I didn’t change any diapers with both kids. I was lucky my husband had great paternity leave and could be home with us. I told him if I’m dealing with healing and putting food in the baby, he can at least deal with what comes out. Hubby was more than happy to do it. He also became a master swaddler in the processes. #2 There are two days in the weekend. You each get one morning to sleep in. Even if you are up doing feedings every 2 hours, knowing that you don’t physically have to get out of bed to deal with anything one morning a week is heavenly. Call your mom, read a book, go back to bed. Whatever you need to do to stay sane that first year, you do it. Heck, we still each get one day to sleep in on the weekends. It’s fantastic!
Enjoy these last few weeks and enjoy those first few months of motherhood. They will never be the same, even if you have another baby. This is your time to just be mom, dad and one baby boy 🙂