What I can tell you that I now know with confidence are these handy nuggets of wisdom:
- Everyone tries to prepare you for childbirth. From the doctors to the birthing class, BUT no one tells you anything about what follows the hours after you labor. WHY??? Why did we have a four week class on the portion of the process when a nurse is literally holding your hand with every breath and every push, why did we go over every detail of what is going to happen naturally whether you want it to or not, and yet we spent ZERO minutes on the recovery? What my body felt like and went through was a shock to the system and I certainly could've used a few head's up, ya know?!
- Breastfeeding, albeit the most "natural" way to feed your precious wee one is anything but natural in the beginning. More to come on this one. This venture deserves its own post.
- I'm learning just how much, or just how little, sleep I can function on. To the self who thought I needed 8 hours to avoid being nauseous from exhaustion, I laugh in your sweet, naive face. Five and a half hours is where I'm headed most nights and still somehow manage to form coherent sentences. And nausea? Ain't nobody got time for that!
- My personal level of hygiene has taken a dramatic turn over the last three months. In years past, I could probably count on one hand how many times in a 365 day span that I'd go without a shower. Even if I had to be up at 4am for an early morning flight, I'd shower. Ha! What a fool! In the first few weeks of entering momma land, showers were few and far between and when they occurred, I'd stand in there and feel as though I was suddenly on vacation. No one was in there asking to be held, fed, rocked, etc... There was no laundry or dust bunnies mocking me as struggled to decide between a 20 minute nap or a load of whites. It was all about me amongst those tiled walls and it was warm and clean and magical and glorious. I wanted it to last for 4 hours. Some days I'd even cry because all I wanted was a shower. Yes, real tears, people. I had hit cleanliness rock bottom. Luckily I've found a healthy balance between clean and questionable, and have realized that some days, just wearing normal clothes and make-up is clean enough. And that is why on the 8th day the good Lord created deodorant and saw that it was good.
- Friends and family who bring over meals are the closest things to angels as I've ever witnessed. There are no words really. Cooking was the LAST thing I wanted to do, especially when my appetite failed me for the first week after Nash's arrival. It was such a blessing to have warm, nutritious meals arrive, and to be able to spend the time I'd normally spend cooking just holding my little man. Thank you!
- Do NOT move with a newborn. That is all. No, seriously, do not do it.
- When traveling away from home, do not remove any part of the stroller, regardless of how trivial that part may seem. If it's attached assume that junk is crucial. I shall not name any names or point any fingers, but the so called "non-essential cup holder tray" that is "just taking up room in the car" can turn out to be the very thing that holds the car seat into the stroller. Totally hypothetical and it has never happened to us while traveling to New York. I'm just trying to look out for you friends.
- Nothing prepares you for rocking your two month old to sleep in a cold, lonely hospital room in the middle of the night. Luckily we only had a one night stay, but that was one night too many for this momma. I wanted my baby home.
- Nothing can prepare you for the love you feel for someone you've only just met. My cup runneth over and over and over. There are so many 3:00am moments of simply hugging my son tight in the stillness of our home and thanking the Lord that out of all of the babies in all of creation, He chose this one for us. This small miracle who made me a mom is the greatest gift I've ever been given and I shall hug him and hold him tight even when the stillness turns to chaos and his tininess turns to barely fitting and than not fitting in my arms at all. There's just nothing like it in the world.