One of the best aspects of being part of a community is the benefit of learning from one another. Our mom of the month, Rebecca shares some wise tips that she learned along the way.
If you could go back and give yourself advice as a first-time mom, what would it be? Would you change anything about your new mom experience?
When I had my first baby, I was not even remotely prepared for all the opinions that those around me would suddenly feel compelled to share. When my son was 2 weeks old, in a single elevator ride, I was told “your baby will freeze without a hat in this weather!” and then 2 seconds later from someone else, “your baby is going to overheat if you keep that hat on any longer”. I wish I could tell myself to (1) take a deep breath, trust my gut, and be confident that I really do know my own baby best, and (2) understand that 95% of the time the comments were truly coming from a good place. People love to try to help young mothers and they mean well. But also, once those elevator doors open they’re never going to know if I kept the hat on or off so it’s remarkably easy to smile and nod and just move on with life.
What was the most helpful thing a relative or friend did for you in the first six weeks?
My mother-in-law and mom both alternated staying with us for a week or two after the birth of each kid. They were both amazing about proactively taking care of things around my home. They didn’t ask me, but they just went ahead and emptied the garbage, ran laundry, refilled my water glass, and made executive decisions on what needed to be restocked, cleaned, organized, etc. I didn’t have the brain power to make decisions and they relieved the need to do so, which I truly appreciated.
What did you call upon from your prenatal yoga practice to help you during labor and delivery? (and or as a Mom of 3)
I started at PYC when pregnant with my second. The most important advice I learned from and practiced there was to breath out in a low-pitched, audible tone during a contraction. Each of my labors was 17+ hours, and I have no idea how I survived the first without this advice. It helped tremendously during each contraction. Also, my third was my most physically demanding and involved the dolphin pose for 45 mins to try to reposition the baby, so I can assure you there’s no way I would have made it that long without my yoga practice. But thankfully it worked!
Any wisdom, tips, or bits of humor to share with our first time Mamas? (in regards to pregnancy, birth, or being a Mom)
Get in the photo! When I look back, I have so many more photos of my sons with my husband and other family members than I do of me with them. And, most of the ones I do have are posed or at events so they don’t capture me with the kids in daily, fun interactions. I’ve started trying to make sure that at least once a week I ask someone around to take a picture of us even if it’s something that feels mundane like reading a book to them while they eat dinner – those are the moments I want to remember. There’s also a great feature in Google Photos where it can automatically share photos with you any time your face (or any particular person) is in the photo. I activated it on my mom’s phone, so now I don’t miss out on any time she captures some of these moments. It can also be used to share photos of your kids between spouses’ phones, which is valuable as well.
What is your favorite way to bond with your baby and the rest of your family?
I make up and tell a bedtime story to my older boys every night, and this ritual is incredibly important to all of us. Since the baby arrived, I now weave him into the story. So, sometimes there might be a character of a “flying baby” who oversees a forest of animals, for example, and I’ll act it out, having the baby “fly” around the room. The older boys think it’s hilarious, and it allows me to stay focused on interacting with the baby and bringing everyone together during this time.