10 things I wish I knew when I was pregnant

10 things I wish I knew when I was pregnant

Recently a woman told me she was about to go on maternity leave and I felt called to share some advice with her that I wish I had been told. I often feel that first time mums are not informed about things that matter to their experience so here's what I shared with her:

  • Take some time to be clear about the birth and postpartum experience you want. What it looks like, what if feels like, who is there. Look into having a doula at your birth and during postpartum. They are great at providing emotional support for you and your partner (who will also experience this wild change alongside of you) and can advocate for whatever you want. Remember it is your body, your baby and your birth. You can say no to any test, examination or scan. You are the authority of your body and baby.

  • Have a listen to the audiobook Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage - so many nuggets of wisdom in there.

  • Research matrescence. This is the journey of becoming a mother. Similar to adolescence, matrescence encapsulates the transition of maiden to mother - the hormonal shifts, the identity shift, all of it. I recommend reading Mama Rising by Amy Taylor-Kabaz (Aussie journo). She also has a great podcast with the same name.

  • Focus on your postpartum experience now. It's common for everyone to have a birth plan but postpartum often comes as a shock. While you're experiencing massive hormonal crashes, recovering from childbirth, trying to bond with a baby and keep them alive with little sleep the last thing on your mind is your own wellbeing but it is SO important. Helpful things to consider are meal trains, postpartum doulas, allocating enough time to rest and recover and establish breastfeeding (if that's your plan) and remembering that you are as vulnerable as your new baby and deserve to be held and cared for just as much as them.

  • Trust your intuition, it deepens immensely through motherhood.

  • Don't get caught up in societies expectations - you don't have to "enjoy every minute," in fact I don't think that is even possible! You're not doing wrong if you're not in baby bliss all the time.  Enjoy what you can and share the rest. You're never alone in how you're thinking and feeling - we've all been there.

  • Mothers groups can be hit and miss but being connected with people going through the same journey at the same time is invaluable. You'll soon realise that you're all in this together. They can keep you sane.

  • Child and Family Health nurses at the hospital can administer vaccinations (if that's your thing) so you don't have to go to a GP if you don't want.

  • Lactation consultations are worth their weight in gold (if breastfeeding is your thing). There are publicly funded ones at the hospital or private ones in the community. This is also covered by Medicare for the first six weeks I think.

  • Motherhood is a journey, there will be good days and bad days - try and build your own village of supportive people who can help you through it. 

What else would you add?


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