Before becoming pregnant, I had nannied for ten years and was well versed in everything about babies. I felt fairly confident going into motherhood with all of the experience that I had behind my belt. I knew that it’d be different now that this baby was my own, but I wasn’t sure which parts I wouldn’t be prepared for. Over the past eleven months (plus ten months of pregnancy), here are the things that surprised me the most.
1. Pregnancy is overwhelmingly hard for some women.
I’m so thankful that I had a healthy pregnancy, but the physical and emotional changes that took place on my body took a toll on me. I had hopes of loving everything about being pregnant, but it was honestly miserable. I was surprised at how severe morning (all day) sickness was for me, how hard is was to watch my body morph into a size I never knew, and how the hormonal changes completely overtook me with depression.
2. Birth is powerful and can impact you and your baby long term.
I have always loved birth and knew that how my baby was born was really important, but I was surprised at how much certain aspects of the birth have affected me. It has been eleven months since I’ve given birth to my son, but I still think about it every day. There are so many moments that I love and some painful disappointments. But more on my birth story later.
3. Breastfeeding is more than just milk.
I’ve known about the powerful nutritional benefits of breastmilk, but I didn’t know how many other advantages that breastfeeding has for mom and baby. Breastfeeding helps to strengthen your bond with your baby, can be a source of security and comfort, and can increase your child’s IQ. It is literally the most perfect food made – so amazing.
4. My passion for protecting children became unwavering.
Before becoming pregnant, I was fairly timid about voicing my opinions and often collapsed under pressure into the more accepted opinion. That completely changed once I became a mama – my mother bear instincts escalated ten-fold and I don’t back down as easily, especially when a child’s well-being is at stake.
5. Our parenting choices are looked down upon.
Our family lives an unconventional lifestyle when compared to mainstream families, especially in the Christian community. We practice peaceful, attachment parenting, which involves extended breastfeeding, bed-sharing, gentle discipline, etc. It’s been surprising to constantly hear negative comments about our choices and lack so much support, especially when we have research (and strong mama instincts) backing us up.