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What I Wish I'd Known Before My Baby Was Born

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Photograph by Twenty20

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My sisters and I have done many things in succession … boyfriends, college, marriage, travel. We've checked it all off, one right after the other. But, so far, I'm the only one who has had babies.

While they sleep through the night, I don't. While they shower in peace, I rush. While they commute to work in stylish outfits, I dig yesterday's yoga pants out of the laundry pile. C'est la vie.

They assure me their days with children will come, that neither of them intend to be forever aunts. But in the meantime, I find myself stocking away favorite baby products, hoarding darling clothes to pass on, and making lists of advice I don't want to forget to tell them. After all, the sleepless nights might eventually catch up with my poor memory! And in that case, I'll have this post to refer them to.

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I haven't chronicled these things to scare my sisters when their mom days beckon, but rather, to prepare them. So, dear sisters, here are a handful of things I wish I would have known BEFORE my baby was born. Thanks to me, you get to know it all ahead of time! Lucky ducks!

Hydration is everything.

When you're pregnant, when you're laboring, when you're nursing … water is your miracle. Learn to love it and drink up! You'll feel 100 times better!

You can ask for help.

This one took me awhile to learn. Because when you're a mom, you get this burning desire to be supermom. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but she doesn't exist. She is a fable and a lark and good moms ask for help when they need it. That's the truth! Learn what you are capable of (within reason) and outsource the rest.

My journey is my journey. No one really know my heartaches, struggles, and stress.

There is no shame in pajama days.

Not only is that true, but there is actually great joy in pajama days! Let your kids stay in their cozies, make pancakes, and snuggle in bed a little extra. In a world of go, go, go, it's important to teach our little ones to rest and relax.

The big kids can survive on snacks and movies.

Girls, when it's just you and Baby #1 things are pretty even—you only have one little person who needs you. But, when number two (and number three) comes along, you're outnumbered and something has to give. So, in those early days—and even in the later ones—know that your big kids can survive on bananas and graham crackers when you're not up to cooking. It's also not out of the question to ask the TV to babysit. Your surviving one day will turn into thriving another so don't be too hard on yourself when you don't feel like you're living up to all those Pinterest showcases.

Your lady bits need time to heal.

After you give birth, STAY IN BED. At least one day, preferably three. Your body was most likely torn into pieces bringing your sweet baby into the world and rest is the only thing that will get you back on your feet.

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Babywearing wins.

Need to get something done? Wear your baby! The sooner you can learn to wrap, ring sling, and buckle the better!

Going outside is rejuvenating.

When it all seems like too much, head outside. Fresh air, even if it's pouring rain, does a body and a mind good.

What your neighbors think doesn't matter.

My journey is my journey. No one really know my heartaches, struggles, and stress. If my neighbors don't like that it takes me two days to wheel up the trash can, so be it. If they hear my kids crying out the open window, such is life. And if my social media "neighbors" think it's their place to judge how I'm juggling this mom gig… DELETE!

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