Becoming a mom is one of those great adventures in life where people throw tons of information and advice at you and you’re left to figure out what you should try and what will work for you. For every article telling you the top 10 things you need for your newborn and every book that calls itself the definitive guide to parenting, there is also a friend or relative with their own chunk of advice and anecdotes.
I confess that I was about as clueless as any woman could be when I had my first child. I had never changed a diaper, I had never held a newborn, I was terribly uncomfortable around babies and I knew more about puppies and kittens than I did human infants. But somehow I survived the gauntlet of early parenting.
Of course, there are things I wish I’d done different to get ready for my first baby. For one, I wish I’d watched the C-section video in our prepared childbirth class. I was so intent on natural childbirth that I skipped that class. Then I ended up having a C-section after a failed induction. Oops.
I also wish I’d not pretended to be so strong. With my husband deployed, and with no childcare experience of my own (plus a C-section), I really could have used some help. I had a few offers from friends, but I let my pride get in the way. “I’m good! It’s fine! It’s easier than I expected!” I was lucky I had a baby who slept through the night early on, but still … a new mom needs help. And I wish I’d accepted that help.
Here are some confessions from other moms about what they wish they’d done differently prepare for their babies.
“I wish I had prepared more freezer meals for coming home. Who feels like cooking three days after a C-section? I also wish I had bought more diapers and wipes while pregnant and stockpiled needed items so I would not have to go out after the birth of the baby.” — Rhonda
“I wish I’d spent more time alone with my husband. He was busy working overtime so we’d have savings while I was on maternity leave, and I was busy training my temporary replacement and getting caught up at work. I think some quality bonding time before we had our daughter would have helped us in those exhausting early months.” — Shawna
“I wish I had worked harder to build relationships and create a support system (both our families are out of state). We have no village.” — Jackie
“I wish I would've started an email address the day they were born to log journal entries. I started this late and I've already let some of the memories slip away.” — Emily
“I wish I hadn’t bought all the cute 1 to 3 month old clothes because they don’t wear them.” — Casandra
“I wish I had written more things down ... the good, the bad and the ugly. I'm not a journaler and I regret that now.” — Gail
“My one wish? I wish I could have taken more time off of work. Hindsight is 20/20 and I was in a stressful job, and I'm sure that contributed to his premature arrival.” — Krista
“I wish I had researched more about jaundice and breastfeeding.” — Raven
“I wish I could go back and tell myself that it was all going to be OK—that nothing was more important than spending time with them.” — Saranna
“[I wish I’d] had a solid relationship with a therapist and psychiatrist specializing in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, with a plan in place on how to treat PPD/PPA should I experience it.” — Amber
“[I wish I had] not believed the sonogram that said my baby boy was a girl!” — Judy
“I wish I’d prepped my nipples a little better and taken the time to learn latching so nursing wouldn't have been so difficult.” — Renee