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An Open Letter to the First-Time Mom-to-Be

Photograph by Twenty20

Dear Mama-to-be,

This is your first rodeo and congrats on that! Carrying a human in your abdomen for the better part of a year is no joke and getting it out of there isn't something to take lightly either. You're a rock star. You might not feel like it, but the fact that you have done the above alone would qualify you for the superhero wall of fame not to mention the fact that now, the hard part starts.

Now you get to raise that little monkey nugget.

Now that you're a mom, you'll be faced with a lot of unsolicited advice from everyone you've ever met. It will be annoying and probably make you feel inadequate. But here's some sage advice that will actually be useful. While I don't pretend to know about much of anything, but I've lived it, so that counts for something, right?

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Put a hat on your baby in anything less than 65 degrees. This will ward off the lovely, opinionated grandmas who feel the need to comment on how you have failed to dress your child warm enough.

Sling that newborn to your body ASAP. Especially in public. It's awesomely cozy, your baby will love it and your back/arm/neck will thank you for putting down that car seat carrier. Plus, people tend to give your baby space when they're attached to you.

Master nursing in the confines of your own home. Get it down solid before you venture out. You'll thank yourself for taking the time to become a Jedi master at breastfeeding when you're able to feed a child in a restaurant, car or Target without so much as a hiccup.

You'll probably be sad. Even if you don't struggle with postpartum depression, there'll be days when you just want to cry.

Take whatever the hospital gives you: diapers, formula, nose sucker, breast shields, disposable panties. Because while everything you have done to you or your infant in the hospital will cost you a pretty penny, these items are free!

Be as minimalist as possible. Babies are tiny but they come with a ton of crap. Some of that crap is necessary but a lot of it is just clutter. Get the essentials and then learn what you/your baby need beyond that. I've had mom's that consider a Diaper Genie a "must have" but I find throwing those stinkers in the outside garbage just as easy and a space saver. Bottom line, take note of suggestions, but only get/keep what you actually use.

Accept hand-me-downs. Seriously, seek out a friend who buys cute clothes and has a similar style as you and get them to pass their kids' clothes on to you! Seriously, my kids are dressed 90% on other people's clothes and get compliments all the time for their "style". Plus, getting essentials at $0 frees up some extra spending money on special items you might otherwise not be able to splurge on.

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You'll probably be sad. Even if you don't struggle with postpartum depression, there'll be days when you just want to cry. You probably won't even be able to explain why—and that will make you feel all the more ridiculous.

People will offer help/meals/support mostly right after birth. There's a time though, roughly 2-3 weeks later, when the help dwindles and the visits have stopped. You might feel like this is the time you should have your shit together... but you probably won't yet. Ask for help even after it stops being offered. Your people will have your back.

Mostly, when you haven't showered in days, have food hardening on the dishes in your sink and have soaked every nursing tank with your leaky breast milk, know a couple things:

1: You are not alone

2: You are amazing

Sincerely,

A mom whose been there

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