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Motherhood has brought me to my knees.

I’ve cried hundreds of times.

I’ve cried from complete and utter bliss, I’ve cried from confusion, frustration, lack-of-sleep. I’ve cried because I was scared, I’ve cried because I was overjoyed and I’ve cried from sheer horror.
There are some things I think you should know about motherhood.
Perhaps you’re a soon-to-be.
Maybe you’ve been-there-done-that and maybe you’re no where near the chapter.
Regardless, here’s my take on the coolest thing you’ll ever do in the event you decide to be a mother.
  1. You can do everything “right” or how you wanted. That doesn’t guarantee SHIT so prepare now to be able to show yourself, your medical staff, your family and your spouse some grace.

  2. Breastfeeding can be your biggest desire for you and your baby. You can go to ALL the nursing clinics at your hospital (HIGHLY recommend btw), you can work with lactation consultants and IBCLCs (again, recommended), you can drink all the water, take all the pills, eat all the cookies and it still may not work. If it doesn’t work, stop right there. You are a mother, you are worthy, you are a woman and your baby loves you. Lord knows I cried and I cried and cried. Easier said than done, but don’t spend too much time crying. Looking back at photos, Scarlett J wasn’t healthy and perhaps I tried too hard for too long. Although it breaks my heart to see those photos today, they are reality but we came up and remedied it just in time.

  3. Reach out when you need help. You’re GOING to need help. Here’s the deal; I posted in every single mom’s group, breastfeeding group, asked every family member, every friend (much to my husband’s dismay), “What should I do”? While I do think reaching out for opinions and support is healthy and necessary, don’t let it consume you or flood your brain so much that you forget what you were after to begin with. I was so obsessed with knowing the “answers” because I was obsessed with doing right by my girl. I get it, I’ve been there.

  4. Your mom intuition? Your figurative mom gut? It’s there, it’s real and you need to tune in. Baby won’t sleep and listening to their cries is more frustrating than distressing? Leave them be if that’s what works for you (Note: there is an appropriate age and two weeks ain’t it. Before you start witch-hunting you should know I’m not referencing the mom that needs a moment to collect herself because she’s running on fumes. I’m talking about “sleep trainers” that are trying to work you and your baby over straight outta the womb). Maybe you have a baby like mine that didn’t sleep through the night consistently until she was 14 months. Maybe you become sweaty and want to cry listening to their cries. FOR GOD SAKE, go get that baby. I’m happy to report that, no, SJT isn’t a clingy mess because I didn’t let her cry it out. However, if you feel like you’re going to lose it, which is normal, shut the door and take some time for YOU.

  5. If you and your partner that made this baby are together, living together, and you are parenting together, your partner can and should participate. I am fortunate enough to be married to someone that gladly participates in raising Scarlett. Your husband/wife/spouse is not your new baby (although he/she may be going through some things, more on that in a minute) and you need and deserve ALL hands on deck and so does that baby. You didn’t make this baby yourself, ladies.

  6. Most women experience the undeniable love for their child the minute they find out they’re pregnant and that feeling only intensifies the minute you lay eyes on their physical body. This is not the case for most men, and THAT IS OKAY. Michael was so seemingly in love with Scarlett that I never even thought to ask what he was actually feeling. I didn’t learn until much later that it had taken several months for him to truly feel connected to Scarlett.

  7. Your marriage will be put to the ultimate test, I promise you. Even if the foundation is solid, even if your spouse is your #BFF, you will NEVER be prepared for the curveballs, your husband’s secret feelings of rejection or just how truly bat-shit crazy extended sleep deprivation makes you. When it happens (it will, mark my words) understand that there is a light so long as both parties are invested. Remember, and hold close to, how and why that baby was created in the first place.

  8. Hold tight to your beliefs but be willing to be flexible. This goes for All The Things. It was really important to us that Scarlett didn’t consume refined sugar for her first year and that it was limited after that. We got a million eye-rolls, comments, questions etc. Our decision was made because it worked best for us, not because it was the best. Smile and Wave when you get flooded with the But-Why’s and do what works for you and your family. I also swore I would have really limited screen time… let me tell you how many times Elmo has saved my ass being that I work from home. #Flexibility #NotSayinJustSayin

  9. You have to take care of yourself. No, seriously, you absolutely have to. After I had Scarlett I learned that you’re essentially insane unless you can sleep for 4 hours at a time. I get it, the house is a mess, there are bottles, pump parts, dishes, laundry, the list goes on. What I also get is that you’re not serving anyone until you serve yourself. This goes for the Mommas with newborns and the Mommas to 16 year olds. How can you pour into your OWN cup today? Motherhood = servitude but it doesn’t have to feel like a battle or be the end-all-be-all to your story. Take very necessary time for yourself every single day so that there’s a quality version of yourself to share.

  10. Drink it all in. It’s very true what everyone says about how time flies. I actually feel very accomplished in this category thus far being that it was my very mission early on. In the beginning, we did nothing. I didn’t host or entertain. Her and I mostly laid in bed in various states of nakedness, working on getting her feedings down, me working on a bag of trail mix and working on getting to know one another. Aside from the trauma surrounding breastfeeding, those first couple months were nothing short of pure magic in my book. I very much remember every detail, down to the lighting in the room, the way she smelled and how long my hair was. I made the conscious effort to really be there, to have it sear into my memory and I am so happy I did. Nothing has lit me up the way motherhood has. I don’t imagine there will ever be a comparison.