The big day has come and gone! After 42 weeks of pregnancy, I finally gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl, and I couldn’t be happier. As I reflect about the time leading up to my baby’s birth, I realize there was advice I really should have listened to, along with some advice I wish I had received.
Hopefully, my own thoughts and experiences will help guide all you newly expecting moms throughout your journeys to motherhood:
1. Natural birth will hurt
If you decide to give birth naturally, that’s wonderful, but don’t try to convince yourself it won’t hurt. Having endured and even enjoyed the pain and challenges I put myself through while training and racing, I thought I was tough enough to get through natural childbirth. However, it is a different kind of challenge, and one you should fully acknowledge for before making a decision. In some cases, getting an epidural can help you relax and enjoy the experience more thoroughly. You just have to make the best choice for you.
2. The baby weight will come off
Throughout much of my pregnancy, I worried about gaining too much weight and never being able to lose it all after my baby was born. The truth is, while the weight came off quickly, the only thing I cared about was taking care of my new baby. I wasted a lot of precious time worrying about my weight gain instead of embracing the fact that I was creating a little miracle.
3. Childbirth can’t be planned entirely
If there is one thing that is entirely out of your control, it’s giving birth. When it comes to when or how the baby will be born, you don’t have a choice in the matter.
I went into pregnancy with the following plan, which I was determined to follow:
- Have a natural delivery
- Ask for an epidural only if the pain is too much to bear
- Avoid having a C-Section at all costs
- Above all else, do what the doctor suggests
Well, what did I end up having? A C-Section. My baby’s arm was caught up in the umbilical chord and she would not drop, so a C-Section ended up being the only option. In the end, I had to learn to relax and let go of the plan I was determined to follow—and everything turned out just fine.
4. You can’t sweat the small stuff
I spent many sleepless nights worrying about the small-scale discomforts of pregnancy, such as being “exposed” while giving birth. Trust me, when that day comes, everyone in the room—including you—only cares about getting your baby delivered safely. There are so many other things going on, that you won’t have the time to think about all those little concerns that once seemed so much bigger.
5. It is normal for your baby to be monitored
When my baby ended up in the NICU, I was devastated at first. I soon learned that many of my friends’ babies ended up in the NICU for various issues, and they all turned out extremely healthy. I really wish I had known that it’s relatively common for babies to be monitored after birth. Try to relax and know that the doctors are doing everything they can to take care of your little one.
The most important thing to remember is that your mind, body and baby are all very resilient. Just try to let go and enjoy this happy time in your life. After all, you forget all those minor details and concerns the moment you meet your newborn for the first time.