By Rachel Muscat
My husband and I had no fkn idea about raising a child or even what to expect… unless raising fur babies counts as practise? Yeah didn’t think so. And like pretty much every other parent-to-be, as soon as we announced our news, the advice came rolling in – invited or not!
We were given pregnancy books, which only made me question how much detail I really wanted to know about the whole experience (ignorance really is bliss!) including what happens during childbirth. We were asked if I was having a natural birth or caesarean. We were even asked if we are going to have another baby… yes, even before we’d given birth to our first child.
So after listening to everyone’s advice, I slowly learned that you only need one golden rule, and that is to listen to your gut, put on those blinkers and TRUST your intuition. You got this babe!
1 // Do what YOU are comfortable with
You know what, I decided not to read those pregnancy books because I knew that too much information would freak me the f*ck out, so I took the ‘find out as I went’ approach. And that worked really well for us (it was a lot less stressful too!)
2 // Listen, but make your own decisions (and don’t feel pressured)
This starts from the day you see those two beautiful lines on your pregnancy test. You do YOU. I made the decision to have an elected caesarean, which was totally against our midwife’s wishes – she even went as far as skipping the operating rooms on our hospital tour, telling everyone that “we didn’t need to see them, as we would all be having natural births” while looking directly at my husband and I. At the end of the day, it’s my body and my choice and I’m glad I stuck to my guns and had the birth journey I chose, not what anyone else wanted.
3 // Forget about Dr Google
Mamas love a good ol’ Google, especially when pregnant, but this caused unnecessary anxiety early on in my pregnancy, to the point my baby-daddy banned me from Googling… bahaha! It’s important to remember that EVERY pregnancy is different and one symptom in your body can mean something totally different in another woman’s body, so leave your loooong list of questions for the professionals at your next appointment!
4 // Feed your bebe the way you want to and leave the guilt at the door
I chose to breastfeed our son, but we were also 100% ready to formula feed if needed. At the end of the day, all mums want is what’s best for our baby – satisfying their hunger and making sure their bellies are full. And while I was able to breastfeed, I found out that I couldn’t express my milk, which meant our son was totally reliant on me for feeds.
5 // Sleeping arrangements are your business only
When our son came home, he slept in a bassinet in our room and was only in our bed for feeds. Then when he became too big, we moved him into a cot in his own room and he would wake two to three times during the night for a feed, which prompted many people to say, “oh, isn’t he sleeping through the night?”. Our immediate reaction was to blame his nighttime wakings on teething and the change of routine with introducing solids – because we felt judged. And when he was teething, I found the only way to comfort him (and for me to get some amount of sleep so that I could function as a human during the day), was to co-sleep. And that only prompted people to say, “good luck getting him back into his cot to sleep”. But at the end of the day, we’re all doing what we can as parents to survive, and we’re all doing what’s best for our bebes – that is ALL that matters. So do whatever suits you and your partner – period.
6 // Factor in some me-time
It is overwhelming AF bringing a little person into the world who is totally reliant on you. There are so many changes, so much to learn and so many opinions coming at you, so make sure you give yourself some me-time or find an outlet that is just for you – that might be something creative or social, whatever makes your heart sing.