10 Things I Wish I Knew About Childbirth Before Having a Baby

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Childbirth is an amazing experience, but there are a few things I wish I had known in advance. Once the baby bump is visible, the unsolicited advice and questions begin. If you’re lucky, people think they get to walk up to you and rub your belly too. No lie. Complete strangers on the street walk straight up to you and start rubbing your belly. It’s the craziest thing.

a pregnant woman

People have opinions on everything. From whether or not to have an epidural. C-section or vaginal. Repeat C-section or VBAC. Formula or breastmilk. This car seat or that one. When to start solids. To whether you can be pregnant and have cats in your home or not. The list goes on and on. Debates on these subjects can get heated quickly.

I’m not going to get into all that today. Nope. Today I’m going to share 10 things I wish I knew about childbirth before having a baby. These were things I had no clue about. No one told me. Maybe it was assumed that I knew or maybe my friends just didn’t want to scare me. Maybe a little bit of both.

Please don’t let this list scare you. Every single thing is completely worth it for that tiny squish who turns into a big squish. Totally worth it.

10 Things I Wish I Knew About Childbirth Before Having a Baby

1. Write a Birth Plan but know that it probably won’t go exactly as expected. I was dead-set against having an epidural with my first. Wasn’t going to happen. Guess who ended up with an epidural so she could progress beyond 7 cm?! Yep. That would be me. Childbirth isn’t easy, and while having a plan helps, it doesn’t guarantee you will be able to follow said plan. When doing this, be flexible. You need that in the birthing process. Read more about Birth Plans and how to create your own.

2. Start strengthening your core now with these special exercises to help with diastasis recti. Oh, how I wish I had done this. Already pregnant? No worries the prenatal course is wonderful.

3. Childbirth classes are important. Don’t forget about the breastfeeding class. Just take all the classes. They are typically free to expectant mothers, and even if you have children already, you can learn great tips.

4. Hire a doula. Whether you are mortified about having someone else in the birthing room with you or not, just do it. The good ones are worth their weight in GOLD.

5. You have to be your own advocate and advocate for your baby. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for your choices. If you want to keep the baby with you 24-7, then by all means, do it. Want to send them to the nursery at night? That is your decision. Don’t want vaccinations while you’re in the hospital? That is your right. Does something feel “off”? Speak up. The nursing staff and doctors are there for you.

6. Going to the bathroom after childbirth is like giving birth all over again. Why did no one tell me about this?! Drink lots of juice and take the laxatives if they are offered. You have been warned. Warm teas and tons of water are a must.

7. It’s not normal to feel light-headed and dizzy after giving birth. I experienced this after giving birth to our oldest. I needed two blood transfusions. I had no idea what “normal” was. When in doubt, ask your nurse or doctor.

8. The tears. So many tears. Hormones are HIGH. I wasn’t sure how to navigate this motherhood thing. Breastfeeding was not as simple as everyone made it seem. She didn’t sleep, which meant I didn’t sleep. Texting a friend during late-night feedings was my lifeline. Find a friend who won’t mind those late night reminders that you aren’t alone. This is why some people encapsulate their placenta.

9. Don’t pack pre-pregnancy clothes for the hospital to wear home. They won’t fit. It’s not that easy. I still looked pregnant. This is one of those childbirth things that nobody tells you about before having a baby. Your body doesn’t shrink much at all for the first week after birth.

9.5 {bonus} Wear the big pads and mesh underwear. Swallow your pride and just do it. You won’t be sorry. They aren’t that bad. You’ll be glad you can just throw them away. Promise. Mesh underwear is a rite of passage. Am I right?

10. That tiny human you held under your heart will rock your world in ways that you never could imagine.

10 Things I Wish I Knew About Childbirth Before Having a Baby 2

Enjoy the moments. Just because childbirth isn’t always easy doesn’t mean it isn’t also amazing. You’ll learn shortly after giving birth that the tough parts are nothing in comparison to the joy your child will eventually bring. Once they are big enough, you can start teaching them this one rule that will make a huge difference.

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