Clear you calendars and your agenda because there is literally no way to mentally prepare yourself for becoming a parent. For all my new parents (to be), this one is for you.
Take it one day at a time, one baby at a time
In the throes of the most difficult parts of mommyhood I kept thinking, there is no way I can do this again. This is what I fondly refer to as “the mommy spiral” where you start off crying about the baby being hungry and then you quickly find yourself balling about all the hungry children in the world you can’t feed. I was the queen of catastrophizing. Do yourself a favor and don’t make any major plans during this time. Limit yourself to the right here and now.
Require friends and family to bring food.
Think Jesus and the wise men, but with casseroles instead of frankincense. While it is wonderful that your family wants to come and coo over your new baby, make sure they don’t arrive empty handed. As I was being discharged from the hospital, the nurse told me to require guests to bring a dish or perhaps wash some upon arrival. I thought she was being funny so I laughed (even though it hurt) and she explained that she was serious. I can barely remember the first two days but I do remember those visitors who brought lasagna.
Breastfeeding, next to sleep deprivation is by far the hardest part of motherhood.
Breastfeeding requires you to be more selfless than you ever thought possible. You feel like just because you have boobs it will come to you naturally and if you don’t know surely the baby will. I love that my generation has embraced that breastfeeding is best. There is even a hashtag on Twitter and Instagram #breastfeedingselfie. While I won’t be posting a selfie, you better believe I am patting myself on the back for providing breast milk for my daughter for the first year of her life.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and give yourself credit (or a cookie)
It’s tempting as a mother to believe that because you carried your baby all by yourself for 9 months that you can do it all. You are amazing, that's for sure. But the moment that I found the greatest relief was when I said out loud, “I need help”. You will find that everyone you love is more than thrilled to come to your aid.
It feels like next to everyone asking you how you/they are sleeping, they always come with a nugget of wisdom, myself included. You will be offended, confused, frustrated and grateful all in the same breath. Treat all advice about parenting like a buffet: take what you need and leave the rest.