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If you're about to give birth and feeling nervous, know this

Hi you,

I am writing to you today as a midwife of eight years and as a mama of three children. I want you to know that I totally get it. You are about to do one of the most intense things of your entire life, and you're feeling a little nervous.


I was too. Each time.

Being a midwife never took the nervousness out of giving birth. Yes, I knew what to expect a little more, but no amount of knowledge or experience can take away all of the thoughts and concerns surrounding this huge moment in your life.

I wish I could wrap you up in a big hug right now, but because I can't, I'll share a few things to keep in mind:

1. It's okay to feel nervous

Or worried. Or excited. Or overjoyed. Or unsure. Or a big tangled web of all of those things. You are not alone, and it's okay.

If you can, try not to push those feelings away—be in them, even if it feels messy. Emotions are a very real and important part of this journey, and being nervous doesn't make you weak, it makes you human.

Often times when we try to dismiss our emotions, they come back stronger. See if you can take a few quiet moments and sit with your feelings. Chances are your nerves will calm quite a bit.

Remember, if you ever feel like the nervousness is turning into fear or taking up a big part of your thoughts, you can talk to a therapist about them.

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2. Trust your body

I don't mean this in a sit back and let your body take over, and everything will be perfect way. Because sometimes our bodies do need some help. Whether it's an epidural, pitocin or a C-section, sometimes interventions are necessary.

What I mean is, trust your body to tell you, and us, what it needs.

If what your body and your mind need is to be left alone, in your zone, doing your thing without interventions, your body will tell you that—you'll feel like you can cope with the contractions, your cervix will dilate, your baby's heart rate will stay stable.

If your body and your mind need help coping with the pain, you'll know. Pain medications and epidurals have a place in birth for sure, and if you feel like you need them, it's okay.

And your body will let us know if an intervention is needed. If you're not dilating, if your blood pressure is high, if the baby is less than perfectly happy—your body and your baby will tell you and us know all of these things, and everyone will adjust accordingly.

No matter how your story unfolds, you and your body will be the guiding light. And speaking of your story…

3. Your story will unfold slowly

It can feel overwhelming to think about the entire process of giving birth to your baby—one day you're just hanging out and the next day...you have a baby! A baby that you gave birth to, out of your body. Whoa.

But generally speaking, your story will actually unfold quite slowly. Yes, there are the rare occasions of very fast births, or emergencies where things happen quickly. But for better or worse, birth often takes a long time. Which means you'll have an opportunity to wrap your mind around what's going on.

Your team should explain things to you as they happen, and one step will lead to the next step, and eventually, you'll have your baby. It's a pretty great story, even when it's really long.

4. You have more control than you think

Mother Nature is the ultimate boss here, but don't forget that you have a lot of power here, too. If you are giving birth in a birth center or a hospital, there may be some protocols that the staff follow—but never be afraid to ask for what you want. Sometimes we just get a little busy or set in our ways and we forget to offer other options. That doesn't mean they are not available to you.

For example, maybe you are not a fan of the hospital gown situation. Ask if it's okay to wear your own nightgown (as long as you don't mind it getting a little soiled). Another common thing is that we might forget to take the blood pressure cuff off your arm after it's done squeezing—ask if you can take it off.

Ask if you can get out of bed and walk or dance next to it, as long as you stay hooked up to the monitor. Ask if you can have some chicken broth. If there is something that will make you feel better, ask. You have every right to, and you may be surprised how often you'll be met with a "oh sure!"

5. You get a baby. And your baby will be obsessed with you.

In all the busyness of pregnancy—appointment, registries, nesting, nurseries—it's really easy to forget that at then end of all this, you get a baby. YOUR baby, that you get to hold, and kiss, and dress, and smell… oh that newborn baby smell.

And, your baby is going to be madly in love with you. You're not going to be a perfect parent. None of us are. But you are the perfect parent for your baby. And they are just going to love you to the absolute moon and back.

You've got this, mama.

A version of this article appears in The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey.

True

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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