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What I want to tell my pregnant self about being a mom

You will learn as you go and that’s okay. Baby thinks you’re an expert, even when you make mistakes.

What I want to tell my pregnant self about being a mom

I always knew I wanted to be a mom. That's about all I knew.


I have no siblings, all of my cousins are older, and I only interacted with children and babies a few times a year. I could play with a new puppy or kitten with ease for hours, but a human child was like a foreign object. I could scruff a kitten like a boss, but when I held a child it looked like I was clutching dynamite.

So now that I am a new mother of a 6-month-old, there are five things t I wish my postpartum self could have told my pre-partum self.

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1. You will cry more than you have ever cried before.

As a sensitive, overly dramatic person, crying is a lifestyle. Crying has always accompanied pretty much any emotion I’ve ever felt. Tears will appear after reading an article about a dog reunited with his family or when my bottle of foundation shatters on the floor. From the moment I saw my sweet boy, the tears surfaced.

However, the baby blues are no joke. It started before I even left the hospital. When the hormones crashed, so did my emotions.

You will cry over what you know, what you don't know, this newfound love, the loss of your old identity and body, spilled breastmilk, your need for sleep, the fact that you can't sleep when baby sleeps, and so on. Then the guilt over the fact that you feel sad when you should be happy leads to more tears.

It will get better, postpartum one. You will always cry, but some reasoning will return.*

2. The baby doesn't know that you don't know what you’re doing.

Did you know that the blue line on the diaper isn't just to add a splash of color? You probably did. But I didn't and guess what? Neither did baby boy!

To him, I do everything right (well, for the time being). He knew my voice and now he has a face to accompany it. He eats, sleeps, has a clean diaper, and isn't dropped—he thinks I'm doing great!

When I didn't realize that my nearly 9 lb. baby with a large head wouldn't fit into newborn clothes, he patiently waited as I freed him and put on something more appropriate. (Newborn baby does not mean newborn clothes = lesson learned).

You will learn as you go and that's okay. Baby thinks you're an expert, even when you make mistakes.

3. Breastfeeding is hard... like really, really hard.

People always tell you it's hard and you believe them. But until there is a screaming 3-hour-old baby that won't latch as you try to hold his fragile body properly with wires sticking out of both of you, you don't truly understand what they meant by 'hard.'

I mean, it's natural right? People have been doing this since the beginning of time. The shame I felt after being reprimanded by a nurse for not doing research on breastfeeding was not an ideal way to start this journey.

What do you mean my milk flow won’t pick up until day three or four?

The guilt, frustration, exhaustion, physical pain, and anger didn't help the cause. So I pumped and pumped and pumped some more. Then low and behold —milk! And baby boy drank it! Little by little the supply increased and so did my confidence.

If baby latches, awesome, if he doesn't that's fine, too. There is so much pressure and controversy out there. Breastmilk, formula, both, whatever; do whatever works for you. Don't be so hard on yourself!

4. You will somehow learn to function with no sleep.

At 21 years old I was a rockstar. I was able to party until 4am, sleep for two hours and work an eight hour shift at the animal shelter or sit through a full day of classes. At 30 years old, those 4am nights were few and far between. Yet, on the rare occasion they occurred, I allowed myself a full day of recovery complete with Chinese food and a TV series to watch.

The pregnancy insomnia was terrible but gave me assurance that I could work and function on 2-3 hours of sleep.

Fast forward to baby—those late nights of the past did not prepare me for this disaster of my new existence. I resembled more of an antiquated rockstar with my unwashed hair and spit-up covered shirt as I walked into the kitchen for some reason, but couldn't remember what.

The repeated cycle of diaper change, feeding, diaper change again, rocking baby to sleep, pumping, then finally sleep for maybe an hour will not be your life for the next 18 years (even though it may seem that way at 3:30 am). Your baby will eventually allow you to get more than three hours total and your body will adjust to the exhaustion. But, don't get too comfortable when baby sleeps a full night; a growth spurt or teething or something else will pop up just to keep you on your toes!

5. Believe in yourself—you’ve got this!

I have made lots of rookie mistakes and had moments when I felt like a complete failure. New mistakes will be made and moments of doubt will occur in the future. That time I tried to roll his shirt down his body like a onesie and it got stuck, or the panic I felt being stuck in rush hour traffic on the Verrazano Bridge with a screaming baby, just to name a few.

You have survived some tough times by succeeding when people try to knock you down. Believe in yourself the way your husband, parents and friends believe in you. Baby boy will thrive because your love for him will be more powerful than the silly mishaps and doubts that get in the way.

*If the sadness intensifies and worsens, seek professional help. No one should suffer in silence.

When it comes to registering for baby products, there's one word we love: convertible.

In contrast to items you use for a short period of time, convertible (or multi-use) products are made to grow with your baby… and trust us, that makes them worth their weight in gold.

Convertible items allow you to reap the benefits of your baby registry for years to come—and that's just savvy shopping, mama. Also savvy shopping? Creating your baby registry with Target and enjoying their Year of Benefits registry program for expectant parents. Just by starting your registry, you will get a welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. And Target's newest registry perk, the Year of Exclusive Deals, gives you discounts on essentials for your baby's whole first year when you sign up for Target Circle as well.

If you prioritize value and longevity when creating your registry, here are 10 items you'll love from day one through day 1,000… and beyond!


A crib that can grow through childhood + beyond

Simmons Kids Slumbertime Monterey 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

A crib is a necessity as you plan for life with your baby—you know that already. But what about in a couple of years when they need a toddler bed? Or a few years beyond that when they graduate to a bigger bed? Well, you're in luck: With the right attachments, this bed can be the only one they need until college.

$299.99

A cozy blanket for snuggles + security

Plush Velboa Baby Blanket I Love You - Cloud Island\u2122 White/Black

Blankets have earned their spot on millions upon millions of registries for good reason: They function as stroller covers or play mats during the early days, then become beloved security items in the toddler years.

$14.99

A comfy spot for feeding + stories

Baby Relax Addison Swivel Gliding Recliner

During your first months of motherhood, a comfortable gliding chair will be your second home as you spend time feeding and bonding. As your child grows (and mobility makes those snuggles harder to catch), you'll discover a new love for this cozy spot for stories and bedtime snuggles.

$329.99

https://goto.target.com/YJj2e

Sealy Cozy Rest Extra Firm Crib and Toddler Mattress

Fun fact: A standard crib and toddler bed actually use the same size mattress. That's why it's smart to get a quality crib mattress right out of the gate: One less thing to change up in a few years!

$59.99

A changing table that doubles as a dresser

Simmons\u00ae Kids Monterey 4 Drawer Dresser with change top

If space is at a premium in your baby's nursery, look for a combination changing table and dresser. That way, you can keep using the dresser long after your little one is potty trained.

$319.99

A car seat that converts to a booster

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The safest place for your child is in the backseat of your car, in either a car seat or (later) booster. But instead of buying a new seat for each phase, you can check off multiple boxes at once by adding a convertible car seat to your registry.

$159.99

A stroller that accommodates big kids, too

Graco FastAction Jogger LX Stroller

The need for a good stroller doesn't end when your little one learns to walk, so look for a stroller that can accommodate bigger kids, too. We recommend a jogging stroller that allows you to attach an infant car seat and is still perfectly spacious for toddlers.

$146.99

A place to dine for years to come

Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

From first bites to family dinners around the table, one single high chair can be the solution you need. That is, if you look for a version that adapts into a booster seat when your child is ready for a plate at the table.

$99.99

A white noise machine + alarm clock in one

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

After spending months listening to ambient noise in the womb, white noise remains incredibly comforting for your child. It's nice to have a sound machine that can transition to a time-to-rise clock down the line. By cueing with sounds and colors, these clocks reinforce healthy sleep habits.

$59.99

A baby carrier that can haul a toddler, too

Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier

A carrier is a major help when your baby loves being held, but you need use of your hands. But even months or years down the line, you can still get use out of that carrier. To maximize longevity, look for one that can be used with your child facing outward or even carried on your back as they grow.

$29.99

Enjoy building your registry with Target, mama! The Year of Benefits is calling your name with a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more! 😉

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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