You’re Having a Baby: Now What?

You’ve discovered you’re pregnant. Congratulations! No matter how you came to be expecting a baby, whether it was planned or a surprise, a baby is a blessing. Fact.

Upon hearing this news, you may have fallen into a state of sheer panic.

How will I raise a baby?

How will I pay for a baby?

I don’t know what I’m doing!

I’m terrified!

I’m elated!

I’m terrified again!

All of the above are perfectly normal.

I’m a mom and it’s my favorite name, position, blessing. My kids are teenagers so I have some experience under my belt and I feel like I’m in a position to be able to share some wisdom to a new mom. I hope, if you’re expecting or when you are, these words can offer you some comfort and give you some ease.

Relax: There will be a lot of information to learn when you’re pregnant, just as there will be a lifetime of things to learn once your baby is here. Don’t panic. Some of it will come naturally and some things you will need to ask questions about. There are a ton of resources now, so many more than were available to me when I was pregnant before Google was a thing. But make sure you ask real-life people like your physician, a nurse or a mother you trust. Don’t rely solely on the internet as we all know there are lots of opinions and false “facts” out there that can cause you to panic or feel inadequate. Make sure you depend on a worthy source.

Embrace Everything: I mean it…everything.  Sending my baby to college is staring me in the face. It’s coming fast. Suddenly I’m panicking. Did I teach her everything she needs to know? Where did the time go? I want it back!!!! All those things are running through my mind on the daily. I can’t tell you how many times my eyes have filled with tears looking at pictures of my sweet toddler all those years ago and I desperately want to rock that little one to sleep again and kiss her hair as she nestles her head into my shoulder. I want to get on the floor and play dolls again and remember how her baby hair smells and what her little girl laughter sounds like. It’s true what they say, time does fly.

Soak up those smells, those sights, those sounds. Memorize every curve of your little one’s chubby hands and fat rolls on his or her tummy. Remember what those sleepy sighs sound like and what first solid food they ate (and the first one they threw at you). Write everything down…not just for you but for them so they can look at what they were like long before they remember.

Melanie S. Pickett, baby

Ask for Help:  During pregnancy and after your baby is born you’re going to need help. I didn’t have it. I had a husband who wasn’t super involved and also worked nights. My Mom had passed away, I didn’t have a mother-in-law, and my sister lived over an hour away (and was pregnant both times I was too). After my second baby who was a preemie, I did have wonderful help through our church in that they brought us meals for a couple of weeks. Not having to think about, shop for or cook dinner while I was healing and caring for a tiny, tiny infant was a huge blessing.

I didn’t have the kind of help I want to be to my kids when they marry and have babies. I’ve already told them I will be there. I’ll stay as long as they need. I will get up in the middle of the night and handle feedings so they can get some sleep. I will clean and rock and change diapers and grocery shop. I will help them however they want and allow me to: because I know it’s not easy and since I didn’t have help, I will happily help them.

So please ask for help! If you’re like me and you don’t have a spouse who can take time off to help in the first days and weeks, don’t have a parent who can come help or just anyone who can, ask for it.  Ask a friend if they can come over for a couple hours so you can get some things done (Like nap. Or shower. Or grocery shop.) Ask a lot of friends for help. People will love to see your baby so when they’re visiting, ask if they wouldn’t mind if you’d throw in a load of laundry or shower. If friends aren’t available, how about coworkers to stop after work? Ask for help from your church. I can almost guarantee there will be some wonderful ladies who’d love to come clean your house, snuggle your baby, and bring a meal and you might forge some really lovely friendships or mentorships that way. Please reach out and ask.  You don’t want to get overwhelmed.

And as far as finances, check with your local Department of Human Services and Health Departments for lots of resources and financial assistance you may qualify for.

Clean Later: Your house may get a bit untidy. Your baby becomes priority. It’s a fact and it’s exactly the way it should be. Nothing takes precedence over that little one and the forming of your bond with him or her. You will put pressure on yourself and feel defeated every time you see that sink full of dishes or laundry on the bathroom floor. Remember: Don’t be afraid to ask for help with that either. But don’t fret over it. Do what you can and leave what you can’t do. The laundry and dishes aren’t going anywhere. They will be there and you’ll have time to get to them eventually. But for now, spend the time with your baby and when your baby sleeps, you sleep. Don’t feel like you’re a bad mom if you sleep during baby’s nap time instead of throwing in a load of dishes or laundry. Sleep!

You Can Do This: Pregnancy and parenthood can be overwhelming. They will be overwhelming at some points. But the joy will far outweigh the overwhelm. There are a lot of things to juggle…perhaps a job, a marriage, a house, other children. It’s a lot but if you prioritize, ask for help, and take care of yourself, it will all come together. And here’s a big key to this: Do take care of yourself. Take breaks. Take naps. Go out with friends. Don’t feel guilty for leaving baby with a trusted friend or relative for a couple of hours so you can shop on your own, run errands, or get your hair done. You need to be taken care of so you can take care of others.

You will feel inadequate. Shake it off. You can do this. You can be a strong, beautiful, excellent role model and caretaker for your child. You will be your baby’s first love, the one they always look to for comfort and security. And trust me, you wouldn’t want it any other way.

Meet Melanie P. :

Melanie S. Pickett bloggingMelanie Pickett is a mom, wife, writer, blogger, and Jesus girl. Melanie spends most of her time at her own blog, melaniespickett.com where she writes about her domestic abuse survival, healthy relationships, life, and faith. She is busy with her work in progress, her first nonfiction book. Melanie has been featured on BlogHer.com and published on Splickety Magazine, Whole Magazine, Breathe Writers Conference blog, and various other blogs as a guest writer. She is a volunteer at Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. Having worked in the medical field for nearly two decades, Melanie recently “retired” so she could concentrate on her family and writing career. She is also a substitute teacher. Besides writing, Melanie loves to read, travel, enjoys hockey, playing piano, listening to music, helping and encouraging others, speaking on Periscope, volunteering, movies, and hanging out and cheering on her very favorite people: her family. Melanie lives in west Michigan with her husband, two teen children, and her pug Gracie and beabrador Lillie. Her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 and one of her favorite quotes is: “They call us the dreamers, but we’re the ones who never sleep.”

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