Dear Sarah (aged 23),
Congratulations on finally falling pregnant. It took longer than hoped but the best things in life are worth waiting for. As you prepare for the arrival of your first baby there are some things that you need to know…
Listen to your body
Labour isn’t going to go smoothly and afterward, you are going to feel awful. Don’t put this down to being tired after a long labour and emergency caesarean. This is your body fighting an infection, make your voice be heard when you don’t feel well enough to be discharged home. Slow down and rest up.
Choose whose advice you take
Motherhood is overwhelming. You will feel anxious (those dreams were you literally try to grab your falling baby will freak you out but will pass), you will feel helpless and at times unsupported. Friends, family, and colleagues will all offer you advice bit choose whose advice you take. This is your baby, your parenting ways, so you do what feels right for you.
No more babies
Whilst you will protest that there are no more babies in your future. I can tell you that you will go on to have two more children – a boy, and a girl. Leaving an age gap between babies helps you become a better parent, although you will always wish that you’d had them closer together.
Learn the value of money
Right now you and Mr. Boo work full-time and whilst you aren’t struggling for money all will change once the baby arrives. Suddenly 90% of your salary will go on childcare and you’ll wonder where all your money went before having children. Two redundancies are also in the future so prepare a little nest egg now, save what you can to give yourself a buffer when the bottom falls out of your world.
No matter how prepared you think you are for the baby. Having all the essentials sitting in the nursery, you will need more. By baby number two you will realise the value in the Tesco Baby Event and will stockpile wipes, nappies and make the big purchases for the coming months whilst they are on offer. Your loved ones will laugh at your stash of wipes under the cot but trust me when I say you never want to run out of wipes!
A smile can melt your heart
Motherhood is the toughest job you will ever have. There is no resigning from it when it gets too much, there are no holidays, no sick days. Motherhood is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and the sleepless nights, vomiting and nappy changes will take their toll on you. But that moment that your baby smiles at you, even at 3.30am covered in poo your heart will melt and you are no long able to be cross or unhappy about getting up again.
You can do this
Parenting doesn’t come with a manual and you will always second guess your decisions but you can do this. One day at a time – you’ve got this!
Much love and hugs
I was recently contacted by Tesco to write a letter to my past pregnant self to offer advice and wisdom that I have gained over my 10 years of parenting. Being a parent is something that I had wanted for so long, however, the realities of parenting have been so very difficult. As I have grown older and had more children I have relaxed into the role and feel so much more confident now.
Tesco recently teamed up with mum of three and child health and parenting expert, Dr Carol Cooper, ahead of their Baby and Toddler event, to explore some new research which looks into how long parents spend worrying about their children. And that the top ten worries can be from illness to the cost raising of a baby. The research has found that although preparing for a family is key, it is experience that will always win.