Every mother-to-be has a certain expectation of how parenting will be and what kind of mother they see themselves as- don't deny it! But by the end of the first year as a mother, every woman knows what no book will ever tell you- some of those expectations turned out to be true, but most didn't. Motherhood is a unique and amazing experience that ultimately cannot be understood until you're actually experiencing it for yourself. So as you begin your journey through this nerve-wracking and exciting stage keep these things in mind:
-It doesn't matter how many books you read
The first thing every parent-to-be needs to accept is that there is no such thing as being 100% prepared to be a parent. Mistakes will be made. Surprises will happen. But you know what? That's okay! You learn as you go and that's the beauty of it!
-Your body is going to be different in ways you didn't predict
Your postpartum body is going to to be stretched and squishy and it's probably going to make you feel self conscious and embarrassed at times- but cut yourself some slack! You just spent 9 months nurturing and carrying a little person! That right there is a beautiful thing, so don't ever let anything make you feel otherwise.
-Get ready for the unsolicited advice
Don't get me wrong, there are people out there with some fantastic advice that you are desperately going to need and appreciate. Then there are those other people. A lot of people are going to be pouring their parenting styles and techniques on you, whether you ask forthem or not, so prepare yourself to patiently and politely listen, nodding along, and then mentally disregard everything they just said. Other people's babies aren't like yours, so the only people who know exactly what kind of parenting works for your family are you and your husband.
-Every baby is unique which means each experience will be too
Every baby is their own unique individual (just in a tiny body!) which means that there is is no manual (person or book!) who can tell you exactly what it's going to be like raising your child. It's a stressful, sleep-deprived, scary, beautiful and wonderful time in your life, so buckle up and prepare yourself for the ride, taking one thing at a time and learning as you go!