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What do you wish you had done/known?

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 

So DH and I are starting to more seriously consider when we want to start to grow our family with a human child and that's triggered some new curiosity on my part.  :)  For someone who is planning to have a baby in about 4 years (yea long range goal right now), what words of wisdom do you have?  Specifically, what do you wish you had known or done *before* becoming a parent?  What do you wish you had known or done *after* you became a parent?


I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone shares!

post #2 of 56

Get in great physical shape BEFORE you get pregnant. It is so much easier to be pregnant if your core is toned. I had major problems with DS2 because I was in such bad shape after DD (got preggo when she was 5.5 months old). Sciatic nerve pain, back and hip pain that killed me- and make sure to budget in money for chiro/massages if possible- they saved me and were so worthwhile. 


Make sure your relationship is solid- pregnancy hormones put a major strain on my marriage. 


Have a little sum of money in savings if you can- then if anything financially difficult arises, you will have a back-up plan.


Don't assume anything will go as planned- it probably won't!


My babies all had "odd" food intolerances- DS1- dairy and soy gave eczema; DD- dairy, tomato, onion, citrus, banana; DS2- dairy, onion, and mango makes him break out on the face and diaper area (not as severely as DS1 with soy). So when you nurse (if you do), be aware that many things can trigger fussy times and rashes.


Your memory is awesome! All the hard times fade away, and the good ones stick around! So remember that on those really hard days/nights. This is only temporary, this too shall pass, and you will be left with sweet memories of tiny (or not so tiny like in my case!), snuggly baby.


When you know better, you do better- try not to beat yourself up over mistakes!

post #3 of 56

I wish I had tried harder to make co sleeping work (it didn't on a few levels) because I think it would have helped a LOT with my mood (getting more sleep) I didn't have my heart set on co sleeping, but like a lot of new ones, kiddo needed it but it just was NOT working for us.  I also wish I had pushed harder to keep her in our room for longer than 2 months.  If not in our bed, next to it would have probably made a difference as well.  I spent a lot of nights with my baby monitor turned up high listening worrying I'd miss her crying for a long time not waking up to it or she'd stop breathing or something.


I also wish I didn't freak out the way I did about kiddo not letting me put her down for the first many months.  I think that a lot of my freak out was because of lack of sleep and crazy post birth hormones among other things, but if I had just decided to relax and go with it, I think SHE in turn would have been better about it too.  It was a huge adjustment to me though and a surprise that even when napping sometimes I couldn't move.  I had the typical 'babies just sleep and poop!' fantasy and my not quite high needs baby knocked that out of me and it resulted in an extremely stressful and trying first year.


With that said, having a new baby had a HUGE effect on our family.  much bigger than we expected.  We have other life issues that added to it, but the whole first year was absolutely awful for us as a couple.  Less time for each other, my hormonal reaction (including basically no sex drive, and probably ppd) managing how to share child and home care together.... plan for that first year with a new baby.  Discuss all the things that can go 'wrong' and problem solve NOW so you are a bit more prepared if any worst case scenarios happen.  I knew I was high risk for ppd and we both talked about it a bit but I feel like we definitely did NOT do enough together to prepare for ALL the changes we would experience.  We were thisclose to divorce because basically everything in all areas of our life exploded and although having a kid isn't the ONLY reason, I do believe it was the major thing that set everything in motion.  It was all bound to happen eventually but had we waited a few years for a kid, it probably wouldn't have all happened AT ONCE.


I wish I had learned more about babywearing ahead of time and tried on different carriers at a local store that has a range of styles and practiced with dolls and kids of people willing to let me use them.  I think along with co sleeping, that would have made my life HUGELY easier.  as it was, I just bought a crappy cheap mei tai and a moby.  I didn't have the confidence to use the moby til kiddo was much older because of the learning curve and the mei tai really was cheap and crappy so I thought for a time that I didn't like mei tais at all.  Now I have a babyhawk and even wear kiddo on my back and hope to try a sling for my next newborn with the goal of wearing more than setting down.  I couldn't do any chores at ALL with kiddo when I was wearing her (I either couldn't get close enough to do things like dishes or reaching up to things or I had to bend over a lot and that made me very very nervous) so i'm determined to learn that next time.


I also wish I had gone for more walks with kiddo.  She was born in March so I really should have used the wonderful summer sunshine I had for the first 6ish months of her life.  The exercise combined with the sun probably would have been great for me and in turn, great for her and my husband.  A walk every day would have helped create a routine and just be plain healthy.

post #4 of 56

I wish I could have a re-do on my first son's first year. :(


I wish I had known these things:

That it is normal and healthy for a baby to want to be held, cuddled, and fed all the time. 

I wish I'd realized how fast the time would go, and not stressed about him sleeping through the night or spacing out his feedings.

I wish I'd taken the time to enjoy each stage (both the good and the bad) instead of constantly wishing he'd get bigger so I could do more, rest more, have more time between nursing, etc. 

post #5 of 56

Be very sure that your partner actively wants to have a child and to be a parent. Do not persuade a person who is not enthusiastic about having a child to become a parent. It is hard enough even when it is the thing you want most in the world.

post #6 of 56
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info/suggestions/experiences so far - very good info here!


Choli - that's actually one of the reasons that DH and I have been discussing kids recently.  Originally he was pretty neutral on the subject and I was worried about that, but this weekend that changed (he hung out with a friend's sons) and he can now really see being a dad. :) He's looking forward to it, not just saying something that he knows would make me happy, but we also know we want to wait until we're more settled to TTC.  If we have a baby in 4 years we will have been married for 6.5 years, so it will be very well thought out/planned for (well as much as one can plan for these sorts of things lol).

post #7 of 56

I wish I'd learned to be more compassionate towards people who made different choices than me--which in turn leads to the ability to be compassionate towards MYSELF and to not have run such a big check with my mouth that I felt I couldn't alter the plan without losing major face.


I wish I'd read all parenting books, even the AP ones, with a grain of salt.


I wish I'd known that what you read on a message board is very often a snapshot (for good or bad moments) of parenting life and suggestions.


I wish I'd known not to look down my nose at those barbarian/gross/mean/disruptive older kids, who I was sure since I was parenting my baby just right, were just the products of defective parents.  :D


On the other hand, if I'd not had the experiences that led me to wish all those things, I wouldn't be the parent that I am today.  To be honest, the mistakes I've made have been pretty undamaging and recoverable so far--take those away from me, it could have been a lot worse.


So I wish for YOU to keep your sense of humor, grow your confidence, and grow in compassion both before you decide to add a child to your life, and after.  :)  If you do that, it's a pretty fascinating and rewarding ride, I think.  Even if it's not always the way or the destination that you dreamed before it is.  :)

post #8 of 56

Check out the "Case Against Circumcision" forum here on MDC.  In short, leave your son intact!

post #9 of 56
Thread Starter 

Oh yes intact for sure - DH is intact, so that's never been a question for us!

post #10 of 56

Before kids I would have talked with dh about each of our views on birthing,circ,vaccines,schooling,and religion. Hard to hash those things out when the kids are on their way! Also, I would have kept my views on these issues  to myself with regards to other moms,or atleast not judge those who took a different path.


I would consider the location of our home more,because where we live affects the kids(schools,neighbors,recreation options in the community)


I would have been more careful with how I spent my money on the kids.I wasted a lot of money on useless toys.


post #11 of 56
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post


I wish I'd known not to look down my nose at those barbarian/gross/mean/disruptive older kids, who I was sure since I was parenting my baby just right, were just the products of defective parents.  :D




post #12 of 56

Be informed about everything. There's so much out there and so many different choices and different ways to do things that knowing it beforehand will make it so much easier. Not only will you get a good idea of what you want to do and what feels right to you, you'll be able to have backup plans in case something doens't work the way you thought it would. And with kids, that will happen!! Be sure to discuss it all with your DH so you're on the same page from the get go, don't assume that he'll just follow your lead or ask you about things when the time comes.


Time flies with little ones. I spent my DD's first two years constantly looking forward to the next stage and wishing away the current stage. In no way did I savor her infancy and I so so so wish I could go back and do it over.


post #13 of 56

There WILL be times when you wish you had not decided to be a parent. They will pass. You are human, and it's OK to feel like that sometimes.


Oh, and the 3s are much more terrible than the 2s, but as I said, it does pass ;-)

post #14 of 56

I wish I had cared about the effect it would have on me breastfeeding 8 years ago when I decided to have a breast reduction. The doctor told me I might not be able to breast feed and I just assumed that formula would suffice in the future. Fast forward to present, and the one thing I regret about my babies is that I am unable to breast feed because he took out, or at least altered most of my milk glands during the surgery.


I am SO THANKFUL to have stumbled across this site within a short time from delivering my twins because there is sooooooo much useful information on here and it has really shaped my feelings about parenting quite substantially.

post #15 of 56

Mostly, it's played out about like I thought it would.


I wish I'd known that my ex was full of crap about wanting a child (of course, he didn't know that himself). And, I wish I'd had some faint clue of how badly my reproductive journey was going to go, and how profoundly that would f*** me up on almost every level (emotional/psychological and physical). The parenting thing is about what I expected - just never expected to do the whole thing while struggling with PTSD...


Oh - and try to make sure you have some kind of support network lined up. My life would have been a lot easier many times if I'd had someone to call to watch my child so I could get some sleep when I was sick, and thigns like that. Doing it all solo (I mean when your partner is at work or whatever) is really, really, really tiring!



ETA: I also wish I'd realized that being able to "control" my fertility with birth control pills didn't actually mean I could control my fertility. I got pregnant easily with ds1, so the 10 years it took me to successfully conceive and carrry to term was a major shock. These days, people tend to plan their lives, and babies aren't always going to fit into our plans.

post #16 of 56

ToadJode: Your twins are too cute for words...so adorable!

post #17 of 56

Some of mine, I wish I had gone with my gut, even when everyone told me it will be (I ended up with c/s even though I was more informed than any other patient he'd had (his words) ) (DS is circ, trusted Dh who trusted his experience and our Doc)


Realize that having a child just magnifies everything. MIL issues, SO much worse, Dh does things that annoy you SO much more. but that also goes for the wonderful things. I've never loved Dh so much before.


Learn how to babywear before having to scare yourself watching youtube videos trying with a real baby who is crying.


You will doubt yourself, over and over, but only voice them to supportive people or forums...everyone else will bring it up again.


Get out of debt before kids, it only became a priority when DS did.


And biggest from my best friend, make it so that moneywise you can stay home even if you don't think you want to before the baby is born, just incase you change your mind.


Of course some of these you can only do with 'planned' planning of kids. Good luck!!!

post #18 of 56

Thank you!!

Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

ToadJode: Your twins are too cute for words...so adorable!

post #19 of 56

I wish I had known how much being a parent would change me.  I was young when I had ds (24) and now I'm 26 (he's not quite 2), and I've grown up more in the last 2 years than I ever could have imagined.  What was important to me, is now just kind of a bonus - ds is SO much more important to me than ANYTHING else ever could be.  Before he was born, it was just so abstract, I really had no idea.


Theres no way to know this in a concrete way until you are a parent, but I've never loved anyone as much or as deeply as I love my baby.  It's an incredible bond, and he is the most amazing person I know (seriously, he was INSIDE MY BODY?!?!?!?)  It's so surreal almost to think that I was pregnant with him - he came from ME??  How did that happen?  As much as I read and learned about pregnancy, its just so surreal and abstract still.  I had no idea how amazing being a mother is, or how hard it is!  It's by far the hardest thing I've done, and labor and birth are only the start - everything that comes after is so much harder, and so rewarding (although labor/birth is the most rewarding b/c thats when you meet them the first time!  Evolution really knew what it was doing!)  Seeing ds grow up is so amazing, getting to know his personality, watching him learn new things, its incredible, absolutely incredible.  I had NO idea!


All that said, even though I love motherhood more than anything, I'm not cut out to be a SAHM, and thats ok.  Some people are, and I admire them.   I need my space to be me, and to do things for me and my ds in ways that being a SAHM wouldn't work for me.  It's great to want that, or to not want that, just be aware that parenting changes us in so many ways - be open minded about what you will want/need after the baby comes, and realize that those things may change as your baby grow.  Thats ok.  It's normal.  It doesn't make you a bad mom!  Motherhood is such a guilt-trip to begin with, putting pressure on yourself, or allowing others to make you feel guilty about working/not working/WAH/SAH/working part-time/whatever, is not a good idea!  Be secure in who you are, enough that if you change (b/c you will), you're ok with it.  It is ok, everyone, and every mom is different.

post #20 of 56

Four years, that's great!


Things I wish that I had done BEFORE having kids:

1) Obtained the highest college degree possible & fully established a meaningful career.

2) Traveled to at least 2 other continents.

3) Read more books.

4) Taken either an art or cooking class & gained competency in a hobby.

5) Stayed in physical shape, so that my body could easily handle pregnancy.


Things I wasted my time doing:

1) Going to bars, drinking, partying.

2) Watching tv, movies, passive entertainment.

3) Working dead-end jobs.

4) Spending money on frivolous/expendable things rather than saving.


Once you have kids, your attention & time will be forever divided. Thus, do all you can to fulfill some of your dreams now, so that you can focus 100% on the kid(s) once you're at that stage in your life.


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