At the age of 27, here I am in my third trimester of my third pregnancy. I have people telling me all the time they can’t believe I am a mother of two already when I myself am a baby. Unlike my first and second pregnancies that would have been announced not long after passing the first trimester, this time the whole urgency of telling anyone became muted – not because I was any less excited but as the saying goes, “been there, done that.” I actually kept the news this time round for as long as I could with only the immediate family knowing first. I have even kept the gender a secret this time, only my husband and I know.
I don’t know if I can say I am older and wiser, however there are things you learn and things that change when you become a parent for the first time. As a young mother, I had to quickly adapt and mature as I took on the enormous role as a parent. Though there are somethings I wished people had told me before I became a mother. So I dedicate this post to the younger me who “27 year old, third time round pregnant, in hindsight self” would’ve loved to hear from. (NONE of the following are regrets, just “wish I knew’s”)
– Enjoy life as a married couple for a while – build a life as husband and wife and enjoy living together alone. Many times I think back and wish I spent more time as husband and wife before we had kids and sometimes, I truly miss those days. We were young and still lived under my parents roof when we got married. We never got to move out, we never got to travel together other than to Malaysia for our second wedding and time was taken away from us when we were expecting several months into our marriage.
– Be prepared to say bye bye to that pre-pregnancy body!! Especially if you are having a girl as your first, be prepared to balloon everywhere! I am talking about face, hands, arms, thighs, butt and breasts!
– Also if you inherited the “not so” skin elasticity, the rapid growth in the mentioned areas are bound to give you stretchmarks. Stretchmarks are permanent. Anything to prevent stretchmarks should be trialed and error-ed for good measure, including creams, oils, diet… the works!
– Your whole world is about to change forever. Only you can decide if that is a good or bad thing. One things for sure, you will not be selfish and your children will be put before you, each and every time. They are your world, they are your existence. The world shifts from revolving around you to revolving around them. It is truly something you cannot explain and will never understand until you become a mother.
– Do not be over precautious when it comes to eating certain foods whilst pregnant. Eat what your heart desires BUT with an ounce of logic of course. The pamphlets tell you what to avoid because there are scientific evidence behind why, though always know that the things you avoid can be taken to a certain extent. For example, you don’t need to completely avoid all soft cheeses – if they are cooked, the bacteria dies and it is no longer harmful for you and bubs. Oh! For those who are spicy or chilli lover/eaters, we are advised by our parents or elderly to avoid eating too much. Though now I find the tolerances for hot, spicy or chilli foods vary between my kids because I ate everything chilli in my second pregnancy and avoided or minimised it greatly in my first. I do believe what you eat in pregnancies directly have an impact on the child’s tolerance to certain foods.
– If you are going to breastfeed, be prepared to have darker areolas and longer nipples. Haha!! It is the horrible truth.. funny when you think about it but at least someone had told you before you decided right? But breastfeeding for me was the secret to dropping back to size 7 jeans less than a month after giving birth to my second child, as well as giving the best thing nature intended to your newborn child. For me, it also meant I would have no period for months and months after giving birth – best thing ever. Course this is a personal opinion, we all have our reasons as to what we do. Breastfeed or not, weigh up the pros and cons.
– Breastfeeding does mean you have to be with bubs quite often or around when he/she is hungry. This means going out on your own and being away from bubs can be hard, be prepared to make a sacrifice if you decide to breastfeed. Of course there are ways to overcome this, such as expressing and letting others feed bubba when you are out. It means that baby can and will develop a relationship with others and not be so clingy to Mummy all the time. It all depends on circumstances. You need to be flexible and go with the flow. Not just breastfeeding wise but for everything that is to come.
– Plans are exactly that, plans. If things do not go to plan, it does not mean the world is going to end! As stated above, just go with the flow. That also applies to “birthing plans.” In all honesty, you can chuck that plan out the window!
– Caesareans or commonly known as C-sections DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT make you any less of a woman than you are. Having an emergency C-section takes everything out of your hands although at the end of the day if it means you and bubs are healthy and safe – that is all that matters! Yes, you hear all these stories of how mothers feel when giving birth naturally, the feeling of empowerment and enduring all the world can throw at her. But at the end of the day, you should not feel like you are any less of a woman or feel like you have had that feeling of empowerment stripped away from you because it felt like your body failed to do what it was supposed to. No. You are still a mother, you still carried bubs for 9 months, you still delivered bubs, you still needed to recover from giving birth and have a major surgical scar to physically show how damn strong you are! You are still as amazing as any other woman and mother out there!!! I cannot stress this enough.
– Ever heard of work/life balance? Well you need to take that outlook and apply it to your new found role as a parent. After all, being a mother is one of the hardest jobs you will ever encounter. In order for you to be all you can be for your child, you need to take time out to be you. Don’t beat yourself up for taking time out, it is healthy for you to look after yourself in order to look after your baby. Remember that taking time to focus on you can also mean taking time to do things you loved doing before baby arrived – go watch a movie, read a book, go for a long drive to no where, spend time with your hubby and build that relationship up stronger (he is also feeling the pressure and has taken a backseat since your children have come into the picture), go out on date nights, spend time with your friends and come back feeling refreshed and re-energised to continue your mummy duties.
– Patience. Learn to have a lot of it.
– Most importantly, work together with your husband as a team. You both created baby, so it is only fair you both work together to bring them up. This way children don’t become closer to one parent than the other, they are loved equally and will love equally.
– What works for you may not work for another. Do not try to advise someone who is not looking for your advice. Parenting is hard but nothing makes it harder than having others outwardly judge or advise you. Do what is best for you and your children and do not bother about others. Every pregnancy is different. Every delivery is different. Every baby is different.
Not many talk about the good things or the positive things about pregnancy, about becoming a parent or about what is to come. Do know though that the whole process is something that cannot be explained until one passes the journey of motherhood themselves. You see the world in a different way, you appreciate the sheer utter beauty of simple things, you experience feelings and things in this life that you never knew existed and being captivated by a little being who has your heart strings pulled from every direction.
For me, I finally understood what my parents had been through and endured for us children. I appreciated every little thing they did for us and every little thing they still do. It made the whole cycle of life come full circle and made me aware, awaken and try to reconnect to the very essence of what made this world so amazing… That is the Creator. Ultimately, it reformed me as a person each and every time I crossed the journey of pregnancy, giving birth and witnessing life afterwards. No regrets. Nothing is more life changing for a mother than experiencing that journey.
I am so very lucky to be able to experience this journey again for the third time. Alhamdulillah.
Thanks for reading!