It was my daughter’s birthday the other day. (By ‘the other day’ I mean August, but time works differently when you are a mom; you blink and you are suddenly one hundred days in the future but still everything seems like ‘the other day’!) As I was secretly making plans for her birthday party (she must have had a hunch something was up because she kept asking me to please get her balloons for the birthday), I kept thinking to myself, “How did we get here? How is my little girl even making requests for her birthday? I was literally just staring at a positive pregnancy test the other day, now here I am with a whole three-year-old.”

Her birthday got me reminiscing about the journey that got us here, one that is still very much ongoing. It took me back to the three years younger me. The downloading pregnancy apps, battling hyperemesis gravidarum, planning ahead and day dreaming about what life would be like once baby arrived, pregnant me. I wondered what I would tell my first time pregnant self. What do I know now that I did not know then?

When the time comes to bring your baby into this world, you will be conflicted. You will be so ready to have that baby out of you (because hello third trimester!) but at the same time you will want a little more time. A few hours, a day or maybe two, just to make sure everything is in place and that you are ready to have a baby.

You will second-guess yourself. A LOT! Am I ready to be a mom? Am I feeding her enough? To sleep train or not to sleep train? To co-sleep or not to? (Spoiler alert: you will co-sleep. No one is about to walk across the room every two hours in the middle of the night to breastfeed a newborn.) These doubts will continue even when your baby is older. Am I too lenient with my tantrum-y toddler? Was I too tough in handling that meltdown? In the moments when you second-guess yourself, keep going. You are doing just fine.

You will change. Some changes will be subtle, others will be glaring. Your body will change. Sometimes you will love it and will be in awe of just how it was able carry a whole entire human for 10 months, other times you won’t. You will struggle to find what to wear despite a closet full of clothes. You will hate your fashion sense and want to throw all your clothes away. Be patient with yourself and your body. It did carry a baby for close to ten months after all. It cannot remain the same. It is unfair to expect it to.

Your appreciation for your mom will hit an all-time high. You will experience firsthand what she went through having you and taking care of you. This appreciation will create a new kind of sweet bond between you and her for the short time she lived while you mothered.

Your decisions will no longer be only about you. You now have a little human to think about. Where to live, what to eat, what job opportunities to take or turn down; EVERYTHING will have you first thinking about her. Even when it is not obvious.

You will need all the help you can get. Say yes when it is offered.

Labour and delivery is everything they said it would be, and then some!

You will miss your pre-mom self sometimes. It does not mean you do not love being a mom. It is possible to love your baby in a way you did not imagine possible and still miss having some time to yourself even if it is just a few minutes to pee without your baby following you to the bathroom. It does not mean you are an ungrateful mom. You are just a mom who wants to pee in peace. When motherhood threatens to overwhelm you remember…

It will not always be diapers and breast milk. They really do grow up so fast. Cliché, but true. One day you will blink and you will have a tantrum-y toddler on your hands. Again, in those moments, remind yourself that it will not always be tantrums and meltdowns. Enjoy each step of the motherhood journey.

Your baby will still only have that one name you picked a few months prior when she makes her grand entrance into this world. Who knew naming a baby is so dang hard?! She will eventually get her second name, and all the worry that you might pick a name she looks nothing like would have been for nothing because her name absolutely suits her.

You will embark on this motherhood journey not as you had imagined– with your momma by your side cheering you on, but also side-eyeing some of your parenting decisions. She will not nurse you after you bring baby to the world as you had always hoped. You kind of already know this, somewhere at the back of your mind where you shove such horrible thoughts. But it will be all the more difficult when it becomes reality. It will be unimaginably sad, but you will keep going.

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