What advice would you give your younger self?

Victoria Gloria Photography

By Amy Read

I feel like this is a common question that interviewers like to ask celebrities, influencers, and entrepreneurs. As a midwife and lactation consultant, I say to myself on a daily basis, “Geez, I wish I had known that when I was pregnant!” You see I was NOT a midwife when I had my first 2 babies and I was NOT a lactation consultant when I breastfed any of my babies; it sure would have made life much easier if I knew then what I know now! I totally GET that part of the growing and learning is in the journey, but these 5 things could have made the journey so much more rewarding! 

Here goes…. 

5 things I would tell my “first-time” mummy self 

1.“Go to childbirth education classes
Don’t be so stubborn, you may tell yourself that you don’t need to go, or that you will just take it as it comes. BUT what you might actually be experiencing is fear of the unknown, fear you may be judged, or just fear of sheer embarrassment. If you are anything like me, extremely self-conscious, then you must address this prior to walking into the labour room. I was living away from my family and friends when I fell pregnant with my first baby. My hubby was working on a bridge with a deadline, so he couldn’t get the time off to go to classes. My fear was going alone and being judged for being alone. I thought people would think my husband didn’t love me enough or was not supportive enough. I had so much self-doubt about going to these antenatal classes alone, that I didn’t go at all. The reality of turning up to the hospital not knowing anything was actually more embarrassing and it affected my birth story! 

2.“Listen to the advice of others” 
I am sure you already hate this advice! But what if the advice was just to “listen and accept that we are not all the same and you may not want to do half of what is being advised”? What if half the advice DOES resonate with you and helps you to change something which makes a huge impact on the rest of your life? You don’t know what you don’t know! Imagine 10 years of study, 25 years of work experience, and 12 years of being a mother – that is something worth listening to, right? Just imagine the education that I could give a first- time mother. But, do they want to listen? Sometimes but not always. I thought my baby would sleep through the night from day one. No matter how many times I was told that newborns need to be fed every 2-3 hours, I would not believe it, somehow thinking I must be giving birth to a robot that sleeps 12 hours a night! And I could have saved myself a lot of grief and instead organised my new life as a mother who was definitely NOT going to get much sleep! 

3.“Practise yoga throughout your pregnancy” 
This one could be my number one! What I know now about the benefits of optimal fetal positioning, which is just a fancy name for yoga… WOW! The position of your baby in the womb when you present in labour is the single most important variable on how your labour will progress. And then knowing that there is something you could do about it; I wish I had known this! Not to mention the benefits to your own mind and your baby’s nervous system.

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