I have been a mom now for over 10 years. 2004 was the year that changed everything. I first became pregnant in January and had a little boy the end of September. I was 25 and hand a handful of friends who already had kids. My sister-in-law already had three girls and my husband’s cousins all had children as well.
I also liked to read a lot about birth, pregnancy and parenting. I was on a few online forums and email lists where it came up. I felt like I was pretty prepared when my son was born. I was no expert but I had a general idea of how I wanted things to go.
Over the years I have changed my thinking on somethings and held strong to others. I realized that most of us moms are just trying to do the best we can, even if that looks different in each family. As I look back over the last 10 years I think about what I would do differently and what I would do if I was given the chance to do it all again.
1) Winter babies- I don’t like having winter babies. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal if we lived in California or something but I don’t like having babies in the winter. When #2 came along in Germany, he got RSV. I decided I didn’t want to risk having another baby born around that time of the year. Then #3 was born in November. Luckily he did not get RSV. I don’t like that outside parties are just not an option for two of my three boys. So if I was doing it all over again, I would want them born in the spring or the summer.
2) Breastfeeding- I thought I would love breastfeeding and it would be easy. It wasn’t. I tried hard and was able to breastfeed my oldest until he was 17 months old. I wish I could have done that with my other two. It isn’t something I really feel guilt over. They were just fine on formula and I was able to breastfeed them 6 and 9 months. I just wish I had more support or found support when they were new. I think that really would have helped. Then I think, does it really matter? No, not really but it is something I wish I could have done differently.
3) No labels- Attachment parent, mainstream parent, crunchy parent, soggy parent, strict parent, etc etc. I hate that we have to put mothering in a check box. I just want to be who I am. If sometimes that looks like an attachment parent, that is cool. If other times I appear mainstream, that is cool too. I think what happens is that we want to find our tribe, a place to belong, a place where we will not be made fun of for making different choices. And that is a good thing. The problem is that for most people, your parenting doesn’t just fit in a box. Because I don’t CIO I only feed my child organic food? No, real life doesn’t work like that. At least that has been my experience. When we have all these labels it is easy to stop doing what is best for your child and trying to check all the boxes so that you can be included in the group. So doing it over again, I would have ignored all the labels and just focused on what my child needed. Even if that made me a hybrid.
4) Birthing Center– I had my oldest son at a birth center in California. It was such a great experience for us. I wish I could have had my other two that way. On the other hand, having them born in a German hospital and a Military hospital were interesting experiences. I am not sure I would want to change those.
What about you? What would you change about pregnancy, birth or parenting?