What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Mum
Words By: Margaret Galang, YMF Founder
I was one of those people that read the books, did the research and tried to prepare myself as much as possible before the arrival of my first child. But after becoming a mum and looking back, I don’t think anything can ever truly prepare you. It is the biggest change in a woman’s life, and life is never the same after becoming a mum. In saying that, there is a lot we can learn before we become a mum that can help our journey once the baby comes. Now I know everyone’s journey is different, so I’m just here to share with you my experience in the hopes that it will resonate with others or at least give you some food for thought.
If there was one thing that I could do differently when I was pregnant with my first child, it would have been to learn how to breastfeed! I read up on almost everything else that expectant mothers can learn about but when it came to breastfeeding, I was under the impression (like other mums may be) that breastfeeding is just one of those things that will come naturally to any mum, and how hard can it be? You put the baby on your boob and they drink, right? So, I don’t think I really paid much attention at my antenatal breastfeeding class… and boy did I learn the hard way! Now it may come naturally to some mums, but for me it certainly didn’t. I dreaded when the time came to feed (and when they are young babies, they feed a lot!), because it was just pure pain for the entire 40 minutes of feeding! And I went through a lot of the common breastfeeding issues – raw nipples, no milk supply, too much milk supply, you name it! I really struggled through the first 8 weeks of motherhood while I navigated my way through how to get this breastfeeding thing down pat. After lots of research, seeing lactation consultants, and a life-saving breastfeeding DVD, I had finally figured it all out. If only I had known all of this information before the baby came, it may have made my first few weeks as a mum, a little bit easier. No doubt I would’ve still come across some issues, but perhaps it could’ve helped me in some way.
As I said in the beginning, I don’t think anything can truly prepare you for what motherhood brings, but if I can share one piece of advice to expecting mothers, it would be to learn about breastfeeding (if that’s something you want to do). Again, even if you have learned about it, you’re not going to get a real grasp of breastfeeding until you are actually doing it. But being equipped with some knowledge or having an idea of what you can expect can help you prepare in some way, or at the very least, provide you with some comfort knowing that you aren’t the only one if you do struggle with it.
PS. My life-saving DVD was called “Breastfeeding Without Tears” by Clare Byam-Cook. This is a DVD I bought back in 2010 so I don’t know if it’s still around!