We thought we were smart, my husband and I. We went to college, started careers, got married, enjoyed the honeymoon phase for 2.5 years and then decided to start a family. We waited until I was in my late twenties and he in his early thirties. We saved, we navigated the labyrinth of healthcare plans, we bought life insurance. We discussed, we planned, we timed it out to account for his crazy hectic schedule as a college football coach. We got pregnant! We were so excited and yet, in the same moment we were terrified. We were nowhere near as prepared as we thought we were.
(Look at us, blissfully unaware of all the knowledge we were lacking. MK 18 weeks)
I downloaded the What to Expect app. Expecting to get weekly tracking of my baby’s size in comparison to fruit, I was bombarded with a bunch of new terms. Some I had heard before, others were totally foreign. I had baby sat and even helped new moms set goals and use strategies to catch up their babies with developmental delays as an Early Intervention Case Worker. I was educated and experienced. But becoming a first time mom myself was like going back to freshman year of college and enrolling in parenting 101. The only problem is- there is no text book.
(When it all started to become really real MK 22weeks)
There are, however, some excellent apps, childbirth classes, Facebook groups, seasoned mamas, and blogs to help you learn what you need to know. I’ve compiled some of what I’ve learned and constructed what I hope will be a helpful resource to another first time mommy. Here is the first edition
Your New Mom Vocabulary:
A non-exhaustive semi-educated guide to terms the first time mom should know
- Linea Negra- you’ve seen it but probably didn’t know what it was called. Its the dark line that appears vertically on the abdomen of many women during pregnancy
- Relaxin- a hormone that causes your joints to relax in preparation for childbirth. It affects your knees and ankles as a side effect of loosening up your hips
- Round Ligament Pain-a sharp pain or jabbing feeling often felt in the lower belly or groin area on one or both sides resulting from stretching of the ligament that supports your uterus
- Kicks- the exciting feelings of your baby moving inside you. They will begin as little flutters at first and progress to strong sweeping movements and even tickles when your baby hiccups in the womb. You want to be aware of your baby’s typical movements and take note when there are changes. Learn more here https://www.countthekicks.org/
- Contractions- You’ve heard the term and you will think you’ll know them when they come but you may not be too sure. Contractions are a cramping sensation that let’s you know your body is ready to push a baby out. Except your body starts practicing this long before you and baby are ready. It’s called Braxton-Hicks or false labor. You should always discuss with your healthcare provider but the best advise I got was that serious contractions come at a consistent intensity and regular intervals.
- Dilation- The degree to which your cervix has expanded. I was surprised to learn that you can start dilating weeks prior to delivery.
- Membrane Sweep- Labor is nothing like tv and the movies in most cases. You probably won’t have a gush of water signaling that it’s time to go to the hospital or call the midwife. A membrane sweep is one of many techniques that can be used to speed labor along. Pitocin supplement is another.
- Anesthesiologist- a person who may or may not be part of your delivery team and may or may not be there when your baby chooses to arrive. If you decide to use medicinal pain relief, definitely discuss the availability of this person with your delivery team. Whatever method of pain relief you decide to use, don’t feel guilty if you change your mind when ish gets real.
- Birth-The way your little one arrives. Whether scheduled or emergency cesarean, natural labor, supernatural delivery, or any combination of labor and delivery methods. What’s important is that they get here and you get through it.
Parenting Styles (Not mutually exclusive)
- Crunchy- a spectrum of natural parenting styles that range from using essential oils to choosing to delay vaccinations
- Granola- Not to be confused with crunchy, a parent that wants everything in its most natural state, from growing their own vegetable garden to making their own clothing from unbleached hemp
- Helicopter- the ever-present mama doting on her bubble wrapped kiddos. Hand sanitizer rests in a holster on her hip.
- Laid Back- the mom that lets her kid walk to the park down the street with friends
- Corporate- the career driven mom on a mission. Had a nanny picked out and signed up on the waitlist of the best school before she conceived
- SAHM- the busy bee mom doing the job of house keeper, day care worker, uber driver, chef, and more for a salary of daytime naps and snuggles
- WAHM- Corporate + stay at home wrapped mom in one.
- EBF- choosing to give your child nothing but breastmilk for any one of a myriad of reasons from immune support to bonding
- Pumping/Bottle- Utilizing a breast pump to express milk for when you need or want to be away from baby or due to difficulty breastfeeding for any number of reasons. Very common. No better or worse than any other method
- Supplementing- A combination of breastmilk and formula feeding for similar reasons listed above or simply by choice. My only advice here is that many people with difficulty breastfeeding feel the need to supplement which can negatively affect supply and become a cycle. If you want to supplement only temporarily and progress to exclusively breastfeed seek help from a lactation consultant. Again, very common. No better or worse than any other method
- Formula Fed- using specially formulated mix to give your child the nutrition they need. Once again, very common. No better or worse than any other method.
Fed is Best
Of course, knowing the terms and putting them into practice are 2 very different things. You will find your way, mama. (And then you will forget it all and re-learn it for your second child) Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this entry is meant to be somewhat informative but mostly fun. If you have concerns during pregnancy or with your newborn, seek the advice of a healthcare provider.
MK 2 weeks old. Blissfully unaware of all of this information
What would you add to this list?