Tabatha DeGrave
Area Partner for Tri-County, FL

Oh my gosh… Where to even begin? Looking back, I realize I was so underprepared in becoming a parent. You can read about every parenting book, but putting it into practice is entirely different. At least it was for me. I’ve felt like I’ve read enough to be prepared, but you will never be ready. For starters, the gear that they promote for babies is just insane. I felt so overwhelmed just having to make my registry because there were so many options and so many different brands. This was from the simple things like nail clippers to the vital decisions like the car seat and stroller. You would think that they’re essentially doing the same thing, so why are there so many options? Why is the decision so hard?

I wish I would’ve been more prepared by just knowing the things that could potentially happen, good and bad, while in labor. Things can change so quickly. Is having a birthing plan nice? Absolutely, but I’ve learned that you definitely need to be able to go with the flow and pivot at any minute. Sticking to a birthing plan in a no longer ideal situation can be very hard to adjust to. You need to remember that your providers have both your and your baby’s best interests at heart and would not suggest anything that will make things worse.

Things I Wish I Knew -

 I wish I knew that there is no right or wrong way to do this parenting life. Some things will make it easier, some things will make it harder, and a lot of it is learning as you go.

When you think you have the whole parenting thing down, your child will go into a completely new phase of childhood, and you will be right back at square one. This pattern just repeats over and over and over again until you die, apparently.

The best thing I wish I had known was that I wasn’t alone. It can feel so isolating when you’ve just had a new baby. The focus on mom throughout the pregnancy, now immediately goes to the baby. You are learning about this new person in your life, you are learning about this new role that you’re stepping into, and it may seem lonely, but you are not alone. There is so much more access to resources now than when I had my first baby. Reach out when you need to, even if it’s an online support group. It can be anything that will get you the support you feel you need so you do not feel so isolated.

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