I decided to combine #8 and #9 from my list Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before Giving Birth.
First # 8 - You Can Learn From Others
It may seem like I am contradicting myself since I have appeared somewhat anti parenting books and have told people to mind their own business when it comes to telling you how to be a parent. However, you can learn from other people. A lot. Both good and bad. I learned a great deal by simply observing other people. Look at the people you admire as parents. Look at the people you think are a disaster. Remember what you think is a disaster now might not seem like such a disaster once you have your own kids. If you are going to judge do it in your head not out loud, otherwise it could come back to haunt you. Trust me. I am not going to slam any particular parenting book but I have read several and I am not a fan - but that does not mean I learned absolutely nothing from them. Keep that in mind.
# 9 Meltdowns happen (this is normal and ok)
This is important. Giving birth to a human being that you created is an amazing, emotional experience. In addition, your hormones are raging as your body goes through some major changes in a very short time. This can make one rather emotional. After my son was born, I remember looking at him and crying (happy) because I just felt so blessed to have this healthy little baby in my arms. This is normal. There is also something called the Baby Blues. Apparently (via my doctor) many, many moms experience this. Essentially your hormones surge and you are very emotional for a few days. I definitely had this. It lasted a bit longer than I think it does for most. I remember completely melting down in my doctor's office when my son was a few weeks old because I was just feeling very overwhelmed. Thankfully, my doctor and his nurses were very supportive. This emotional surge did go away. Poof. That is not to say this was the end of the meltdowns. A few months down the road when my son was having a very difficult time sleeping and on one particular night was up screaming for 12 hours straight, I became very tired and emotional. (Hello - no sleep = emotional woman). After talking with other moms I realized that I was not losing my marbles, this is common. Even my son's swimming teacher told me she remembered a couple of times where she shut herself in the bathroom to cry while counting down until her husband got home from work. My point is that parenting is a massive learning curve and it is ok to shed a tear now and then when you are exhausted. You are not a failure. You are a human being. However - this is not meant to dismiss postpartum depression in anyway. Postpartum depression is very real and very serious and nothing (absolutely nothing) to be ashamed of. If you think you are suffering from postpartum depression, in particular if you are feeling overwhelmed by guilt, if you are unable to sleep, if you are thinking of hurting yourself or your child - please, please seek professional help. Call someone you trust to watch your baby. Go to your doctor. If your doctor does not give you the support you need go see another doctor. Do not stop until you get help. There is help for you. Reach out.