babyMaternity Magazine
Creative Child

Three Things I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming a Parent

by Allie Garcia

I am a type A personality. I am also whatever the opposite of a type A personality is. I need order, plans, and structure, and also thrive in chaos. I have to-do lists, monthly goals, yearly goals, and five year plans in file after file on my phone, computer, and scribbled on post its stuck to the back of magazines.

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Maybe you are like me, and you like to plan ahead. Or, maybe you are like me and are drawn to impulsivity. Whatever the case, many people think about whether or not they want children, how many they want to have, and what age they would like to be when they become parents. I heard something on the radio once about 26 being the most successful age to get married. At 19 years old, I drafted that into my 10 year plan, that included graduating college, dating for at least two years, marrying at 26, and having my first child at 29 years old.

My plans were thwarted when the most handsome and charming man alive proposed to me on Christmas Eve of my 21st year of life. We finished college together by 25 and weren’t ready to become parents until several years later. My first daughter was born three months after my 28th birthday. We knew we were ready to become parents because we knew the ins and outs of each other’s personalities, had enough money in our bank account to provide for a child, and had established a relationship based on a permanent commitment to one another that we felt was a secure and stable environment to raise children in.

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We were excited to create a cuddly, curly haired, little baby and dress her in all of the tiny outfits that I had already been pinning on Pinterest. There were three things, however, that completely blindsided us both after our daughter was born, things we wish we had understood prior to getting pregnant with her, things that may or may not have changed our timeline, but may have made us more emotionally prepared to face the joys and challenges of parenting.

First of all, every single decision I made from the day we decided to “start trying” felt like it had eternal consequences.

How much caffeine should I drink? Can I eat a hot ham and cheese sandwich? Should we start a savings account or wait? What temperature should my bath water be?

These questions only increased as we made decisions about her birth - Delaying cord clamping? Vitamin K drops? Which hospital do we deliver at? I just had NO IDEA how many decisions there would be to make and how weighty they would feel.

Related Article: Preparing Children for a New Sibling

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