Day 18. If you could, what would you tell yourself before you had your baby?
It'll be OK. It's going to be harder than you think - a lot - but it will be OK. You're an idiot for thinking that babysitting prepared you for this, by the way. Anyone who thinks they are prepared for their first child is wrong. And seriously naive.
There is no lightning flash of love that strikes you the moment that baby is out in this world. You will be tired and hormonal and just want everyone to leave you alone. You probably won't feel very bonded right away, and that does not make you a bad person or parent. Your body will just have done an amazing thing and it deserves credit and rest. You won't be able to breastfeed, and it isn't your fault. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It doesn't mean you weren't meant to do this.
On other ways, too, things won't go as you envisioned when you were younger. You won't make all the same choices you planned; some because you're wiser, and some because life doesn't always work out that way. That's OK, because, well, it has to be. What's the alternative, really?
You will never be the same, but you will be better. You will be tested in ways you never imagined, and you won't always succeed, and it will be fine. Because your kids need to know that it is OK to fail, as long as you get back on your feet and try again. It's also OK to take care of yourself. Call your friends. One of them will tell you that a happy Mommy makes a happy baby, and those are some really important words. Reach out for help when you need it. You cannot; will not do this alone, and it is vain and proud to try.