Courtesy of Kate Brierley

No One Told Me That Having A Baby Would Change My Perspective On Everything

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When I was a first-time expectant mom, I found myself re-thinking everything, which left me feeling like I was cast into a raging sea of self-awareness without so much as a life vest to cling to. Even though I had dreamt of motherhood many times, I had never navigated these waters before.

Sure, I had experienced many monumental moments in the 28 years before I learned I was expecting a son, but they didn't feel so permanently impactful. They didn't come with the pressure of an entire existence that would cease to be without your own. I had a cat, but I didn't birth her. I could go away for days at a time knowing she'd be fine on her own! I had a husband, but he was his own man. But now, I couldn't stop thinking about how anything I consumed would be passed along to my little guy in the making. My state of mind, stress level, and my emotions would impact him as well. The weight of learning that I was responsible for growing and raising another human pulled me under strong currents that made the world — and my impact on it — feel much bigger than it ever had before.

I had experienced many monumental moments in the 28 years before I learned I was expecting a son, but they didn't feel so permanently impactful.

Without a baby on board, I forgot my vitamins more often than I remembered them. I used whatever hair and beauty care products I'd always used. I'd look at the pricing, but ignore the ingredients label. I drank diet soda with aspartame, and ate deli meat with reckless abandon — and all without a second thought. If these things were safe enough to be mass produced, they were safe enough for me to use, I figured. I'd be fine! But once I learned I was pregnant, my baby unknowingly changed my thinking entirely. There is a significant list of no-no's for pregnant women. But why were those things considered safe and healthy for non-pregnant women? Or... were they?

Courtesy of Kate Brierley

This new little being was a part of me. Heck, he took up room and board inside of my belly. Talk about an existential experience. I needed to know that I was making the best home for him that I could, and it was time to rethink what was good for my baby, for myself, and for my family.

It's not entirely accurate to say I was excited about this voyage into healthier choices. To be honest, it seemed pretty daunting at first. I had never felt so exhausted as I did when I was growing a new life while also handling my busy existing one. But as I reminded myself, every positive change — no matter how small — could make a big difference in the long run.

I was already eating according to my doctor's recommendations (and missing the heck out of soft cheese, for the record). But what about the products I was using on a daily basis — lotion, sunscreen, deodorant, soap? I started out by scouring parenting message boards and picking the brains of fellow new moms. I quickly learned they shared the same concerns that I did. There were a bajillion mom and baby products out there, so how could you choose, and know you were choosing wisely?

Talking to a former roommate who had recently welcomed her baby girl, I asked her what her go-to skincare products were during pregnancy and after delivery. Even through college, my friend had sworn by the exact same baby lotion she used as a child — the scent comforted her, and she loved how it made her skin feel. Once, in a pinch, I asked if I could borrow it, and shortly after lathering it on, broke into a red rash from head to toe. For the life of us, we couldn't understand how this could have happened with a product that's meant for newborn skin. It must have been a fluke, and couldn't have been related to the product itself — right? Either way, it freaked us both out, and as it turned out, that memory had stuck with my roommate, too.

There were a bajillion mom and baby products out there, so how could you choose, and know you were choosing wisely?

She told me she and her little love-bug were using Earth Mama Organics for its clean, safe, and organic ingredients she could actually pronounce. I had to laugh. "But you used the same exact baby lotion for more than 20 years!" She said she'd gotten some as a gift at her baby shower from another mom friend, a mother of four (!) and someone I knew she really trusted. She fell in love with the products and story behind them, and mentioned that actually, lots of moms were putting it on their baby registries as go-to products since Earth Mama uses herbs as the star of the show. In the swirling sea of new mom uncertainty, this bit of information from a trusted friend and fellow mom became my anchor.

Despite my initial "aha" moment of realizing how significantly my decisions were impacting my baby, I learned that making healthier choices for myself and my family didn't have to be complex. Especially when it comes to ingredients in the products I use to care for us all, I learned that less is more and that what's good for my baby is good for me, too. There are brands out there that believe in the things I do, and products that offer peace of mind instead of more questions. That celebrate the amazing things our bodies were born to do, and the positive choices we're all trying to make for our families. This moment of realization, however small it may seem, ultimately helped me feel like I might just be well-equipped for this mom role after all, and I finally started to feel like I was swimming with the motherhood current, instead of into it. For my fellow moms in similar boats, concerned about making the best choices for your baby, I hope this story helps you feel afloat, empowered, and educated to make positive changes you believe in for you baby — and for yourself. Keep sailing, you’ve got this.

This post is sponsored by Earth Mama Organics.