My dear friend,
You are pregnant!!! YAY! I am so excited that I have tears in my eyes typing this. You will be an amazing mother. I can see the love for your baby in your eyes, hear it in your voice and feel it when I see you touch your belly. I’m so proud to be part of your journey. We will talk incessantly about pregnancy, birth and babies. I wanted to write down the things that I feel so strongly about since becoming a mother myself. I’ve only been at this for about 6 years (or 2,242 days, but who is counting?). I have so very much to learn, but I feel that I have so much to give at this point, too.
Here are the top five things I want you to know:
It doesn’t have to be your favorite thing. There is so much initial excitement when you first find out you are pregnant. “Finally!” or “Oh. My. God.” or “Well, shit.” One way or another, it is one of the most exciting times of your life. I’ve had “Finally!” and “Well, shit.” experiences. Both times were equally terrifying and exciting. Then, it starts…morning sickness, anxiety, doctor appointments, endless lists of things to do, watching what you eat and drink, and the countdown. (Good lord, the countdown. Don’t even get me started on the pregnancy math that says 40 weeks equals 9 months). For me, that whole list of things I mentioned and all the things I didn’t were so overwhelming and so consuming that I quickly became the woman who enjoyed pregnancy only because it is how I got my babies. Yeah, it is cool to feel the baby move and to know you are growing a human; but, for me, the initial mom guilt started when I realized that I didn’t LOVE being pregnant. It wasn’t my favorite and doesn’t have to be yours. Don’t let the random old lady at the grocery store convince you that you should love every second of being pregnant. If you do, great! If you don’t, know that I’m with you.
The internet is rarely good for you. Please avoid Dr. Google like it’s the alcohol you are craving. Seriously. If you have a question, call your doctor’s office, ask your friends, ask that random lady mentioned above, but please, for the love of all things holy, don’t google things during pregnancy. You will end up on some medical site that will have you at the ER before you have to pee again or on some forum where they are rear facing their 8-year-olds in five-point harness car seats.
They just want your money. When wading through the endless baby products, please understand that babies are easiest when your entire life isn’t cluttered with their crap. Put down the registry gun, people! Save your money. You will need it for something else, I promise you. Babies need diapers, onesies, a couple blankets, a car seat, a place to sleep (my recommendation is the side car sleeper that bumps up to the side of the bed because nothing is better than not having to get up in the middle of the night) and feeding supplies (whether you choose breast or bottle). THAT IS ALL. Oh, and a few binkies, just in case. Trust me. Everything else is just super cute fluff.
Find your tribe. You will never need your people more than you do when you are suddenly thrust into the role of mother. There is nothing like learning to navigate the world with your entire heart living outside your body. You need people to laugh with, cry with, ask questions of, and to hold that precious bundle while you nap. You must trust these people and know that they will be there if you run out of diapers, wine or breastmilk. These friends will mean more to you than I can explain. There is a sisterhood in a mama’s tribe that is unlike any other.
You do you. There isn’t a lot to be said here. You do what works best for your family. Full stop. There are no exceptions to this. Listen to all the advice. Talk about everything. Do what feels right in your heart. You will know your little human like no one else. You will try things and they won’t work. It’s ok. Remember that tribe? They will help you. At the end of the day, you will know best. Then, before you know it, you will be a seasoned mother telling a friend what worked for you and not being offended when she does the opposite.
You can do this.