Dear Expecting Mom,
If you’re like I was, your mind is racing. Sure, you’re waking up in the night to go to the bathroom, but let’s be honest, you’re also awake because you’re thinking about how much your life is about to change. You’ve probably been dreaming, literally, about the first moment you see your sweet baby and how wonderful life as a new mom will be. Again, if you’re like me, you’ve babysat enough to know that taking care of a baby is no easy task and there will be moments that will push you to the edge and just when you don’t think you can go much farther, your sweet baby will fall asleep on your chest breathing the most soothing soft baby breaths you’ve ever heard.
As the countdown until your due date grows smaller, you’re probably feeling emotions you didn’t realize existed. Slow down. Breathe. Millions of women have been here before you and millions will be having babies after you. Try not to focus on the baby’s due date. Your baby, most likely, will either be early or late. Or, maybe your baby will be on time. You’ll know soon enough. Until then, try to enjoy your pregnancy.
LABOR & DELIVERY
Please don’t worry about what anyone else will think of your labor and delivery choices. Surround yourself with supportive people, be it family, friends, or professionals. What’s right for you and your baby is the only good option, whether that means being induced, having an epidural, a c-section, or an unmedicated labor and delivery. Educate yourself, listen to the professionals, and trust your decisions. I don’t know anyone who judges their mother for how they chose to bring them into the world. Your birth story will be special and unique. Try not to dwell on what could have happened or what you may have missed out on.
You may be worried about pain and embarrassing moments. Please, remember you aren’t the first, nor will you be the last, to birth a baby. There’s really nothing more natural than bringing a new life into the world. If you tear, you may need stitches (you’ll probably be so distracted by holding your precious new baby, you won’t even notice!). If you scream profanities or are silent or chant or sing or poop or WHATEVER, it won’t be the first time that has happened. Trust yourself and trust your people. You CAN do this.
BRINGING BABY HOME
Sweet mama-to-be, you may be wondering if your Pinspiration-perfect nursery will be ready in time. Remember, all your baby wants is to eat, sleep, and be loved. They won’t mind if you ran out of time to paint…or hang photos…or buy the top-of-the-line stroller.
Try not to put pressure on breastfeeding or formula decisions. Educate yourself and plan to be flexible. Know that at the end of the day, you’ll do whatever is best for you and your baby. Don’t stress about latching or weight gain or pumping or leaking. It will all work out…and when you need help, there are tons of resources waiting for you.
Bringing a baby home will change everything. A peaceful night of sleep will be a distant memory, though you may be used to that after pregnancy. Your relationship with your partner will change. Your house will change. YOU will change. From the noticeable changes (less time for intimacy, more baby items scattered around, extra weight in new places) to the less obvious changes (an appreciation for things you can’t imagine, buying a highchair instead of new furniture, spending time reading about developmental milestones instead of fashion magazines), bringing home your sweet bundle of joy will rock your world…in the best way possible.
Raising a baby during the age of technology can be overwhelming. I remember loving and loathing my smartphone during the middle-of-the-night feedings when I’d research SIDS, vaccination schedules, sleep training techniques, developmental activities, and so much more. Know that you have the tools and the love to create a wonderfully happy environment for your sweet baby. Even though everything will change, as the days pass by you’ll notice yourself appreciating your new world and it will be hard to imagine anything other than this stage of life.
LIFE WITH A BABY
Watch out for “mom guilt” creeping in. By this time, you and/or your partner are probably back at work. The meal trains and gifts have slowed to a stop. People have stopped checking in on your family. All that’s left are lots of baby snuggles, feedings, and an unending need for diapers. Before deciding to leave my job, I went back and forth weighing the heaviness of daycare costs vs. loss of income, time management stresses, and worries about having enough energy to meet the needs of everyone in my life. Please, try to stop worrying. Work with your family to make the right choices for you. It’s okay to modify your decisions as time goes on and your family’s needs change.
You’ll be facing new routines and different demands on your budget. As you enter this phase of life, remember the time will pass quickly. Baby-days are gone before you realize it. Enjoy the snuggles and laughs. Take photos and videos. Cherish your time and treasure your memories.
Remember that you are a GREAT mom. You’re doing the best you can do for your family. Also, please make time for yourself (yes, every single day). Your sweet baby may cry as soon as you’re out of sight, but rely on the supportive people in your life to let you remember what it feels like to be you, aside from being a mom.
You may get frustrated. You will probably cry. Mistakes will be made. At the end of the day, all that matters is your family is cared for and loved. Our sweet girl is about to turn three and these baby-worries already feel like a lifetime ago.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Enjoy your new life.
A Former Expecting Mom