So. You’re pregnant, eh. You’re probably a little excited, a little freaked out, and a little annoyed with your husband for not sympathizing enough with your current larger than life situation. Normal, normal, and NORMAL! If this is your first child, you probably have a million questions and don’t even know where to start. Right? For what it is worth, here are my thoughts.
Here are 10 Things You Need to Know About Having a Baby:
10. When you are sportin’ the bump, you suddenly become a birth-story-telling-magnet. Everyone and their grandmother is going to see your bump and automatically want to tell you the dramatic stories of how their children entered the world. And you are going to listen, and nod your head, and hope that medicine has advanced since the random waitress was having her baby and (surprise!!!) not one but two babies popped out. Let the people tell their stories, but relax. You’re soon going to have your own story, and no matter what happened to everyone else, your baby is going to create his/her own version. And for your sake and the sake of your child, I hope its one of the boring ones.
9. You don’t need half the crap you registered for. If you have a wipe warmer on your registry, take it off now! You need a crib, a stroller, diapers, wipes, bottles, some toys, wine, and a reliable baby-sitter…Oh, and a car seat too. Everything else is fluff and stuff you can live without. Ok, maybe an ERGO.
8. I give you permission to flick off the next person who cheerily yet condescendingly tells you, “Sleep while you can!” Okay, they are right, but how annoying is that to hear over and over and over again? You get it. You are trying to sleep. Between the charley horse’s, the peeing every hour, the heart burn, the dreams that your baby has one eye ball in the middle of his head…. Yes, you are freaking trying to sleep while you can! Thanks for the reminder.
7. None of the labor-inducing wives tales work. Period. End of story. You are wasting your time. But if you have time to waste, go for it. Especially the extra foot rub during your pedicure. Pamper the crap out of yourself because soon the price of a pedi is about to increase 50% when you add in the cost of a babysitter.
6. When it is “go time”, you need to try to enjoy giving birth. But does it hurt, you ask? All I will say, it that it is not like the movies. There is pain, but nothing your body can’t handle. You were made to do this. Someone once told me that giving birth is AWESOME! I looked at her like she was nuts, but three times later, I couldn’t agree more. It is a one-of-a kind experience and you shouldn’t fear it. What you should fear is the aftermath…..
5. After the baby comes out and your are all coo-ey and dreamy eyed, they are going to un-cathedar you, tell you to use the bathroom, and you and you are going to be in for quite a surprise. Remember that period that was on hiatus for 9 months? Well, its baaaack…. and not going anywhere anytime soon. Your perineum is about to become your worst nightmare. Oh, what’s that? You don’t know what a perineum is? Just ask the nurse who makes you to turn on your side as she lifts the backside of your gown to check it 3 times per day just to make sure it looks okay. I am sure she could describe the perineum to you. And when you leave the hospital, you and your perineum are on your own. But don’t worry, they send you home with a goodie bag including a squirt bottle (your own personal bidet), Dermaplast (an antibacterial pain relieving spray), and snap activated perineum ice packs that double as a pad…..and I promise you are going to want to kiss the person who invented these things……these things that you didn’t even know existed 24 hours ago.
4. You are not too cool to wear the complimentary mesh underwear. Keep the undies you packed in your hospital bag, and wear the freaking mesh underwear. I promise your husband will be too preoccupied with the new baby to notice your undergarment of choice. It is easy to get on, easy to get off and most importantly – disposable!
3. While sitting on your ice pad, it is an optimal time to feed the baby. If you choose to breastfeed, showing your boobs to half the hospital staff has nothing on what they just saw in the delivery room, so let the lactation consultant all up in there and let her help the baby latch. Try to ignore the painful contractions that happen when you nurse. It is just your uterus shrinking back up. Pain is beauty, right? And let me just say it – nursing SUCKS for the first three weeks. In addition to cracked, bleeding, sore nipples, you will also feel frustrated, confused, doubtful….How much is the baby actually getting? Why do they keep falling asleep during feedings? Why do I feel like I am nursing all day? Wait, did the baby seriously just spit up everything I just fed him?????? But after three weeks, you will be golden. Don’t give up. I promise it gets easier. If you are still not convinced, you can read my post on breastfeeding here.
2. When you are being discharged from the hospital, you might be a little anxious. Like omigod. Why didn’t I think to adjust the straps on the carseat for a baby this small. Relax. This doesn’t make you a bad parent. You are already doing a good job because you actually noticed they were on the wrong setting. One step in the right direction. Plus the nurses are experts on everything baby – its okay to ask for help because in a few short moments, you are on your own!
1. When you get home and get settled and the gushing friends and family all leave, you will probably cry. Not because they left and you are alone, but because crying and being weepy is totally normal. You just had a baby. You are overwhelmed. You have no clue what you are supposed to do. Your husband? Clueless as well. You are so tired it hurts. Your boobs are so big you can’t even rest your arms at your sides. Your hormones are going insane because a plug was just pulled from your body – literally. And your perineum….. it still hates you.
When I look at a glowing pregnant person who is about to become a mom for the first time, I want them to know they are in for the most amazing experience life has to offer – as cliche as that sounds, it is true. But I also want them to know it is not easy. Being a new parent looks like the pictures people post on Facebook for, oh, about 3 minutes of the day. You know, the pictures like this:
It’s pictures like this one that make motherhood look like absolute bliss. And the great thing about these moments is that they are so powerful they cancel out all the other crap – the crap that makes you feel like you are a contest on the show Survivor because after all, your body just went through a war, everything hurts, you don’t sleep, your emotions are all over the place, and on top of all that, you are responsible for a new life. A new life that is completely 100 percent dependent on you and needs you to be at the top of your game. It is a big undertaking to say the least. But I promise you, the baby will come out of your body one way or another (even if not according to your original plan), you will figure out how to care for your baby (even though the first bath might be the scariest task of your life…..)
And then there will come a day where you catch a glimpse of your still slightly swollen belly in the mirror, back up, take a closer look, and think to yourself, “Damn. I just totally rocked this.”
A Mother of 3 (who lived to tell this)
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