I have a friend who is going into the hospital tonight to be induced/helped along with the delivery of her baby. She is due 8/19, but is going early because of her gall bladder. Hands down, this has been one of the most difficult pregnancies I have witnessed. So to say that she is "ready for this baby to just get here already" is a bit of an understatement. When I talked to her last night, I just felt like I had SO many things to tell her, bits of assvice, things to share. I remember my own last days in mid-October last year, standing on the Presipice of one of the biggest journeys of my life. The excitement. The anticipation. The gut-wrenching fear. However, I tried to keep my Pearls of Mothering Wisdom to myself. After all, isn't that part of the fun? Discovering all the Wonders for yourself? But here's what I would have liked to tell her......
That when you first see your baby you might be so pumped up on drugs and adrenaline that it might not be like one of those scenes in all the movies and television. You may be shell-shocked and think "Wow, what a sweet, adorabe baby. She's mine? For real?"
That bonding with your child is a life-long process. It doesn't happen just because you breastfeed or hold her or kiss her or wipe her butt or carry her in a sling 24/7 or co-sleep with her. It's a lifetime of Shared Experiences beginning with many of those things I just mentioned.
That you can never, ever take too many pictures of your baby.
That you will feel so vulnerable and exposed when you realize exactly how much of your heart is wrapped up in your daughter. It may even terrify you. Furthermore, you will have to swallow the frustration over the fact that you can't completely protect her from every disaster.
That sometimes in the wee hours of the morning you will doubt your Love but don't dwell on it or feel guilty about it because 8:00 am is just around the corner and somehow, someway Love gets a boost at precisely that hour.
That breastfeeding is one of the most painful, frustrating yet ultimately wonderous experiences you can have with your baby.
That taking a nap curled up with your baby is a Peaceful Calm like no other. Also? Having one cat curled up in your knees and another against your back is just Gooey Icing.
That taking a shower, putting a minimum of makeup and wearing decent clothes EVERYDAY is crucial to your self-esteem. Letting your appearance go by the wayside is a Slippery Slope that is best avoided.
That you may look at many of your former hobbies with a casual, detached curiousity. Like, " Hmmmm, I used to actually HAVE TIME to count stitches and rows? I'm lucky to get a scarf done these days." Don't fret over Lost Hobbies - you'll have time for all of them again someday - just pick the most important ones for the time being.
That being a Good Mother is all about Ideas, not Answers. Get Ideas from ALL of your friends, then mix n' match according to your baby.
That some Baby Topics are best left Un-Googled.
That in the beginning, you will want to change her outfits several times a day because she is just TOO DAMNED CUTE in all of them.
That your relationship with your husband will change and morph into something like it's never been. You will see sides of each other that you never knew existed but this doesn't have to be a Bad Thing. I've seen you and your husband - you will probably be closer than ever before.
That while I appreciate your offer to sew me a baby sling while you are on maternity leave, I know very well that your maternity leave is going to FLY by. I would rather you just enjoy these early months with your daughter.
That in the first few weeks it's best to unapologetically focus on yourself and your baby. Concentrate on getting all healed from the delivery so that you can get to 100% more quickly. Don't be a Dumbass like me.
That when you are healed 100%, try to get out of the house every single day. Even if it is to just pick up bread or milk. Damned Straight, sitting in a house all day with a baby can do a serious number on your Mental Health.
That it is imperative to surround yourself with Good Mothering Examples - the sort of gals that are GOOD for your Mothering Self Esteem, the sort of gals who don't COMPARE and don't COMPETE. If you find yourself in a group that Compares and Competes, get the fuck OUT. Stat.
That just when you think you have it all Figured Out, your baby will Change the Rules. And they tend to give little to no warning. They are Sneaky like that, those babies.
That ultimately, YOU KNOW YOUR BABY BEST. Can I say that again, for effect?? You know your baby BEST. Also, notice that I said she is YOUR baby. So, gracefully accept advice, wrap your brain around it, put it in your Back Pocket for later consideration and then do what YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH DOING. This will sometimes even include your doctor. And often, your mother-in-law.
That even the Darkest of Days are worth it for moments like these: