I know a lot of expectant mothers right now and I’m so happy for all of you!! It’s so exciting!!
You all have been asking me questions about products, work maternity plans, newborn sleep, etc. I am happy to provide insight into my experiences with all of those things, but I thought I would be remiss if I didn’t share my biggest piece of advice to expectant mothers: relax. make decisions. Don’t look back.
It’s so easy to work yourself into a complete tailspin about getting everything right. There are all these blogs, magazines, podcasts, books, etc. telling you conflicting information and it gets really confusing and preys on your anxieties about wanting to set your baby up right for life. I had the most anxiety-provoking six weeks of my life waiting for Zoe and wanting to get everything “right!”
But BECAUSE we only had six weeks to prepare for Zoe’s arrival, we got a different perspective. We didn’t have a lot of time to comparison shop and debate all of the different options you can choose for your pregnancy, birth, delivery, and post baby options. We just talked to a few friends, read a few books, and decided “this, this, and this.” Some of our options (like our delivery) were already made for us, and so we just said “okay.” And man, what a blessing!!!
From what I have observed, there is much pressure out there to come up with a strategy for every aspect of pregnancy and parenting from the second you test positive on a pregnancy test—but in the end, what matters is that you have a baby, that you can provide a physically and emotionally safe home, and that you have the basic skills to keep that baby alive. I am confident that all of you can provide that.
The love and affection you feel for your child (and that they feel for you!) won’t be any deeper because you read 30 books, listened to weekly podcasts, followed holistic midwives on Twitter, researched and carefully registered for all organic baby products, wrote a detailed birth plan and delivered your child accordingly, painted a tree or chevrons on your nursery wall in low-VOC paint a la Pinterest, baby-proofed your home in the second trimester, ate only organic food throughout your pregnancy, attended months of classes, and read mom blogs on a daily basis.
Pregnant women are under so much pressure to do everything “right.” And it IS important to get good prenatal care and stay healthy during pregnancy, but really? Keeping your levels of stress and anxiety low is equally important for your baby, your marriage, and yourself. If you’re following your doctor’s suggestions, your baby is probably going to turn out fine! You’re doing a great job. Don’t get sucked into the madness!
Yes, you have to get stuff when you have a baby. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Everyone thinks their products/way of doing things is the best, so just find a few people with your budget, lifestyle, and degree of practicality and pick their brain. Then do what they did. (I do recommend looking at current safety recommendations since those change a lot…but just be warned that you’re opening a Pandora’s box of fear and anxiety. Be brief!)
If you’re ENJOYING doing all the comparison shopping and baby research, have fun. But if you’re reading all these things and freaking out, recognize that you have the power in this situation. Tell yourself “I could technically get everything I need for my baby in six weeks like Sarah and David did, so I’m not spending nine months stressing about this!” Then make some decisions and move on!
Parenting isn’t about the gear, the nursery appearance, the birth plan. It’s about care, nurture, development. Educate yourself, definitely (books about baby care, sleep, and preparing your marriage for parenting are my recommendations!) but don’t work yourself into a tailspin trying to create a plan—things may be very different than you expected when you actually have your baby, and you will want that flexibility to make decisions then. Don’t say THIS IS HOW WE ARE DOING THINGS and box yourself in, only to end up having to change your plan after an emotional breakdown and a month of stubborn insanity.
Nurture yourself, too. Ask friends with kids what they enjoy about parenting and what went well in their delivery. Get sleep if you can, enjoy being with your significant other (maybe make a “baby bucket list!”) make some extra money if you get the chance and it doesn’t put you out too much, buy a few cute baby outfits just for funsies, and try your hardest to enjoy this time in your life instead of feeling pressured by it.
Oh, and get a Boppy. (There’s that product recommendation you actually asked for!) 🙂
Readers with kids—do you have any other advice for moms-to-be?