I'm writing to you because I remember how amazing it was to be expecting my babies. With your first baby there are the amazing months before finally becoming a mama when all the possibilities are in front of you as you feel your baby growing. It feels like it takes forever to get to nine months and you are just so excited to meet the tiny person who has made you a mother. Your next pregnancy,if you go for another, will perhaps, fly right by as you are chasing around your first born.
The thing about being pregnant that I also remember is how perfect strangers and not so perfect strangers seemed to take the opportunity to offer me advice at every turn. Some people were very sweet. Some... not so much. Others were well-meaning but a bit over-bearing. While still others were just off the wall. I remember people in the store wanting to touch my belly. It shocked me at first but then I realized that there is something that stirs in people when they see you creating new life. I think it makes us feel connected to beauty. Connected to life. Because there is nothing more inspiring and hopeful than a new baby, is there? I think the instinct is to reach out and be a part of that amazing love growing right in front of them. I think it is basically human to want to be near it and somehow connect with that perfectness. And unfortunately for you trying to get your apples and milk at the store, that can translate to stranger old ladies wanting to feel your belly, but don't worry, all of that said, you don't have to let them. Especially if they don't ask first.
So as I was putting my hippy-dippy spin on personal space invasion during pregnancy, I started to remember the other things people said to me when they found out I was knocked up. Ya know, after the pleasantries are done. The conversation will go like this...
Stranger: When are you due?
You: In 5 weeks!
Stranger: Awww babies are a blessing! Do you know what you are having?
You: Yes, a little girl.
Stranger: <insert whammy phrase from below list here>
"You will never sleep again" - I say, yes you will. There will be a day when you sleep well again. But in the beginning it's gonna be broken up a little. Sure, there will be long nights ahead but they won't always be, mama. All babies eventually sleep through the night, some sooner than others but they get there. And you will sleep well again. Yes you will.
"Treasure the moments when they aren't mobile. Once they start walking you're in trouble" - I say once they start walking, the adventures begin. Once they start walking the whole world begins to open up to them and it's incredible to watch them discover the world. I also say, sure, wear your comfortable shoes. No one ever discovered the world staying home, right?
"It's been nice knowing you" - Babies, toddlers, children and teens take a lot of work, it's true. There is no getting around that. But they grow fast. They grow so so fast. You will have a social life when you decide you are ready to have one again. Right away or a few months down the road or even a few years. It's up to you and there is no set way to do it.
"Are you sure you're not having twins?" - Ok, we've been really nice up until now. But this one? It's ok to go on ahead and flick a stranger between the eyes for this one. Better yet, if it's a family member that has the nuts to say this to you? You just feel free to punch them in the neck. Right at the Adam's Apple because then they will be paralyzed with fear as they struggle to breathe. Then say this -> I know you didn't just call me fat, you punk.
"Let me tell you about this one time when my kid had a blister rash and everyone in the house got it and there was a quarantine and we had to call the CDC" - I'm not sure why people do this. People love to share horror stories. Another common horror story is this one....
"Oh man, my labor was horrifying. They had to stop me from chewing through my own arm. Let me tell you all about it!" - I say this, I wish you an awesome birth. Your body is doing amazing things.**
"Make sure you... breastfeed-baby wear-use pacifiers-don't use pacifiers-buy this car seat-vaccinate-don't vaccinate-use a crib-co-sleep-back sleep-tummy sleep-do this-don't do that- blah blah blah blah-wokka wokka wokka" -
To this I say, parenting is an amazing and wild and awesome ride. There a million and one possibilities and many people will try and tell you how to do it "right". I say, feed your baby, love your baby, hold your baby and go from there. Listen to your gut. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions. Ask for help if you need it (All moms need help. All.) But seriously, listen to you. Your body and brain are hard-wired for this. Your instinct will guide you, you just have to listen to it. You are going to be great at this. Congratulations, mama.
Love, Mama Pants
** Note: People with horror stories for new moms can eat a bag of worms.