To the expectant mother:
Let me prepare you now by saying, whatever your expectations for how this day will go, throw them out the window. They are useless. Nothing will go as you planned. But, it will all be OK. Delivering a healthy, happy baby is your only goal at this point.
Yes, it will hurt.
It’s OK to get the epidural. No one is going to think less of you just because you said yes to the drugs. You don’t have to be Superwoman, attempting to squeeze out a baby without meds. On that same token, it’s OK to do it completely natural without the magic happy stuff. There’s no right or wrong way, only YOUR preferred way.
If you’re as vain as I am, wear makeup and style your hair. There will be someone taking photos of you that will be shared all over social media, so if you don’t want to look like you just got hit by a Mack truck and have it seen by everyone you know, make the time to look presentable.
Don’t be shy about people seeing your lady bits. You won’t care one iota who sees you spread eagle in the painful throes of labor. You’ll be so happy to get it over with, you’d invite the Pope in at that point if you thought he could help speed along the process.
Your husband will say and do a lot wrong in the hours and minutes leading up to delivery.
He will annoy you. He will eat in front of you. He will constantly change the channel on the TV. But once it’s “go time” he’ll get his act together and make you proud that you chose him over all the other suitable men to procreate with.
Your baby will come out looking like an exact clone of your husband. I like to think this is God’s idea of a practical joke. All that morning sickness, the inability to eat sushi, and having to limit your coffee intake all in order to deliver that healthy child . . . sacrifices that YOU made . . . all for your husband to get all the credit. It will make you slightly crazy. Prepare to hear “Wow, you were just an incubator! Not a trace of you anywhere!” Just what the hormonal crazy lady needs.
Pick out your post-birth meal now and designate someone to bring it to you as soon as you pop that little nugget out. Like Moses after the 40 day fast, you will be starving, and you will want something more decadent than the hospital’s turkey sandwich . . . though those are absolutely amazing as well, especially after midnight when it’s all you can get!
Take everything they bring you home, even if you think you don’t need it.
The mesh underwear, the giant maxi pads (that could double as parachutes in an emergency), the spritzer bottles, all the creams, the extra diapers, and formula. Take. It. All. You will find a use for it. Check Pinterest for some crafty ideas.
That first drive home will be nerve-wracking. You will chastise your husband’s erratic driving as he does 60 in a 55, and doesn’t come to a complete stop at the yellow light. How have you never noticed how terrible of a driver he is?! He’s never allowed to take your precious bundle of joy anywhere. At least not until he takes a defensive driving course or two!
You have never known tired until you’ve experienced the first week with a newborn baby.
Steel yourself now for the complete and utter exhaustion you will feel. Make sure you head to Costco and stock up on K-cups; coffee will be your saving grace. It will get better with time. You will get a routine down and eventually sleep through the night once more. Though you will never sleep soundly again . . . that’s just the perk of parenting.
The first week, you will have numerous visitors. By the second week, that number will die down significantly. After a month, the number will be nonexistent, and your husband will come home from work to find you still in your pajamas, covered in milk and spit-up, sobbing uncontrollably about how tired you are and how desperately you need a break. He’ll console you, take the baby, and tell you to go draw a warm bath while he orders dinner. You’ll have never loved him more.
Welcome to your new life. Motherhood is a joy like you’ve never known.
That sweet baby will consume every part of you. That baby will change your life for the better. You will spend every day from here on out wondering how you ever lived without your child. It’s a love deeper than words can ever explain. It’s a happiness that is unparalleled. It’s everything. Soak it all in, mama. These are the days.
This post originally appeared on Four Norths in the South
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