Right now you are six months pregnant. I’m writing to you from a year in the future because there are some things that I wish my future self would have told me when I was in your shoes (or whatever you’re able to squeeze your feet into these days).
First of all, I want to let you know that your baby is healthy. I know that you’re worried when he doesn’t move around very much and you obsess over everything that could be wrong. Relax. He’s fine.
Please, try to enjoy these last few months of your pregnancy. Now that the morning sickness has eased up and you’re in the home stretch, you’re going to start feeling better and better until he’s born (oh yes, it is a “he” by the way). Enjoy all of the attention that you’re getting and how special everyone is making you feel. It won’t last forever. Right now you think you’ll go crazy if another person asks when you are due or how you’re feeling. In a year you’ll be so desperate for any kind of adult interaction that you’ll be striking up conversations with strangers in the grocery store.
It’s okay to marvel in feeling your little baby squirm around inside your tummy. I know that everyone is telling you that by the time he’s born you’ll be tired of it, but you won’t. And trust me, once he’s here you are going to miss that feeling so much. Being pregnant is amazing, and you’ll regret it if you don’t appreciate it because you’re afraid to stop worrying. So stop feeling guilty when you’re not obsessing, and start having fun!
Labour sucks. I know that you think that women might be exaggerating how much it hurts, but they’re not. It’s the worst pain you’ll ever know. That being said, it will be over before you know it and a few days later you will have almost completely forgotten the pain. It might be a good idea to prepare some techniques for dealing with it, though. I know that you’re self-sufficient and think you can just muddle through, but learning some breathing exercises or relaxation techniques will really help.
Once the baby is here, you will be in for the shock of your life. There is no way that I can prepare you, so I won’t even try. You’ve already been told a million times about the lack of sleep and crying and all of that. So I’ll just give you a few words of advice.
DO NOT worry about what anyone else says or thinks or how they believe you should raise your baby. Honestly, you care way too much about how other people perceive you and it will make for a difficult first few months with your son. There is no way that you will ever make everyone happy, so don’t even try. Just do your best. I know, I know, you’re thinking that they probably know more because they have experience and you don’t. Nope. Not true. You know your baby and they don’t, so just ignore them.
Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go according to plan. Right now, you think that women who decide not to breastfeed just aren’t trying hard enough. Well, I hate to tell you, but by six months your son is going to be exclusively formula fed. But you know what? He’s healthy and awesome! This single thing is going to cause you more stress during your son’s first year than anything else. Just don’t sweat it.
I would like to tell you to get your rest while you can, but how many times have you already been told that? Besides, it’s not like you can save up rest for when you’ll really need it. I think that pre-parent free time is something that can only be appreciated after your kids are here. So just do your own thing, take two naps a day, fool around on the computer, and enjoy being solo.
I’m really quite jealous of you because soon you will get to experience becoming a mom for the first time. You’ll hate feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing, but by the time your son is one you’ll look back on those first few weeks with such unbelievable nostalgia: moments like when you and C are huddled over the baby in the hospital, both trying to figure out how to put a diaper on your grey, scrawny, alien-looking baby; or having the nurse help you get him into the car seat; or how nervous you’ll be to give him his first bath. Enjoy your inexperience and the newness of everything. In a few months, you’ll have it all down to a science. God, I miss those early days. Enjoy them.
Being a mom will change your life, but in ways that you won’t know until it happens. You’ll have so much more patience and perspective and you will sweat the small stuff WAY less. These are all good things. But I know that you’ve already been told this many, many times before, and right now the last thing you want is yet another person giving you advice or telling you how it’s going to be.
I imagine that as you read this, you’re sitting in your office with your feet up on a chair and the fan on. Give your belly a little rub from me. The little boy who is growing in there is AMAZING. He’s unbelievably cute (even more than you can imagine), and smart, and sweet, and funny, and he’s going to make your life so much more complete than you think possible. I know that you’re probably rolling your eyes at the clichés, but it’s true, so cut me some slack. It’s me! (Or you).
Well, I guess I’ll let you get back to whatever you were doing (stop Googling statistics on fetal viability. HE’S FINE). On your lunch break,
run waddle across the street to Old Navy and pick up some pyjama pants. That’s going to be your mat leave wardrobe. Nice, right?
Before I go, I’ll leave you with my top three final pieces of advice:
Everything is going to be okay. It will be amazing. You’ll see.
PS-Oh, I almost forgot. Would you mind please getting an imprint or impression of his hands and feet when he’s born? I forgot to do it, and when he’s eight months old and you’re looking at newborn babies, it will be hard to believe he was ever that small.