Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dear New Mommy- You're Pregnant,

As I've watched my best friend just go through her first pregnancy and give birth to her first baby, I've fielded a lot of questions. I've also smiled to myself over some of her discoveries. And I enjoyed remembering my OWN first go-around with a new baby. I think it would have been helpful to have had, rather than those "how-to" parenting manuals, a letter (or six) from a trusted been-there, done-it woman. Here's what I would write...

Dear New Mommy,

You just found out you're pregnant- congrats!!! Now stop telling people. Seriously. Cherish this joy between you and your husband for just a bit. Everyone else can wait. They'll have MONTHS to be excited for you, trust me.

If you expect to have morning sickness, you'll have it. The mind is a powerful thing and it will absolutely send your body into spontaneous gagging and bouts of nausea. Try not to anticipate it... it may find you anyhow, but don't encourage it.

Indulge yourself a little bit. It's perfectly valid and right for you to enjoy a special treat now and again- maybe more than usual, even. But don't go overboard. It may seem like your "pregnancy privilege" right now, but carrying "baby weight" when your "baby" is running around is not something to look forward to...

Brace yourself-- everyone has an opinion and they'll take your pregnancy as a great excuse to share. You'll hear inappropriate stories ("Oh, my cousin miscarried SIX TIMES!") and receive unsolicited advice ("Make sure you pre-register for the epidural.") Most people will think they're being helpful... very few of them really will be. Learn to smile and nod. It's a skill you'll need again down the road... more on that later.

Ditto for names-- you and your spouse may FINALLY agree that "Matthew Ryan" is the perfect boy name. Think twice before you share it. Or, at least, think carefully about with whom you share it. Here's the deal- people will tell you what they think. And, honestly, what does it matter if they don't like it? They get to name their own kids. People are far less critical of a name once it's been officially assigned to a precious newborn. It seems far more cruel to say to a mommy holding her precious new daughter, "Ew, really? I don't much care for Olivia Rose..."

Get ready to leave your modesty at the doorstep for awhile. For the next several months, more and more people will be exploring you "down there" and the closer you get to your due date, the less you'll care. It doesn't mean you're not a "lady"... it just means you're a lady with a more important agenda right now- bringing a baby into the world.

Don't over-register. There's only so much stuff you really need. You'll wind up overwhelming yourself in the days before your baby is born as you rush around pre-washing every little article in Dreft (which you don't need to buy, by the way) and making up a crib you may very well not use for 3 months.

Nap. Seriously. This is your first baby? When you're not at work, nap. You won't get to do that with your next pregnancy... you'll probably have a toddler or preschooler to care for. So do it. Enjoy it. Relish in it. Laze away your Saturdays.

Don't start wearing maternity clothes when you're 2 months pregnant. Unless, for some odd reason, you actually need them. You probably don't, this being your first pregnancy and all. You just think they're a novelty right now. You'll get sick of them. And then you won't enjoy wearing them when you actually NEED them. So hold out- there's plenty of time for that.

Speaking of maternity clothes- borrow, borrow, borrow if you can. No reason to shell out more than you have to.

And, finally, under no circumstances should you tolerate "couvade" from your husband. This is where he'll have "sympathy symptoms". Now, I love my hubby. I do. Deeply and truly. But he knew darn well that any "nausea" or "aches" or "heartburn" that he felt could and should be dealt with on his own. They're men. They can handle it. ;)

This should serve you fairly well as you embark on your first trimester. I'll be back with more been-there, done-that advice in a couple months...

God Bless.

Your been-there, done-that Mommy friend,

I'll be back with more installments of my "Dear New Mommy," series!

What would you write in a letter to a woman who just found out she's expecting?

p.s. I sure would love a "Dear New Mommy..." button. But I have no skills. Anyone have the time and ability to help me out a bit with that? It'd make my day, I tell ya!


Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free said...

Great tips! Wish I would have known some of those myself the first go around.

Amy @ Finer Things said...

Good stuff! Sure wish I could help you with the button...

Allie Z said...

Hilarious!! I couldn't agree more on more than most of these.

Showers are important to inlaws but don't tell them about the shower (unless you're totally close) until it's been planned to a T.

Inlaws (and moms too) will give such irrelevant advice. Don't believe them. :) What worked for a MIL 30 years ago isn't the gospel today...