Congratulations! You are very very pregnant with your first child. I could not be happier for you. I wish that we lived closer so that I could celebrate this new chapter of your life and be with you as you embark. It's more than a new life chapter, actually, it's a whole new version. It's a complete life reboot. You didn't ask for my thoughts on motherhood, but we have been friends for over half our lives, so I think you will be ok with me giving you some thoughts, some advice and some warnings. So here goes, my lovely friend, here goes...
I know you well, so I know that you have rocked pregnancy. Women like us, earthy, hippyish, in touch with our bodies and minds, do pregnancy really well, I think. The set back of aches and pains and mysterious new symptoms don't cause us to spin out in the same way that our more type A counterparts might. I really enjoyed doing all of the super yummy goddess mama stuff that pregnancy magazines and strangers in the grocery store encouraged me to do, and I'm sure that you did too. You went to pregnancy yoga, I'm sure that you played your belly music and talked and sang to your belly. You probably belly danced, and I know that you had your belly painted and blessed. Hopefully you squeezed in some epic prenatal massages and some prenatal poses to get that baby in the right position. You've drank some tea, you've stretched, you've oiled, you've partied and you've nested. You have your doula and midwives on call and you are ready to bring that little soul into the world in the comfort of your living room (that's right...home birth style) perhaps in an awesome inflatable pool or your bath tub. You are a warrior! You are a goddess! You are magical and I hope it all happens as smoothly as possible...but incase it doesn't...that's OK too.
With my first son, Cylas, I was so prepped for the natural, home birth experience. We chose a birthing center in Silverlake that was so cozy and earthy and sweet, I just knew that Cylas would love being born there. He didn't. He wouldn't come out. I was in labor there (and at home) for days and finally 68 hours later he was born in the hospital with the help of pitosin, an epidural, and three hours of pushing. I don't tell you any of this to scare you or to dissuade you, I tell you to prepare you. With babies, things don't always go as planned. That is the one thing you can count on.
|Cylas first night at home|
And that is OK! I thought I knew exactly what being a mom would be like. I'd been a nanny or worked with babies and kids in different capacities for so long, I thought I knew everything. I didn't. I still don't and now I have two kids. The best advice that anyone gave me about parenting was delivered to me on a bench in Central Park by my dear friend Jenn Marie, who was then three or so months pregnant with her second son. I was seven months pregnant with my first. Her first was napping in a near bye hotel room while her parents babysat, a luxury she was lucky to have on this working trip for her to meet her editor in NY. Eric and I were there on a "baby moon" I guess and just living it up before our party was about to be crashed by our tiny new roommate. Jenn said simply "You must let go of any notion that your life will not have to change completely. Your life will NEVER be the same." I understood instantly what she meant because I was still holding on to the notion that some things wouldn't need to change. Eric and I would still be the loving supportive couple that we had always been. We could still be laid back and spur of the moment, we'd just bring our little dude along for the adventure. Mornings could still be lazy, we could still go out to dinner or on a quick Costco shop whenever we wanted, we'd just bring the baby. He was small, portable, and ours and he would fit into our lives if we made him. Once he arrived, we quickly realized how many of those things just weren't possible, or fun to do with a newborn. They required planning around naps, or feedings or diaper changes. We still did a lot of stuff, but we did it differently. Life changed. It had too. And that was sad, sometimes, and fine sometimes. It was OK.
|Cylas has always had great hair. Check out his big head!|
|"Can someone bring me a snack?!?"|
|Eric and Cylas right before we left the hospital|
And if it is all doesn't seem OK, then really ask for help. Ask your doctor. Postpartum Depression is real and serious and I feel really lucky that I didn't really struggle with it either time. But I know Mamas who have, and it is nothing to be ashamed of or secretive about. I also encapsulated my placenta because I've heard that helps keep the blues at bay. You know me, girl, I'm game for anything earth mama-ish. Maybe it helped, maybe it did nothing, but I felt good about it, and I liked grossing out my sister a little. I also liked that the midwife who made the capsules for me also dried his umbilical cord which I plan to plant under a tree in our yard someday. You know, when I have some spare time again.
I hope I haven't made it all sound too horrible. It isn't. It is wonderful! Despite a broken tail bone, a vaginal tear (of yeah girl, that can happen) and raging hormones that occasionally made me hate my mate, those first few months as a new family were some of the best months of my life. So much so that I wanted to do it all over again. And now I have two little men and I want more! I'm so jealous of you and excited for you that you will soon get to experience holding that new little wee one and feel all the crazy feelings of excitement and awe and mind blowing LOVE. It is life changing...Life defining. She will be your most fabulous, gorgeous, educational, project. Get ready to meet your new life pArtner. You are a wonderful, smart, brave and talented woman and are going to be an amazing Mama. She is one lucky little baby. I can't wait to meet her. I can't wait to see pictures. I can't wait to hear about all the amazing things that she will do. Call me anytime and often. I'm here. So are your friends and family. We are your village, both near and far. Congratulations again, sweet friend. Your life is about to get even better.
P.S. More unsolicited advice: Get a big water bottle that you can easily drink out of with one or no hands. When you nurse, you get very thirsty and your hands are often occupied in holding the baby. Wear that baby. Let her sleep on you. They love it and then you aren't stuck laying down. You can gently move around and use your arms. You can even nurse while you're wearing her. It's tricky, but if you can figure it out, it's awesome. I liked the solly wrap and the moby wrap and once he got a little bigger I loved the ergo. People here love Tulas. There's a whole cultish following of Tula converted carriers and they cost hundreds and people collect them. It's wild. There's a book and a short educational film by a pediatrician called Dr. Karp called "The Happiest Baby on the Block" that is about a five step technique for calming a crying baby that is awesome and really worked for my littles. Swaddling works. She might fight you a little but it really seems to calm babies. It's one of Dr. Karp's five techniques. Don't overdue it. Fight the urge (if you feel it) to jump back into your busy pre-baby life as fast as you can. She will only be this little for a second. Before you know it, she will be crawling and then walking and then going off to pre-school. If you can, just stay at home and stare at her. It's worth it. I swear. Breast milk is magic. So is coconut oil. Put them on her skin. Put them on yours.
|Having a baby was so nice, we did it twice. Aaron's first night home from the hospital|