A Letter to My Pregnant Friends
Oh, friends. Do you have any idea what you’ve got yourself into?
Probably not, because nobody does.
I’d like to let you in on a few secrets that may help prepare you for the shitstorm that’s about to hit your life. There’s no way we can cover everything you need to know here – and also because I don’t know half the things you need to know – but here are a few of my favourite things you need to know about being a mom that you might not know, or even know that you need to know. Confused? Grab a
glass of wine cup of tea and let’s see what I mean.
- It’s no walk in the park. I can’t stress this enough. Parenting is hard. If you’ve ever had a rabbit or a goldfish or a pet of some kind you will have an inkling of what I’m talking about. The need to be fed, the pissing in random places, the unexplained vomiting, the biting, the chewing, the whining, the constant need for love and attention – it’s all pretty similar. Multiply that by a kajillion and you’ll have a slightly better idea what it’s like being a mom to a human-baby. It’s no walk in the park, it’s a frickin rollercoaster. Every. Damn. Day.
- Don’t panic. Don’t let anyone or anything (especially this post) freak you out about what’s going to happen. At the moment you probably can’t think further than the birth and that’s fine. But if you’re having panic attacks on the enormity of the situation, take comfort in the fact that no matter how many baby books you’ve read, you still have no idea what’s about to hit you. So if you haven’t read any, you’re fine.
- Preggy brain is real. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And that’s a really bad name for it because it extends well into parenthood.
Top tip: if you’ve lost your glasses or your phone or your keys, they might be in the fridge.
- At first, being a mom might not feel natural. Not everyone is a newborn mom. It doesn’t mean you love your child any less. It can just take a bit more time for some of us (me!) to get used to our new identities and feel comfortable in our new roles.
- Remember that everything is a phase. Even though you will want to punch people in the face when they tell you that this too shall pass, they are actually right. The 4am wake ups, the nursing strikes, the flings-and-babyccinos diet – even though at the time it will feel like it is neverending, one day you’ll wake up and realise it’s not happening anymore.
- This applies to the good times too. So don’t pop too much champagne when your baby hasn’t had a snotty nose for a week, you’ve had a shower three days in a row, or your baby stops eating the dog food. It’ll happen again. Especially if you tell someone about it.
Top tip: the first rule of sleeping children is you don’t tell anyone when they’re sleeping. Or else they’ll wake up.
- Don’t be surprised if you hate your partner. There will be times, days even (weeks? months?), when you can’t stand the sight of them. Even if they offer to make you a cup of tea you will have to restrain yourself from throwing it at their heads. This is normal. Useless nipples and all that. You’ll get back to where you were in your relationship, but just a bit different.
- Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. It affects you in ways you won’t believe. If you’ve had a bad night (and probably a bad day too), be easy on yourself. And there comes a point when you shouldn’t be operating the coffee machine let alone driving, so take a taxi.
- Speaking of sleeping, some babies sleep, some don’t. Some catnap for 15 minutes, others nap for four hours. Some sleep through the night at 6 weeks, others sleep through the night at 21. Years. After the fourth trimester you’ll figure out what kind of a kid you were given.
- Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. How you have your baby, how you feed your baby, how your baby sleeps, how you sleep, what you eat, what you do with your partner – ain’t nobody got time for that. In the end, it doesn’t really matter anyway. Nobody gets asked at a job interview how long they breastfed for , and I’m guessing there are many Nobel Prize winners who co-slept, and just as many who didn’t.
- Beware the advice vomit. Any comment you make on the state of your baby or your parenting practices and you will be met with an avalanche of unsolicited but well-meaning though usually not very helpful advice.This post is a prime example of advice vomit. Unfortunately, it is an integral part of the human condition and no one is immune to it. Even me. I’m the worst. Just ignore it, and try not to do it yourself.
- Lean on your mom friends. All your friends, but your mom friends especially. They get the special kind of tired/emotional/frustrated that you’re feeling. Talk to them because they understand. My momsquad have gotten me through many a nappy rash, uncontrollable vomit session, weaning question and just general meltdown. You need mom support. Mothers and mothers-in-laws are (can) be great but nothing beats a momfriend to whinge and wine with.
- Always, always remember that it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to think about putting your kids out with the rubbish (it’s ok to THINK about it, not to DO it – just so we’re clear), it’s ok to feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, it’s ok to curl up in a ball in the bathroom and sob into your vomit-stained dressing gown. It’s ok.
- It’s most definitely ok to ask for help. Ask your partner to take the baby for a walk so you can have some quiet time. Ask your mom to hold the baby so you can have a shower. Ask your mother-in-law to make a lasagne. Ask your bestie to go grocery shopping with you so you don’t feel so alone. Ask, ask, ask. It really does take a village.
You’re not doing it wrong. It’s that hard.
But you’re a superhero, and there’ll be moments scattered throughout each day that will make it all worthwhile.