How excited are you? And nervous? And anxious? And just…curious?! As you get ready for your new arrival, you will probably be inundated with advice, information, and personal anecdotes galore. Just remember that while some of this advice is well-meaning, most of it is probably unsolicited, and all of it is personal.
So, while I promise to be a shoulder to cry on if you need it, a person to laugh with when things get crazy, an ear to listen when you feel discouraged, and a person with whom you can share both frustrations and accomplishments, there is one person I will try not to be: the know-it-all.
I may have four kids, but I definitely don’t have all the answers, or any of them, if I’m honest. What can I expect during labor? I’ve had short and long ones, unmedicated and medicated, early and late arrivals. When do babies sleep through the night, cut the first tooth, crawl, walk, talk? I’ve had kids that hit milestones early and those that have needed special services to help them along. What do I need for a new baby? I have things that have worked for some of my kids and things that haven’t. Products we’ve needed and those we’ve never touched. Schools that work for us, programs we’ve enjoyed, and those we haven’t. Basically, all I have are our experiences…and since you and I are different people, and our kids are different too, I’m sorry to say that I can’t help that much.
But the good news is that you will figure out what works for you. It’s trial and error. Beyond caring for what is safe for you and your child, there is no right or wrong way to do things.
I recently attended the baby shower of one of my oldest childhood friends. It reminded me that even though every baby is a reason for celebration, there is no anticipation like that surrounding the arrival of your first baby. As I sat there, I remembered the excitement of what it would mean to be a parent, to change those little diapers, bathe those little toes, snuggle an infant in those lovingly handmade blankets. Even though I have a 6-month-old, I still felt nostalgic seeing all those brand new baby clothes and accessories. How is it that newborns are really that small? I feel like I’ve already forgotten.
It was a wake-up call for me. After four kids, I sometimes feel cynical. I find myself often jokingly telling a new parent they’ll never sleep again, that alone time doesn’t exist, that they’ll never need even a quarter of the new gear they’ve registered for.
But I don’t want to be that parent anymore. I don’t know how I got into the cynical habit, but I’m pulling myself back out of it.
I don’t need to be the know-it-all because I really DON’T know it all.
Even though I know now that every moment with a new baby isn’t all snuggles and kisses, those special moments definitely exist – moments of awe, and quiet, and wonder that any person could ever be that small and loved by you that much.
I want you to have your excitement, your wonder, even your doubt as you enter the season of motherhood. It is the most special time for you and your baby, and I have to say I’m a little jealous of your new beginning.
So remember, I’m an open book if you need me. But I promise not to spoil your excitement for the journey ahead of you.
A Sister Mom