Prepping for a Baby? Keep These Things in Mind
Congratulations! You’re having a baby! And luckily you have nine months to get yourself ready for the life altering experience that is parenthood. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you kick that fourth trimester in the butt.
We Talk About the Bad More than the Good
Have you ever announced your pregnancy only to hear horror stories from the already parents in the crowd? The experience has left you feeling like you are on a nine month long upward climb of a roller coaster and you suddenly have an urge to get off? Yeah, parents probably have one of the worse recruitment techniques in history. But while they lament the bad stuff, the sleepless nights, the blow outs, and the screaming fits, they tend to gloss over the good stuff. And there’s a lot of really good stuff that’s almost always swept under the rug.
When you are in those moments of “oh dear, what have I done,” remind yourself of this quote from Rob Delaney’s memoir A Heart That Works: “Whenever someone tells me they’re expecting their first baby and they’re nervous, I tell them the following: ‘oh my goodness, that’s wonderful. I am so happy for you. Listen, of course you’re nervous but here’s the deal: you’re ready for all the bad stuff. You’ve been very tired before. You’ve been in pain before. You’ve been worried about money before. You’ve felt like an incapable moron before. So you’ll be fine with all the difficult parts! You’re already a pro. What you’re NOT ready for is the wonderful parts. NOTHING can prepare you for how amazing this will be. There is no practice for that.’”
Let’s Talk Stuff
It’s easy to get swept up in the idea of having a Pinterest perfect nursery. But the truth is most of that stuff will be covered in vomit in a few months anyway. While you should get a safe space for the baby to sleep—a crib or a bassinet, a safe, unexpired car seat, and a stroller—a lot of the baby things you need will be revealed to you as you get to know your baby. So don’t stress about getting a perfect nursery all set up beforehand. Because that $200 baby swing? Your baby might hate it. Or it might be the only thing that soothes their colic. You just don’t know.
To limit the thousands of dollars spent on trial and error, consider joining your local Buy Nothing group. Or see if there’s a parent group or organization in your neighborhood. Knowing someone who is about six months ahead of you is key as they’ll be able to offload their baby stuff to you. Suddenly if the baby swing your baby hates was free, the sting of having it collect dust in the corner doesn’t hurt as bad.
Plus once you get locked in on a baby hand me down train, you’ll never need to buy clothing again. It will just appear in your house and if you are lucky, you’ll unpack it in time for it to fit.
Postpartum Health is Important
As you lead up to the baby being born, you’ll be seen by a doctor on a weekly basis. After that baby pops out, your doctor will tell you to get rest (ha!) and then scram. Never to be seen again. Ok, we might be overly dramatic here but you will only receive one postpartum visit post baby, which is, frankly, not enough. So it’s a good idea to read up on postpartum depression and anxiety and be ready to advocate for your health.
Remember that in an airplane emergency, you are told to put on your mask first before helping others. This is also true in terms of caring for your baby – you have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of your baby. You can’t pour for an empty cup, as much as our current healthcare system would like mothers to believe that they can.
Congratulations on one of the most exciting and challenging times of your life. This will be an incredible journey for you and your partner. Take a deep breath—you got this.