Saturday, May 30, 2015

Relax: 10 Things NOT To Do Before Baby Arrives

Browsing Pinterest today, my irritation grew with every article titled “Must-dos Before Baby” or “Baby Gear Must-Haves.”  Outside of your doctors’ directions (by the way, please listen to your doctor), there is nothing you must do to have a happy, healthy baby.

But I didn’t know that.
I’m kind of ashamed of the thinking that devoured my normal senses during my first pregnancy.  More regretful than ashamed, I suppose, for all of the self-imposed stress and worry.  Reading baby product reviews was my new anxiety-inducing addiction.  It was ridiculous.   
Our baby showed up a month early, which happened to be a day after this photo.

Then, my daughter surprised us by debuting a month early, and I couldn’t complete my pre-babe project check-list.  What happened?  We had a beautiful, feisty baby doll anyway.

This second pregnancy is cake compared to number one.  Mostly because number one keeps me way too distracted and entertained to worry.

So here’s my list.  Please, mama, please… stop worrying about these things…

10) Getting plenty of sleep while you can.         

Why do so many people say this?  I always wanted to reply, “You know it doesn’t work that way, right?”  You’re tired now and you’ll be tired, then.  Just keep reminding yourself, it’s only a phase.  J

9) Collecting clothes.

People will give you soooo many clothes.  Plus, for the first two months, I was too tired to dress up myself, much less the baby, to go anywhere.  After your baby shower, stock up on a few cheap onesies and sleepers, maybe a little something for first pictures, and call it a day.  My kiddo didn’t even have a “going home outfit!” I know… gasp!  Now that I think of it… nor did I ever order those first day hospital pictures… oops.

8) Decorating the Nursery.

Let’s be honest.  Decorating the nursery is more for your benefit than baby’s.  Proof: the blank walls and half-started Pinterest decorations hanging out in my toddler’s closet.  Pretty sure it would actually just give my sleep-hater one more way to distract herself instead of going to sleep.  If you’re enjoying it, have a ball.  If not, just quit.  I give you permission.

7) Finding exercises to make labor go faster.

Exercise during pregnancy is fantastic, but end the stress over that online daily dose of some upside-down, sideways concocted mojo to make baby magically show up lickety-split.  I walked… some.  Baby girl made it out before the doctor even arrived, so good thing I didn’t beef up those pushing muscles too much. J

6) Perfecting the packed hospital bag...

…or pre-packing one at all.  Here’s how my hospital bag got packed: I yelled at asked my husband to Google “what to pack for the hospital” while I curled up into another contraction.  He did just fine.

5) Stressing over the registry.

Some of the best advice I got was to try a few different types of the basics: onesies, sleepers, burp rags, pacifiers.  My discontent little sweetie didn’t give a rip how many people gave our swing or the baby carrier five stars.  The wipe warmer really did work wonders for my winter baby.  Each baby is different, and you’ll have to see what gear baby likes best.

4) Reading birth stories.

This practice should be BANNED.  My biggest mistake was reading birth stories one afternoon.  Holy smokes.  Here’s a little gift of truth:  people only write their birth story online if it was a crazy, traumatic experience.  You’ll do great, and worrying won’t make it better or worse.

3) Finalizing the birth plan.

Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose how your body reacts to labor.  Educate yourself about what to expect.  Decide if you’d like an epidural (but don’t even get hung-up on that… I’ll end that rant now before it gets started).  Please, do not be disappointed in yourself because you couldn’t have a “dream” delivery.  However you get a baby out of your body should be applauded!  Prepare your mindset for “if I have choices, this would be my ideal, but I’m good with whatever I need to do to keep everyone healthy.”

2) Embracing a parenting style.

Here’s my conclusion: your baby’s style dictates your parenting style.  I heard how following a strict schedule created the perfect baby, and how “I just let them make their own schedule” led to sound sleep for all.  We call these parents: very blessed.  Nothing I tried created a good sleeper… and I felt like a failure for a long time.  Looking back, I finally figured out what was wrong with her: she was a BABY.  Sometimes, they don’t sleep.  I genuinely believe we did the best for her, but she still didn’t sleep.  My high-strung baby is now a social, energetic handful who cracks me up every day… and still keeps me on my toes.

1) Getting stressed by my advice.

If you have indeed been stressing over the registry, and 1) I’ve made you feel guilty because you know you shouldn’t, or 2) the idea of abandoning it stresses you even more, by all means, stress over the registry.  Don’t let my advice or anyone else’s guilt you.  Take it all in, file in the back of your mind, and pull out what works for you and your family when you need it. 

In my slightly-delirious, post-delivery state, sleep evaded me for fear that she'd stop breathing and I'd miss it.  Praying that God would take my worries away was all I had left.  And He did... every time I asked.

Relax.  Be proud of how hard you’re trying because you care so much.  Good luck, mama!  It’s hard; really, really hard.  I won’t even tell you that it’s allll worth it in an attempt to console your complaints - because you already know that.  When he or she arrives, complain, love on your baby, and feel good about what you’re doing.


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