LETTER: a direct or personal written or printed message addressed to a person or organization
It’s baby shower season. I can’t help but remember my own days of wide-eyed pregnant bliss. I was sure I knew what was coming. Here’s a letter I wish I’d received in the mail.
You’re pregnant, so you’ve already received countless stories, touches, and suggestions from strangers. I would like to add to your supply of unsolicited advice. You won’t be able to understand or appreciate all of this now, but perhaps some of these pearls of wisdom will come back to you in the midst of active labor or the following sleep-deprived weeks that follow and bring you a little bit of comfort or clarity.
You know that birth plan you’ve been drafting?
Put it in the same category as your third grade “What I want to be when I grow up” essay. You think you don’t want drugs now…but you may end up proposing to your anesthesiologist. You want your partner to encourage you by talking about the generations of women who have taken this journey before you. In the midst of labor, that may be the most annoying phrase you’ve ever heard. You may tell your partner exactly where he can shove those women. Leave room for the unexpected.
You know those breathing techniques you just learned?
Those may not be as helpful as you hope. But, when the moment comes that you realize that “hee-hee-hoo” and ice chips are woefully inadequate for coping with labor, don’t get discouraged. All is not lost. Those breathing techniques will come in very handy for calming yourself and managing pain throughout the toddler years.
You know all that stuff you registered for?
Most of it is silly. Wipe warmers dry out perfectly good wipes. Shoes are for walking. Babies don’t walk. You do the math. That adorable bumper and comforter you just bought? Experts recommend only a sheet to prevent suffocation. The $30 baby bathtub? Two words: kitchen sink. Babies like snuggles, sucking on spoons, and your singing. Skip the gadgets. Keep it simple.
You know how breastfeeding is supposed to be a charming time of bonding?
It can be. It can also be the most excruciating make-you-swear-like-a-trucker pain you’ve ever experienced. There is nothing charming about cracked nipples. Sorry to say it, but someone should. If you use the F-word every time your baby is hungry, something is wrong. Use all that money I saved you on crib bedding and baby shoes to pay for a lactation consultant.
You know how you’ve been complaining about how hard it is to sleep and how you feel tired?
You. Have. No. Idea.
You know how you think you understand the meaning of unconditional love?
Prepare to have your mind blown.
One Who Has Gone Before