Monday, March 18, 2013

Is This Your First Time?

If you're a mom, you've been there. Whether you gained your baby through childbirth or adoption, there was a time when you had a bag packed and sitting by the door, an anticipatory car seat installed in a mini-van, and a crib all freshly made awaiting a tiny tot.

I am by no means a veteran mom. After all, I'm still raising mine. However, I am done with my childbearing stage. Done with the newborn stage. My youngest will toddle soon, and the rest, as you know, is history.

I LOVE seeing first time mommies prepare. I love looking back on my own expectancy with my first baby and remembering the excitement that you only feel that first time. I also love the look on their faces when they talk about how much longer it is until they hold their miracle in their arms. It's a look of both fatigue and rejuvenation-- of both dread and excitement-- of emotion and expectation that you only possess that first time around.

It's been many moons since my bag was packed for that first labor and delivery. A long time since I felt that initial gasp. Many sleepless nights since the car seat was filled the first time. But you know what? It's as fresh on my mind as it was almost a decade ago. And the lessons just keep on coming.

There's alot of expectant mommies around me right now. So many births to look forward to. So many sweet faces to see for the first time soon. So many miracles to celebrate. I can't wait to watch their lives unfold-- both the child and the mommy who is born that day, too. So, to all you soon-to-be-moms-for-the-first-time, here's a little advice from my heart to yours. (And all you other BTDT moms, feel free to add your advice on here or on this link when it's posted on Facebook!)

1- You will never feel this way again. Yes, you'll feel JUST as excited the second or tenth time around. But this is your FIRST time. And you'll never ever feel the excitement over the great unknown you're about to enter ever again. Soak up the innocence and naivety of this moment. It's precious and it will soon be over.

2- You will feel a wave of panic you've never felt when you hear the doctor/midwife/nurse say, "You're ready." It's ok. The panic will pass and you'll survive.

3- You will pack the bag with every little thing you think you'll need. You'll have the cutest nursery in the world for baby to come home to. You'll have every bell, whistle, and accessory known to man. But you'll soon figure out you have NO IDEA what you're doing. It's ok.

4- You're about to learn the literal meaning of "love hurts."

5- Your body will never feel the same way ever again, even when you lose the baby weight and get back down to three pounds smaller than before you birthed. And you won't really be able to figure out what the heck is different. You'll weigh the same or less than before you conceived but your clothes will never fit the same way again. File this mystery with where missing socks go, who killed JFK, and what the heck it is about a sign saying paint is wet that makes us want to touch it.

6- You will cry for no reason after that baby gets here. And you will suddenly understand why people go so over the edge about their opinions on vaccines, gun control, and helmet laws.

7- You'll second guess yourself for a couple of weeks-- is she too cold? Is she hungry? Is she in pain? But trust me. Soon, you'll hear her say, "EH," and you'll know-- oh, she has an ear infection in her left ear and she wants Goldfish crackers. Just. By. That. Sound.

8- Rarely anything is as scary as it seems. This includes the first fever of 104, poop that oozes out of his onesie, and the terrible barking cough.

9- You will soon hear people say, "I'm tired," after working a long week of work, and you'll fight the urge to laugh uncontrollably and punch them in the face at the same time. Because you know what you do when you're a mom and you're "tired"? You keep going. And you drink coffee. Or Monster.

10- You will get why people take their kids to Target in their pajamas and with their faces crusted with baby food and dried milk.

11- Your husband is capable of WAY more than you give him credit for. Trust him. Rely on him. Use him. And thank him. Oh, and don't feel the LEAST bit guilty for leaving Little Sunshine with him for a day or an evening out. Or two.

12- You will not scar your child by letting him stay at Grandmas or Aunt Helen's for a night. He won't forget who you are. And trust me. There will come a day when you'll HOPE he forgets you're his mom- like when he acts like scorpions are attacking him in Publix because you said he can't have a cookie.

13- He/she won't be perfect. And no matter what you dress him/her in for the day, chances are the outfit will be forever destroyed by vomit, a juice spill, or pizza grease. So, enjoy it the first time he wears it because it may be the only time.

14- Things can be replaced. This includes but is not limited to: carpet with red punch poured on it, couches bearing purple handdrawn dinosaurs, purses that bottles get spilled in and you didn't know until it was soured and/or moldy, and cell phones dropped in toilets. And yes, your perfect newborn will grow to be a toddler who WILL do one of the above.

15- You'll feel like you're treading water and drowning at least three times in the first month. We all survived. And you will, too.

16- You'll say, "What's wrong?" alot to your baby. And he won't answer. Sucks.

17- You'll rejoice because your 3 week old slept all night. She may even do it until she's 3 months old. But wait for it. She will change the game up. I promise. Sorry to bear bad news. But just expect it. Again-- sucks.

18- The first time she does sleep all night, you will awaken from your own sleep by the sun peeking in your window and you will totally freak with panic and run like the speed of light into her room to make sure she's breathing. She will be. And you'll rejoice at the major victory of a good night's sleep by calling every one you know and making it your Facebook status.

19- You'll also desperately need a nap by noon.

20- You'll soon understand why Redbox and Netflix were created... For parents of babies. Because all your non-parenting friends will be over there like, "Heyyyy, we just saw Twilight part 10 in the theatre," and you'll be like, "Heyyyyy, I watched part 3 on DVD from Redbox last night because going to the movies would require a sitter who can speak colic, the strength for me to shower before 4 pm, and timing the movie to be home in time to do my favorite thing in the world--- PUMP!"

21- You just THINK you liked date night before a baby. Muahahahaha! That was called "Every day it's possible." Now, date nights are revered, looked forward to, and treated like the Holy Grail of your month. Suck the life out of each one of them.

22- You'll check your phone every 3.2 minutes on date night to make sure the sitter hasn't 911'd you and your phone failed. I promise you won't even look at it by the time child 2 comes around. You may even put it on silent.

23- Remember all those time you said, "When I have kids, I will..." or "MY kids aren't gonna be allowed to..."??? Yeaaaaah. Whatever.

24- You'll start liking your mom a whole lot more and will often BEG for her forgiveness for your own childhood debacles.

25- You'll feel like Mother's Day was created just for you. And you will beam with pride from sun up to sun down that first Mother's Day. (You'll be awake for both).

And the most important one--
26- You'll wash. Pack. Plan. Read. Theorize. Anticipate. Imagine. Study. Learn. Prepare. Organize. Paint. Create. All to get ready for his arrival. You won't be ready. You won't have thought of it all. There isn't a birth plan or an expert on the globe to mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually prep you for the trek you're embarking on. So just go with it. Let the chips fall where they may. Ask for wisdom from God, your mom, your sister, and your own heart. 99% of the time, you'll figure out what to do.

And that other 1%? That part is what makes life so interesting.

Congratulations, Momma. Enjoy the ride!

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