Dear Expectant First Time Mother,
You look so sweet, all well-rested and eager! I’ll bet you’ve registered for every fancy gizmo and gadget out there for your soon-to-be arriving little bundle of joy. The baby monitor is all set up and the bottle nipples have been sterilized twice. Your hospital bag sits by the door and you are counting down the days until you sit in your newly purchased glider with a fresh baby in your arms.
You’ve no doubt heard an abundance of advice from every person you’ve crossed paths with since you announced your pregnancy, and the advice has only just began. I suggest you don’t listen to any of it at all. Except the advice I offer, of course. And my advice today is simple: Don’t be a hero. Milk the remainder of your pregnancy and milk your delivery. It’s the end of an era.
The last few weeks of your pregnancy represent the last time in your life when your world revolves around you. People dash to the phone when they see your number on the caller ID. Your husband doesn’t get annoyed if you call him during a business meeting. The food cravings you’ve had your whole life are suddenly acceptable and people will make every effort to meet them. Strangers hold doors for you and give you seats and sympathetic glaces. Enjoy them!
Once you are a mother, nobody takes care of you. Mothers don’t get sick days and mothers don’t get sympathy; we’re too busy taking care of everybody else. This is it. This is the end of your time to wallow and whine and expect anyone to give a shit. And, they will give a shit, because you’re having a baby! Prop your feet up, demand that they be rubbed and ask for a cup of tea. Set a timer, even. Go, baby-daddy, go!
If you plan on getting an epidural (which I highly recommend, unless having your vagina ripped apart is your idea of a good time,) and are lucky enough to experience a pain-free birth, lie. There is simply no reason for your husband to know just how void of agony the whole experience has been. You lose major bargaining points if, in the future, you can’t reference just how horrid delivering his child was. When I roll my eyes at my husband’s complaints over a cold and scream, “BUT I BIRTHED THREE BABIES!!!” he can turn around and retort, but you were in no pain! You had the best drugs of your life! You loved delivering them! And, he’s right. But, goddamnit, he shouldn’t know that.
If you have a natural birth (God love you,) or a C-section, milk that recovery. There is time to be a hero, but this isn’t it. Stay in the hospital until they kick you out; it’s a pleasure cruise compared to what’s waiting for you at home. The next breakfast in bed you dine on will be lovingly prepared by your children and completely inedible. Your husband can fetch you some fresh squeezed orange juice and a muffin. Make him. Watch lots of TV, read a book, talk on the phone. Most of all, just lie back in bed, cuddle your baby and make the world come to you. You deserve it.
Motherhood ain’t easy, so make this brief period of time as enjoyable as you can. You’ll never regret it.
Best of Luck,