Your big news broke yesterday - congratulations! You are about to join the biggest sisterhood on the planet: Motherhood. As an unofficial diplomat for this club, I'd like to welcome you with open arms.
I'd also like to offer you some completely unsolicited advice based on my experience as well as the experiences of my comrades. Motherhood is the great equalizer, and the stripes you earn in battle are well-fought. So after you re-hydrated and stop vomiting, read on for a few helpful tips from your fellow "sisters."
The highs get higher, the lows get lower.
Imagine life as a football field: it's 100 yards from one end of the field to another. Bringing a child into this world simply extends those goalposts. By 50 yards, by 100...by infinity. You will experience some of the best moments of your life when you are a mom, and also experience some of the lowest. Motherhood changes the playing field forever.
I remember when our little Bear was born; I was literally on this 24-hour adrenaline high. I couldn't sleep, couldn't focus, couldn't stop smiling. And then it came crashing down - mainly because no sleep + pushing an 8 1/2 pound bowling ball out of my who-ha = pure exhaustion. The boom came down, and it came down hard. To this day, I don't think I've ever experienced that level of burnout. It took me months to recover because sleep became something of the distant past. Everytime I closed my eyes, the child woke up. Maybe you will get more sleep post-partum than your average new mom, but it's still exhausting. And in terms of lows - when that sweet, cherub faced kid of yours doesn't want to breastfeed or God-forbid bites you...well, it will take everything in your power to not want to run away and/or slam your pretty face into a door. It's mind-numbingly frustrating and makes you realize you have very, very little control in this whole situation.
(I really hope you have a better go with breastfeeding than I did. Regardless, make sure you register for a royal breast pump. Those things are handy.)
As low as these points may be, the highs are even more exhilarating. I remember the first time Scotty fell asleep during SwaddleGate; I almost screamed with joy. Or when my bladder started working again after CatheterGate; I'm fairly confident I heard angels singing that day. Better than that - the day Scotty looked at me with sweet green eyes and clearly said: "Momma." You heart will burst into a million happy pieces. And it will make all of the other crap-filled-Gates worth it.
Everyone has an opinion but yours in the most important.
You have the distinct disadvantage over every other female on this planet in that your bump (and subsequent baby) will be the most talked about pregnancy/birth/upbringing, ever. Even for us commoners, pregnancy means suddenly everyone and their aunt has a comment or question or piece of advice about the on-goings of your uterus. It's annoying when the lady in line with you at the grocery store asks invasive questions, but it's downright offensive when she tells you how to rear your child.
I'm sure you are already there, but with Motherhood comes a million decisions. Breastfeeding v. formula, co-sleeping v. crib, baby-wearing v. stroller. The easiest thing you'll do is decorate a nursery; the hardest will be picking out a preschool. (Okay, that's not necessarily true, but that's what I'm up to at this point.) I recognize that much of our identity as Mothers is wrapped up in the quality of care of our children, which means our very integrity somehow merges into the state of the child. I'll be frank: when the kid acts up, you're going to feel like sh*t. When he or she doesn't sleep, neither will you. God forbid the child gets sick, because it feels like a reflection of you as a mother. I distinctly remember how I fell apart when Scotty had his first ear infection. Clearly, this was a sign of my incompetency as a Mother and my kid drew the short straw of parents. But the good news: you'll get used to feeling like sh*t. Really. And eventually, you'll be able to distance your child's welfare from your personal well-being and feel confident with your parenting decisions. You really do know best, even when it doesn't feel like it. Also, repeat after me: It's good for his immune system...it's good for his immune system...
It goes by so fast.
This is probably the last thing you want to hear right now, especially if you are chained to a hospital bed by your IV and barf bags are littering the floor. Yes, you probably feel like you are never going to feel normal again. One day soon, however, you will wake up to the sound of a crying baby and all of that barfing stuff will feel like nothing more than a bad dream.
It feels like yesterday I was staring at an ultrasound photo with a blobby, Gummi-Bear-esque shape on it. (aha! Now you know how he got his nickname). That little Gummi Bear emerged several short months later as a chubby, screaming, pink potato. The hospital staff inexplicably put a hat on him and all I could think about was the potato is wearing a hat. (The first few moments after childbirth are bewildering. Your brain does very strange things in those moments).
And then just yesterday, our potato wore what equated to a smoking jacket to school. He looked like he was 3 going on 63.
The days may be long, but the years are short. You're going to be so anxious for your bump to finally start showing - and then in a blink of an eye, someone will be yelling at you to push. As dumb and cliched as this sounds, really try to appreciate each day, regardless of the challenges or setbacks. I'm a planner and personally hate living in the moment; I'd much rather live in the future where I have some modicum of perceived control. But Motherhood doesn't work like that; you need to stop, breath, and ask questions. Enjoy the moment; savor it. You won't get it back.
I've finally adjusted and I will admit, the present is quite lovely.
With that said, best wishes, Duchess! You are going to rock this pregnancy. We are all cheering you on. Now, go sip some ginger ale and give your tummy a pat for me. I can't wait to see how you make this look easy.