Dear Pregnant Self,
When people tell you to ‘make the most of the time you have left’ listen to them. From this side of the fence, I wish I’d been lazy. I wish I’d been incredibly lazy. Instead of spending those last few weeks before baby comes working yourself into the ground, exhausting yourself trying to squeeze in copious social meet ups and batch cooking until the freezer screams “no more, I can’t take anymore!”. Just sit. Be still. Enjoy the peace. This time, the precious first few weeks of maternity leave, at home, waiting, do just that, wait. Watch box sets, prepare some meals for the freezer at your leisure, take long baths, read some books. Just enjoy being. Making a celebration cake on the morning of your baby shower (at 39 weeks) is a terrible idea. You’ll break your Kitchen Aid and end up being sent to bed - for a nap and a sob into a cup of tea , in order to regain control of your emotions, before the guests arrive. Just add the cake to the M&S order, nobody will care, least of all you. I thought one day I’d see the funny side. I’m still waiting. Stupid cake.
Labour for you will mean a long few days with little sleep and little food. So, this is your time to prepare yourself. De-stress from work worries and any anxiety, rest, rest, rest. On the other side you’ll be very grateful to yourself for having given yourself that space and time. You won’t care that the rug in the dining room hasn’t been deep cleaned, or that the curtains weren’t rehung - but the ‘gin in a tin’ on arrival home from the hospital will be necessary, so do, do that!
In those first few precious weeks don’t rush. You have nothing to prove to yourself or anyone. You will be a great Mum. Your heart is in the right place and you always try your best. So, don’t rush to join a baby class every day, don’t do your make-up or your hair, ‘let it all hang out’. Enjoy the opportunity to cuddle in your pyjamas for days on end. Don’t fight being at home. Be kind to yourself. You’re facing a huge life change, bigger than you’ve even imagined. Give into it. Enjoy those precious early days, take photos and hibernate with baby. When you Google adoption on day 16 forgive yourself. You’re absolutely right, there should be some sort of Yellow Storage facility for newborns, so you can check them in for a few hours in-order to rest. This service may not (yet) exist, but there’s no shame in asking for help. Be brave, seek help and use the services available to you. The post-natal doula will be a lifeline. Hoorah for a ‘Mother’s Help’.
The first year is going to be a challenge. The hardest task you’ve ever faced. But, in 12 months time, you will be hairier and more disorganised than you ever thought imaginable, but most importantly happier than you ever knew possible. Your little family will become your world and you will feel the best you’ve ever felt in your life.
Remember, “the good, the bad, everything’s a phase” in your best ‘Gandalf’ voice, keep telling yourself “this too shall pass” whenever things feel too much “this too shall pass”. It works and it’s true.
You’ve got this.