Right about now, you’re probably really uncomfortable. Your belly itches, and you have to pee. I know that because that’s pretty much how you felt for the entire nine months of this pregnancy. You’re probably also in panic mode because that’s how you spent most of it, too.
You’re so worried that something is going to go wrong, that everything is going to go wrong, that you’re having trouble relaxing. Will you be a good mom? Will you know how to change a diaper properly? Will you know how to calm a crying baby at 3 a.m.? Will your baby actually make it into this world and be healthy?
Step 1: Relax
OK, first things first: Breathe.
Baby will be fine. Actually, he will be more than fine. He will be perfect. In fact, he’ll be the most perfect thing you’ve ever seen in your whole life.
As for the rest? It will be OK, I promise. But I’ll get back to that in a minute. I want to talk to you about something else first.
You’ve been so worried about the big things that you’re forgetting about the small ones. And the small ones add up to the big ones because this is a life we’re talking about here. Not just his life — your life, too. You’ve forgotten you in this whole equation. You need to fix that so you can start out this whole motherhood thing on the right foot and make things as awesome as possible for you, your family, and your little one (that last part got your attention, I know).
Step 2: Enjoy
So, little thing #1: I wish that this letter functioned like an actual time machine because I would go back in time and make you take more pictures of your big ol’ pregnant belly. You didn’t document it nearly enough. You were worried that you would jinx things if you took too many pictures. You felt bloated and fat. You felt tired and unattractive. You had a weird dark line going down the center of your belly.
Every stage of your pregnancy is a wonderful moment in time that you can never get back. Believe it or not, you’ll look at those pictures with nostalgia, and your little boy will be endlessly fascinated with them. (He’ll say, “That’s me in your belly?!”) Also, your belly is the perfect size, and you look great. Just take the picture, already.
Incidentally, the same holds true for when your baby is born. Make sure that you’re in those pictures, no matter how sleep deprived you are, or how awkward and shy you feel when breastfeeding. Those moments are priceless. They’re yours, and they will mean the world to you and your child someday.
Step 3: Don’t forget to take care of you
And now for the really practical stuff: Get some cute, sensible shoes before baby arrives. You won’t have time when he’s here, and your sneakers will make you look like a soccer mom before your time. Not that there’s anything wrong with soccer moms, but why can’t they wear cute shoes? And try not to be too horrified, but the gorgeous, expensive heels that you swore you’d still wear are going to collect dust in your closet. Sorry.
Also, be vigilant about your skin care. You need to wear a serious sunscreen and moisturizer every single day. I know, I know — you’ve always been really on top of this, but once baby arrives, you won’t think you have the time for more than the most minimal self-care. Even a few months of neglect can do irreparable damage to your skin, and that’s silly. Take the 15 seconds to slather on some products, and put on a hat in the summer.
On another random note: Stop watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” medical documentaries, and
“Aliens.” Nothing good can come of this when you’re pregnant. Trust me.
But aside from that sage advice, which is OK to take because it’s from me — er, you — take all other advice with a grain of salt. You’ll have so much advice by the end of this pregnancy, you’ll have enough salt to line every single margarita glass in Cancun during spring break. By all means, hear out your family and friends, read the books and take the classes, but remember that it’s all opinion — no matter how sure of themselves the opinion givers sound (except for the CPR class, which is invaluable). Don’t worry, though: You’ll pick and choose from that information and figure out what’s right for you and your baby.
The only other opinion that really matters is your husband’s. And speaking of him … it’s going to be a little rocky for a while, I’m not going to lie. This is what you need to remember to make things go a bit more smoothly:
He is not a mind reader. To be fair, you had this problem before, but you had really hoped that he would’ve acquired some psychic skills while you were growing a freaking human being in your body. Um, he didn’t. Talk to him about what you expect. Ask for what you need. It’s not terribly romantic, but that’s marriage.
He’s the dad. He not only should help, he wants to help. You are not in this by yourself. So, take that shower, take that nap, and take a step back and watch just how awesome your boys are together. It really is something to behold.
A final note
So, now that we’ve gotten that taken care of, let’s get back to those overarching worries: the things that you’re worried you’re going to screw up royally.
You won’t. Really. All of that worry just shows that you desperately want to do right by your little one and give him the best start possible in life. If you weren’t worried, I’d be worried!
Oh, sure, you’ll make some mistakes and you’ll end up with pee and poo all over you at some point, but the big stuff? You’ll figure it out. You’ll love your baby more than you can even fathom. That love will change your life, give you newfound perspective, and guide you toward making the right decisions because you will have his best interests at heart. Always.
I have so much more to say, but in the interest of letting you get a little sleep (since you won’t be getting much of that soon), let me sum this up: Please, try to relax. Try to enjoy the wonder of the pregnancy: those little kicks, that ridiculously round basketball belly, and the feeling of closeness to your baby, even when you’re feeling miserable and swollen. Try to be present. And above all, trust that you will rock this whole motherhood thing. Because you’re going to be a great mom. In fact, you already are.
Dawn Yanek lives in New York City with her husband and their two very sweet, slightly crazy kids. Before becoming a mom, she was a magazine editor who regularly appeared on TV to discuss celebrity news, fashion, relationships, and pop culture. These days, she writes about the very real, relatable, and practical sides of parenting at momsanity.com. Her newest baby is the book “107 Things I Wish I Had Known with My First Baby: Essential Tips for the First 3 Months.” You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.