If you are close to your due date, chances are that someone or perhaps everyone seems to be asking you this question. But how really does anyone prepare for a new baby?
To me preparing for a new baby is much like getting ready for a trip to a foreign country.
You read the travel books. (AKA the mountains of baby books you have likely started to accumulate.)
You talk to other people who have been to that country. (AKA you talk to friends who have already had kids)
Maybe you even take a class in the foreign language so that you’ll be able to say a few words when you arrive. (AKA you take the breastfeeding class or a class on how to sooth your baby)
You get everything in order… passport, insurance, suitcases packed, airline tickets booked, hotel reservations made. (AKA you choose a doctor or midwife, you shop, you create a nursery, you take a childbirth class, you pack your hospital bag)
You dream about the exciting wonderful experiences you’ll have. (AKA you dream of your baby smiling up at you with love in their eyes, cooing and doing all the cute things that babies do.)
AND THEN YOU ARRIVE…
And of course it’s nothing quite like you imagined… some moments of course are, but much of your experiences simply could not have been predicted by anyone…
You get lost, you miss your bus, you accidentally insult someone because you don’t know the culture, you struggle to remember the foreign language phrases, which you learned. You’re tired and jet-lagged and nothing is familiar.
Similarly a new baby can overwhelm you with sheer “different-ness”. Life is simply not the same.
Your baby cries, cries and cries some more. You’re sleep deprived. Your baby does NOT sleep in the car seat as everyone predicted. Breastfeeding is not as straight-forward as you thought. It turns out your baby is totally different than your friend’s baby and those things that worked with her baby, just don’t work with your little one. You get confused. You don’t realize that babies can get over-tired, you’re not sure why they are crying and the list goes on…
But there is always that silver lining. The great little café that you found down that side street, the street festival you weren’t expecting and a collection of experiences so enticing that you even contemplate planning another trip.
As it is too with a new baby – there are wonderful moments and deep feelings that make it all worthwhile. The peacefulness that envelope you as your baby sleeps in your arms. How you could just look into that little face for HOURS. The funny face that you made that kept her laughing and laughing and the sound was so gorgeous that you just kept doing it again and again. . That feeling that you didn’t really know how deep love went until you had your baby.
Ps. This blog post was inspired by Yolanda Hansen and Evan during my weekly mom and baby yoga. The class always starts with a discussion and this week’s topic was about being prepared for change. Yolanda came up with this analogy and I loved it. Having been a foreign country traveler ever since I journeyed to Mexico at 16, I couldn’t have come up with a better parallel myself, and I hope you liked it as much as me.
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