For My Pregnant Friend

A friend of mine, who in some ways I know very well and in some ways I do not know at all, told me recently she was pregnant and, since she is north of forty, scared.

You have an incredibly useful skill set for parenthood already, believe me, a career that involves assessing people, judging mood, figuring out how to frame a question. Are you kidding me? Your daughter is this little bundle of human mystery for you to figure out and you are pretty much better at doing that than most people on the planet.

After birth: Don't let fear get the better of you. I really did in my first pregnancy, and the fear really spiralled in the face of sleep deprivation. Your first priority, more than anything else, is for you to sleep and you can only do this if you sleep when the baby sleeps. Screw everything else.

Birth: I had a 39 hour premature labor with baby one and a 40+ hour induced labor hell with baby two. They wouldn't have been as bad if I wasn't beating up on myself so badly for succumbing to an epidural. You and I have climbed mountains together, friend, and maybe you will give birth in a pool after ten minutes with birds singing but if you don't and you go for pain relief, then forgive yourself instantly.

I found baby prep here to be ridiculously, religiously dogmatic. There were two religions: the Gina Ford super nanny uber-discipline church and the hairy legged breast-feed, natural childbirth, prenatal yoga -or-the-baby-will-be-crap church.

Luckily you are an intelligent person and you will not swallow either dogma as an article of faith but rather use your own judgment to add weapons to your arsenal in the parenthood wars from both religions. Rely on your own judgment, it has not yet steered you wrong, has it?

Enjoy and remember that if the mama isn't happy, then no one is happy.


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