When you are pregnant, people love to tell you stories. Often it’s their story of labour/delivery or the early weeks with a newborn. Sometimes they tell other people’s stories. These stories are usually said with a tone of voice filled concern and warning. I remember the day before I went into labour, when speaking about how close I was to giving birth, a lady gave me a look of fear and said that she did not envy me having been there herself. And then on that same day, another lady pulled me aside and shared what someone said to her when she was about to have her first child. She will never forget being close to her delivery date and a woman telling her that what she was about to experience was so wonderful that she’d gladly go through labour FOR HER. Now that’s something that you don’t hear every day! And again, on the day before labour, a different lady (with two grown children) said to me that she and so many other women were jealous of what I was about to experience. Jealous? Labour + delivery + early weeks with a newborn? Again, a type of comment that I wasn’t used to hearing.
So here I am now. Almost 7 weeks out from my labour + delivery experience. I no longer have a newborn but a baby. This is my letter to anyone getting close to their due date.
Dear pregnant lady,
I am so excited for you! Yes, labour + delivery hurts but it’s only for a short time (less than a day). You can do it and it really will be so worth it. My mother’s motto came in handy, “short term pain for long term gain”. It’s the one time you go through physical pain and get the greatest reward at the end of it all.
It’s okay if you see your baby, love them, but don’t feel an overwhelming rush at that time. You just gave birth! You are likely exhausted and sore in a way you’ve never been before. Give it time. They are cute but you just met.
Be prepared to get help for post-partum depression if you need it (the sooner the better!) but it may not happen to you. Given my bent towards anxiety, I expected to have the baby blues or post-partum depression in the early weeks and was totally surprised not to (PP depression can hit anytime in the first year so I don’t assume I’m in the clear forever). To my surprise, I cried tears of joy and overwhelming gratitude in those early days (and had one of those moments this morning!).
I’m only 7 weeks in with our baby girl and I feel sad that those early weeks with a newborn are over. Isn’t that crazy? Sure, I still miss sleep and my independence, but those early weeks were more wonderful than I ever expected. I guess planning for the worst (I read a lot of stories of accounts re: life with a newborn) set me up to be pleasantly surprised. I thought the early weeks were something to endure. In my experience, they were so precious and something to cherish! This coming from a previously non-baby person.
Again, I’m so excited for what you are about to experience! Yes, having a baby is hard but it’s more wonderful than hard (in my experience). People tell me that it gets better than this but I’m not convinced yet for newborn babies are wonderful at snuggling and don’t talk back 🙂 Again, only 7 weeks in and I wish I could go back and experience it all over again already. Since I can’t, I’m going to rejoice in your reality. I am thrilled for you and can’t wait for your labour + delivery story and account of the newborn days. You may be surprised by how much you like it. And it’s okay if you don’t. You can then hold onto the motto, “the best is yet to come”.
After experiencing being very pregnant and having women look at me with pity and fear re: what was ahead for me, I want you to know that I feel differently. I look at you and get all giddy inside. The adventure you are about to embark on is truly wonderful. I’m jealous and happy for you!