My first born is a Honeymoon baby. I was 32 years old at the time, so I guess people would assume that I have had a ton of life experiences already that somehow would have prepared me for being a first time momma. But I didn’t have that much experience.
I am the older sibling, and my brother has not gotten anyone pregnant, so I don’t have a nephew or niece. My cousins who already have kids, lived far away. My friends who already have kids are mostly 30 kilometers away. I do have a few momma friends within a 10 kilometer radius, but of course, having kids have made them busier, so no chance to “practice” with them.
I love reading books, and I still have a lot of unread ones because I bought and bought and bought. It would be safe to assume that I have bought and read every book there is that I can get my hands on about pregnancy and motherhood.
But I didn’t. I was busy puking, sleeping, doing household chores and doing online work (and even doing other freelance jobs on the side) to ever care about buying and reading books about them that time. I pretty much relied on my Ob-Gyne (OB) for things I needed to know, aside from Google. I was not even an OC (Obsessive-Compulsive) momma, who went beyond asking my doctor questions and did research, by enrolling in classes for labor pains and Lamaze. No, I wasn’t the type. I was the “go-with-the-flow”, “whatever happens is okay” expectant kind of mom.
I did not prepare for motherhood during my pregnancy. I did not even prepare much for my delivery! I remember, it was just a routine check-up during my 38th week, but my husband was on-leave from work and was with me during that check-up. My OB suggested an induced normal delivery, and we literally had minutes to decide. My OB had already informed me of this option, and since I was already at around two centimeters dilated at that time, we just went through it. I remember my husband even telling me, “It’s okay, I’m on leave anyway.” It was that easy for him to decide because he’s not the one giving birth! Typical, hehehe! My doctor just let us go have lunch, then I was admitted after.
I remember not being prepared emotionally and mentally, like it felt surreal that I was already in the labor room and stuff. I was tense, but I knew I had to calm myself so that my baby won’t be stressed. I wasn’t prepared for any pain, so I have advised my OB that I’d be given epidural (anesthesia) when the time comes. I knew I wanted to just remember the happiness of childbirth, not the pain related to it. You’d say I chickened out because I didn’t want to feel the pain, but I was worried that my heart might be affected when I’m aware of the pain, and things might get worse. You can discuss this with your doctor when the time comes. You should be made aware that you have options.
Even though everything happened swiftly and I was seemingly unprepared (it was a routine check-up, and I wasn’t due for two more weeks.), but I can say that we have prepared my baby-to-be for life outside my tummy. We prepared her name for her birth certificate. The first clothes she was going to use when she goes out of the hospital. Her diapers, bag, baby towels, her car seat. These things we’re already in the car as early as the 36th week of my pregnancy.
We already have a crib. The bottles, sterilizer of bottles, the soap to be used to clean her things, and all the other stuff, we just bought as we went along the first few weeks of motherhood. I remember her stroller was paid for by one of our wedding godmothers, and we settled my baby there immediately after we bought it.
There came the nursing cover, which I didn’t use much because I have enough extra sized blouses to cover up while breastfeeding. There came the sling, because of the “baby-wearing” hullabaloo. And everything else that came after that first few weeks.
I did not practice anything that I might need to do when I become a mom before I became a mom. I guess that’s how a mother’s instinct comes in. I did not practice how to carry or how to breastfeed. I mean, if I’m going to practice carrying a baby using a baby toy, it obviously won’t be close to the real thing! A toy does not move or twitch when they are uncomfortable. A toy cannot represent how much your baby would weigh, how often it’ll cry, or need to feed, or burp, or change. So I figured, it would be useless. A baby toy is not a real baby. It’s a toy, no matter how close to a real thing a manufacturer does it. Even if it comes with some form of AI (Artificial Intelligence), it’s still artificial and not a real baby.
I didn’t practice how to breastfeed. Like, how do you actually do that? Even with a Breastfeeding Simulator (yeah, I just Googled, and it exists!), of course it’ll still be different when an actual baby is already there sucking your nipples. And it is so different because it’s not just about the baby sucking your nipples. When I got to start breastfeeding, I found about the pain, the latch that works, the position that’s comfortable while nursing, how to increase my milk supply, and how my bond with my baby strengthens with every feed.
Bottom line is, it is very much okay to be unprepared, because that way, you are more open to accepting the different truths there are in terms of motherhood! These truths you will discover, definitely not during your pregnancy, but only when you crossed the bridge! You learn them first hand, and then you’ll discover what works for you and your kid, and what doesn’t. If you came to this journey thinking that you are very much prepared, it gives you little room or even difficulty to adjust, especially when things do not go according to how you prepared (just like how other things in life are.)
Besides, when you do your preparations during your pregnancy, you are preparing based on the motherhood that the other moms that went before you, had experienced. You’ll buy things that other moms needed, but you might realize later on that you did not really need it. You might not buy things that other moms told you they didn’t have any use for, but was actually so essential for you and your baby. And trust me, no two moms and no two motherhood journeys are alike.