I am almost 31 weeks pregnant; deep in the throes of organizing my “nest” and feeling possessed to clean out, purchase, and get everything ready before little Sophie Leona Holguin arrives into this world. It is definitely the mark of the third trimester beast: get your home in order because you might not ever have time to get it in order again.
However, as the focus shifts from pregnancy to actually having this little bundle of joy, I am more than a bit overwhelmed. I’ve been blogging about my entire pregnancy, asking the pertinent questions, doing research, but I am still as confused as ever as to what you really need for an infant. And of course, the incessant concerns run rampant:
- Are crib bumpers safe or not safe?
- Can your baby ever sleep with a blanket?
- Will breastfeeding really be as hard as some people say it is?
- Am I going to be forever judged for introducing my child to fresh, whole foods instead of the standard kid’s menu?
- Will my pediatrician be the right one?
- Will I ever sleep again?
- Will my body be able to go back to what it was?
- Will my child be healthy?
- What will I do when she’s not healthy?
- Will I seek alternative methods or listen to the doctor?
- Will I be able to teach her everything she needs to know?
- Will I be able to afford it?
In my life, babies were not part of the plan. I liked things I could quantify, things I could measure. I devoted my life to physical activity – progress I could see, feel, and experience. I dedicated my life to helping others reach their goals mentally, physically, and emotionally. I dedicated myself to the page. I wanted to become a writer, so I did. I wanted to marry my love of health and the written word – so again, I did. I met the love of my life after many sordid years of relationship strife. We married the way we wanted to. We got a puppy. We have managed to make everything work, and we have done it our own way. We never asked anyone else’s opinion, because we simply trusted our own.
So, why do I think having a baby will be any different? Why do I feel compelled to question my own judgment and listen to everyone else? To ask questions and take notes like I am studying for the bar exam? Perhaps because there is no preparation here. You don’t know what type of baby you will have until they are here. You can read the books, you can study, but until you become the expert on your own little person, all you have are tools in the arsenal.
And to be honest, all these tools can seem a bit overanalyzed and complicated than they need to be. What happened to simply trusting your instincts?
Having a baby used to be the most natural thing in the world. You didn’t ask for other people’s help or opinions. You trusted your judgment – on everything (this applies to our diets and physical activity as well). You fed them. You swaddled them. You used ancient remedies to help them get better. They got fresh air and movement. They grew up. They survived.
There were no warnings about BPA and SIDS and toxins in mattresses and cloth diapers versus disposable and sleep schedules and colic… instead, there was one universal thing that surrounded these little ones: love.
That is one thing I don’t have to prepare for (and yes, I know sometimes it can take a while to “bond” with your baby and that it might not be love at first sight, though I can’t really imagine that, as I love her so much already). But I don’t have to take a class on how to love my child.
I am a realist. I know my husband and I will make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. I know we will be more exhausted than we ever dreamed, and that I will probably spend many days crying on the sofa, whether it’s due to hormones, too much love, stress, exhaustion or everything combined.
But the great thing? There is no right way to do this. Having a baby should not be a “business” or something you study for. It should be natural, just as falling in love can be natural and messy and scary and everything in between.
So, as my husband said to me this morning, we will figure it out our own way. We’ve never walked down the beaten path, and we’re not going to start now. And no matter what, we have each other.
And I feel lucky.
And I cannot wait to meet my daughter at the end of May.
She will have everything she needs. Nothing more.
As long as we both shall live.