Photo Credit: Miranda Penn Turin/Bravo
If you're anything like me, you like to be prepared. And yet it seems to me that the thing we should prepare most for -- motherhood, the most important role of our lives -- often falls by the wayside until we're handed a wee one in the delivery room with no idea what to do, hoping instinct will take over!
It's not that I think you can't figure out how to take care of your baby on your own (and ultimately know your babe's every characteristic -- what her hungry cry sounds like, how she likes to be held and the best position for burping); It's just that preparing for motherhood gives us the added confidence to allow our instincts to take over and to enjoy those first weeks rather than completely freaking out. (Although trust me when I say that freaking out is pretty common!) We're also a generation scattered across the country -- meaning many of us don't have the luxury of Nana nearby, ready and waiting to show us the perfect swaddle. When you consider the fact that your poor little muffin has to put up with your steep learning curve, it only makes sense to get some mommy skills pre-delivery!
At MomPrep (my prenatal and postpartum education and fitness center) here are the classes I consider a must: Baby CPR, A-Z of Childbirth and Newborn Care, Parenting 101 and Prenatal Breastfeeding. Be kind to yourself and take classes on these topics before baby comes so your first weeks of motherhood are a little easier. (Will they answer your every parenting question? Of course not -- but a little education will give you the confidence to know when you're doing it right and when you need to ask for more help.)
Just remember -- and I tell all of my clients this -- the first two weeks will always be crazy town. Your hormones are wild, you're sleep-deprived, your body bears no resemblance to the one you remember, you're overwhelmed with the enormity of your new responsibility, and it's hard not to break down in tears over the smallest of things... well, let yourself cry, my lovelies, and just keep telling yourself, "Rosie said two weeks... two weeks until I'll start feeling like I might actually be able to do this." After that, taking a trip outside won't seem like climbing Mount Everest, and actually putting on clean clothes will seem possible. You'll start to realize -- at last -- that you're going to be a great (albeit sleep deprived) mother!
Rosie Pope is a clothing designer, maternity concierge and the star of Bravo's 'Pregnant in Heels.' She'll be blogging weekly for iVillage Parenting; see her new post every Tuesday after the show. Follow her on Twitter: @RosiePope, or find her at rosiepope.com.