There are several topics I want to tackle in this post. As you know, I work with moms who are typically in their last trimester, which, for some, can be a very trying time. Personally, I always enjoyed being pregnant with my four babies. With the fourth baby, however, I did have a glimpse of understanding why women get induced. I was 34, which I must admit, was harder than the other pregnancies had been, and I suspect age had something to do with it, although having 3 other babies to look after was probably the majority of it!
I totally understand wanting to meet your new baby and getting your body back, or being able to breathe again and not having to switch sides all night long because your hips are killing you. Maybe you've had some ailment, like a foot in your ribs for the last 6 weeks, or constant heartburn, or maybe even the worst of all ailments, PUPPS. Lately, it seems that the "due date" has been referred to by some as the baby's "eviction notice." I honestly believe that most people use this term jokingly. Some, on the other hand, have seemed quite serious.
I've had many moms over the years who have sat on my couch in tears after their baby is here because they can't believe how hard this little one is to deal with. They always comment on how if they had really known, they wouldn't have been so anxious to get him out! Once that baby is here, he's here. Pregnancy is over. It can be an emotional thing with the attention shifting off of mom and onto the baby. Many women will experience a sense of loss once the pregnancy is over, which can surprise many women who were so anxious to get the baby here.
And who doesn't miss feeling the baby move? I can't even remember what that felt like now. I would give anything to feel that again, to remember. I always tell my moms, at 40 weeks, even if they go the full 2 weeks "over," they will be mamas in less than 14 days. Somehow that makes it more tangible. The pregnancy will end. You will hold your baby.
Treasure the end of pregnancy. Do something really fun and creative to pass the time. Feel free to add to this list in the comments. The possibilities are endless.
Once the baby is here, spend as much time holding your baby as humanly possible, despite your mother-in-law telling you that you shouldn't. Your baby will be easier to deal with and bond with if you can recreate the womb for him.
Recreating the womb involves making his new home as close to his last home as possible:
*He never experienced hunger before. This is a new sensation in his belly. He might want to nurse all the time to keep that funny feeling away. That is OK. Let him nurse.
*He never felt wide open space around him. He was curled up. Cozy. Warm. Put him in a sling and wear him. He'll think he's in the womb again. (Yes, I can sell you a sling, but that's not why I'm telling you this!)
*He listened to your heart beat all day long. He heard your voice, knows your walk, your laugh, even the noises of your stomach. Those sounds are comforting to him. Keep him nearby and he will be comforted.
I'm tempted to make co-sleeping it's own post. I've written about it on the blog quite a bit, but I just want to mention it here briefly. I'm not sure why Americans think their baby needs their own separate room and bed. To quote lactation consultant, Mellanie Sheppard, again, "You are your baby's environment." Seriously. You want to sleep? You want your baby to sleep? Then you need to be co-sleeping. It's not strange. Your baby will not be in your bed forever. You will still have sex with your husband, although maybe not in the bed! Again, this phase of your life will not last terribly long. Enjoy it! We miss that time of having a little baby sleeping between us.
It took David and I four kids to figure out the best way to parent a newborn. We didn't set up a crib. Our bed was her bed from day one, even for naps. She was continuously is the sling. She nursed around the clock. She hardly made a peep. I remember David even commented one time that she didn't seem to have much personality. You should see her now! Wow! My point is simply that when I see parents meeting their baby's needs before the baby even knows what they need, baby is totally content. And so is mom and dad!
One more bit of advice: Don't compare your baby to other babies. That will make you insane. Also, at some point, as much as I love for you to read my blog and my recommended reading list, you need to just put all of that aside and get to know your baby. Some things sound great in a book (or a blog!), but the reality is sometimes completely different.
Your baby is unique and you are the perfect parent for him or her. YOU are the one he wants. So just be there. If you are a good landlord, he'll likely be a great tenant.