True story: My cousin tried to tell me at my baby shower after presumably spending the entire morning prepping, packing things and driving to said shower. As everyone crowded around to admire her beautiful and new pink bundle, I met my cousin's gaze. Her eyes were kind & tired. She looked beautiful, but worried. Put together, but pulled in a million directions. She only said one thing, "It is really, really hard."
At that point, I nonchalantly told myself the lie that all expectant parents tell themselves in order to procreate: "Yikes. ..But my baby will be easier."
"Ha!" says my current self.
Doesn't everyone wish they could write a letter to themselves to snap our former selves into reality?
To the well-rested, naive, slightly swollen lass of 24, I would have said..
Swing by Cookout on your way back to Maryland and grab a milkshake, because it's the only dairy you'll have for a year. Harper's gonna have a milk sensitivity that will take you from hero to zero if a piece of cheese crosses your lips.
Enjoy that extra hair. It's going to fall out after the baby is born and that is.. strange.
You will know when you're in labor. Don't waste four Post-Its charting non-painful contractions at your desk.
When you can't breathe, talk or smile, that's when to call the doctor. NOT after four Post-Its full of non-painful contractions.
Fifteen people will be in the room when Harper is born. At least half of them will be watching the process and it won't be with a bird's eye view. ..and, assuming you've had an epidural, you'll still be aware of it. And it will be very, very awkward.
Which brings me to...
An epidural is your friend. Sure, your "birth plan" can be to go as long as possible without it, but.. why the crap would you do that?
When Harper finally arrives, banged up from your hip bone and she's gray and not pink and she doesn't breathe or cry for the first two minutes, you will feel like you're dying but don't die. She'll be fine...and loud. She will be the loudest baby born that whole week.
After three days of doctors and nurses telling you what to do, you'll feel like you can't do it on your own. You can. If you have any sense at all, you know best because you're the mom.
It's OK to holler into a pillow or cry while you're feeding your child. It hurts that bad, but it'll get better.
Harper will only sleep while she's being walked or bounced. Could you, like.. start some kind of pregnant cross-training program. . .nowish-ly?
And when, two weeks postpartum, you have to walk around with Harper for two hours at a time, you will feel like your insides are being turned inside out and that your butt will fall off. They won't, and it won't.
You'll think you'll never be normal again, but you will.
It will be worth it. Better than you ever dreamed.