Are you ever ready to have a baby?
I don't think you're ever ready for this level of responsibility.
A year ago, we bought some herbs and citrus trees for our deck, which I struggled to remember to water once a day. Now we have a baby due any day now. Here's a few thoughts from our journey as we draw nearer to being suddenly "real grownups".
1) You are going to be "slightly" hormonal I have bawled my eyes out quite a few times, (and probably many more times to come), simply on the basis of being overwhelmed by emotions. I have either felt like Julian and I were heading for divorce, or reduced to ugly crying with tears and snot flying everywhere and hyperventilating, but husbands and partners, just remember that it's the hormones! Girls just need your support no matter how small of an issue it seems to you.
2) If people offer hand me downs, take them! If you've got friends who are offering you old baby equipment or clothes - totally take it - all the money adds up. TradeMe is also an excellent option for baby gear, as your baby will be growing out of things so fast! People have also suggested that you should wait until you've had your baby shower, and even after baby actually arrives till you buy things because you never know what type of bubba you might have.
3) Information can be very overwhelming I have been given brochures and hand-me-down books about pregnancy, and to be honest I've only read a few pages in each. Anyway, no matter how much you read up - no baby is the same, so the rules may not apply.
I've found it more useful to talk to other friends about their experiences, and look at my Babycenter app once a day for article and videos that are relevant to how far along I am. Also antenatal classes have been superb. Some say, you don't need to pay, but Julian and I have both found our classes through Parent Centre have both been very informative and factual. It has been fantastic for Julian to be more involved and gain more understanding about how hard on the body pregnancy can be. All he could see was a tired, cranky wife who's let herself go a bit.
4) People don't talk about complications. There are so many things that could suggest pregnancy might not run smoothly - however it's perfectly normal to feel worried, and protective. Paranoid thoughts can enter your mind such as, does this happen to anyone else? Am I the only one? These feelings are perfectly normal as people don't really talk about their personal anxieties.
Talking to other women about their complications, although it can be very personal, has also been very empowering. Also, if you're struggling, by talking about it- you may discover possible options that have worked for others. My midwife gave me some advice; practitioners are only in a snapshot of your journey, you have to listen to your heart and your body and find something that works for you. I've seen a naturopath (based on the recommendation of my midwife) who put me back on the path of sanity. My skin was either really dry and flaky, or angry, hot and itchy and I looked like a burn victim. My naturopath instructing me to cut dairy, wheat, tomatoes and citrus out of my diet to help with my skin breakouts and rashes that kept me up in the middle of the night. Within a week I was a completely different person.
I was also was struggling with quite serious cramping, which might have been because of a rather large fibroid growing at the bottom of my uterus. Apparently 70-80% of women have these benign tumours growing and most people don't know they have them. This fibroid potentially could have stopped baby from coming out naturally. The cramping was far worse than any period pain I'd experienced and seemed to be increasing with intensity and frequency. I went to my osteopath and went on a pregnancy treatment plan to prepare my pelvis for optimum movement and positioning of baby. Treatment has taken away cramping and I have not experienced any back pain. In fact this week I have learned baby's head has gotten around the fibroid (which currently is around 7cm cubed) which means I can try for a natural birth as opposed to having to have a caesarean. My midwife is really surprised and pleased with baby's positioning, with his head being right down low in my pelvis, considering the size of the fibroid and I totally put it down to regular osteopathic treatments and a lot of prayer.
Talk to other women - see what troubles they've had and see what they've done. You might find actually there's a lot more issues with pregnancy that people let on. Don't ever feel like there is nothing you can do about your situation.
So in summary, I don't think you can ever be ready to become a parent. Many people can focus on the negative on how different life is going to be and how you won't be able to do all the things you normally are able to do. However we are totally excited to start this new chapter of our lives, freaking out slightly still - but just like getting married, we cannot wait to see this adventure unfold! In the same way, we totally are humbled by this experience, for the fact that we are able to conceive, and do not take anything for granted.
Thank you to all our family and friends, who have encouraged, prayed, gifted and loved us thus far. Jules Junior will be coming to a hospital near you!