Hey there mama! Are you hanging in there? I know these last few weeks (okay, months) have been as tough as they have been exciting. You’re baby is getting closer and closer to joining you in the real world and you, as a result, are getting bigger, more uncomfortable, and less able to reach things by the day.
You, lucky mama, are in the home stretch now! Sometime in the few weeks you’ll be holding a warm, snuggly little person in your arms and, while you might not quite forget all the aches and pains of pregnancy, you’ll certainly agree it was all worth it.
I wanted to reach out because right about now you’re probably starting to panic a little bit. The nursery’s not done, the clothes aren’t unpacked, and you haven’t even decided which brand of diapers you’re going to use. It might feel like you only have a few weeks left before the invisible countdown clock of late pregnancy reaches zero and Everything Must Be Done, but I’ve got a little secret for you: Target will still be there after the baby is born.
Did you hear me? Target will still be here after the baby is born. It’ll be there and its shelves will be fully stocked with diapers and wipes and pacifiers and nursery décor. They’ll have blankets and clothes and toys and swings and all you’ll have to do to acquire them is show up, shove them in your cart, and toss them your card on the way out the door.
I know, I know, your “what size fruit is my fetus now” app told you that you should have the nursery done by week 30 and that by week 32 you should have the diapers stacked and the wipes warmed. Their checklist probably also recommended stocking your baby’s drawers with a full wardrobe in each size from newborn to 12 months and picking up a variety of bottles, pacifiers, and swaddles to make sure you have options in case your babe doesn’t take to your first pick. But you know what? You don’t have to have any of it before they get here.
All you need to bring your baby home from the hospital is one outfit, one car seat, and enough diapers to get you through the day. You can stop on the way home for a pack-n-play if you have to and then order the rest on Amazon with two-day shipping if you feel like it.
I know that it’s probably hard to imagine the shift that a baby is going to bring to your life and while I don’t want to minimize what a shift it will be, I want you to know that you’ll still be able to get out of the house once the baby is here. Going to Target will be harder and you will have to coordinate your trip around your baby’s feeding schedule but, also? It will be nice to get out of the house. It’s easier to buy a swing when you can test the floor models to see which one your baby likes and it’s more fun to buy clothes when you know what colors bring out your sweeties’ eyes.
After observing lots and lots of first time moms freaking out about having everything ready before the baby comes (and reflecting on my own 39-week meltdown when I realized not all of the baby socks had been double washed with allergen free detergent) I think I’ve figured out why we make such a big deal about having the nursery ready before baby’s birth.
The reason? Because we’re actually freaking out about what it means to become a mom. We’re scared that our relationship with our spouse is going to change and that we’ll never sleep again and that life as we know it is over. And also what if we’re not good at being a mom? What then?
Since it’s impossible to prepare for an internal shift as big as motherhood, we seize control where we can. We equate a finished and stocked nursery with readiness to be parents and assume that as long as we hang the clothes and sort the hats and have just the right stroller, we’ll be good moms and we’ll like motherhood and our baby will be sweet and cherubic, just as we’ve always imagined.
The reality, mama? The reality is that no matter how prepared you are with “things,” there’s not a thing in the world that can prepare you for parenthood in a way that will ensure it all goes smoothly.
You can buy a humidifier and an elephant-themed sheet set and a beautiful mobile and there’s still going to be blood and sweat and spit up and tears. Your birth might not go how you wanted it to. Your baby might have colic or he might not sleep. He might need an extra few days in the hospital for jaundice and you might have trouble feeding him how you planned. You might find yourself raging against the confines of your new life and fighting with your partner more than you ever have before.
You might. Or, maybe, you’re birth might go just as you hoped. And your baby might mew softly when he’s hungry instead of crying. He might doze through the day and sleep at night and be healthy and hungry and round. He might take right to eating and you might feel peaceful and gleeful at your newfound motherhood. You and your partner might spend your days smiling down at this new person and your nights learning how grateful you are for one another.
Maybe – all of it is a maybe. There’s no greater time of “maybe” than the last few weeks of pregnancy and no perfect nursery or stocked drawers can guarantee you anything.
Mama: In a few weeks, nursery done or not, your baby will get here and you’ll slowly but surely shatter into a million different pieces and then, weirdly and slowly, rebuild yourself into a version that’s better and stronger and different. You’ll realize that you love to sing lullabies and that you’d cartwheel backwards across the room for the slightest flicker of a smile. You’ll wonder for days at a time how this can be so wonderful and so hard all at the same time. New parenthood – fully stocked nursery or not – will rock you to your core.
So listen, if you’re getting towards the end of your pregnancy and your starting to freak out a little bit because the nursery curtains aren’t hung and clothes aren’t pre-washed and the diapers are still stacked in the hallway, take a deep breath and relax. Whether you finish it all up before the baby arrives or not, you’re in for a fantastic ride.