Mama-to-be, I see you. You are rubbing your lower back in the checkout line in front of me at the grocery store. You are breathing deeply every time you have to stand up or sit down during our church service. Or maybe you are posting side view belly pictures on social media, reminding me of the size of your baby in relation to different fruits and vegetables. You are excited. Nervous. Elated. Worried. Tired. Energized. Impatient. Hopeful. Hesitant. All at the same time. I see you. I've been there. And I worried about whether or not I would live up to the standards that this sweet little baby would undoubtedly set for me, his mama. Would I be able to give him everything he required to thrive in this messy world? Would I know how to comfort him? How to love him as much as he needed?
There are five words that I wish I would have known and really understood before I became a mom for the first time. Five words that could have helped me alleviate some of that stressfulness that arose when making decisions as a pregnant first-time mom. Five words that I hope you keep in mind when registering for your baby shower, when planning out the nursery, and when on your way to the hospital or maybe the birthing tub that's set up in your living room.
Five simple words -- are you ready?
Your. Baby. Will. Adore. You.
That's it. Your baby will be so crazy in love with you from the very beginning, and the best part is, you don't have to do anything special to entice this little, loud, red-faced, perfect angel -- they will just naturally love you to pieces from Day One. It is unconditional.
They will love you whether you spent hundreds of dollars on a closet full of organic cotton outfits from high-end boutiques or you found all of their clothes at garage sales.
Whether you use cloth or disposable diapers.
Whether you rock them only in your arms or in the latest and greatest, most expensive baby swing.
Whether you gained 25 pounds during your pregnancy or 55 (like I did with my first, but that's a story for a different day).
Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed.
Whether you are going back to work after a few weeks or are planning to stay at home with them indefinitely.
Whether you get an epidural or not.
Whether you've had a name picked out since you were in middle school or you still have no idea and your due date was yesterday.
Your baby will adore you because you are the mama. That's it. There's nothing else you need to do to guarantee this love.
My oldest child just turned 7, and the other night when he said he loved me at bedtime, I jokingly asked him, "Even when I'm cranky?" I must admit, it had been a rough day. My patience had been thin all evening and I was really looking forward to bedtime, both theirs and mine. He quickly replied, "Uh, yeah! You're the best mommy I've ever had in my life!" Disregarding the fact that I'm also the only mommy he's ever had, I'll still take the compliment and know that he loved me on Day One and continues to love me still, in spite of my long list of imperfections.
Even though I didn't decorate his room until he was a toddler.
Even though I cried the first night home from the hospital because I wasn't sure if we were doing the whole nursing thing right and I was convinced he was starving.
Even though I may have put the baby swing together just a wee bit incorrectly, resulting in the infamous (and thankfully, harmless) tuck and roll incident of early 2009...
Even though I still make mistakes daily.
So fear not, my pregnant friend who is tired. Who has swollen ankles. Who has to pee 27 times an hour. Who cries at the sight of just about everything. There are so many decisions you will make in this nine-month journey, but please remember that when the day arrives and your new son or daughter lays eyes on you for the first time...
Your baby will adore you.
And that's an amazing starting point.