If I could go back in time just two years I would give my pre-pregnant self some of the best advice I think a new mother could give a soon-to-be mother. I would not be daunting or overly dramatic (which as a Cancerian and a comedian I do have a flare for.) I would be kind, but brutally honest.
First, I would share that while being a mother has truly been the most awesome thing I have ever done in terms of love, time, energy and effort there are things I wish I would have known/done before I became one.
Let me also state for the record that while I'm not angry, I do feel like my friends who started on this journey before me could have done a much better job of warning me. Maybe they did, but like most impending first-time moms I was just too excited/scared/nervous to listen, and my friends just did their due diligence by reassuring me that it was all going to be okay and I was going to rock it. Because that's what good friends are supposed to do.
I vaguely remember a few friends and my mother saying something like, "You're going to be so tired after the new baby gets here, you need to sleep when the baby sleeps." Which is all great in theory, but who are they kidding? If this is your first baby, you're going to be so in awe of the little creature that came out of you that you'll be spending the first few weeks just staring at them every second you get -- especially when they're asleep.
I'm sure they write about how to prepare yourself for a baby in all of the "What to Expect..." types of books, but I don't think they put it like this. So for all of you about-to-be-mommies or mothers of newborns this is the Gospel According to Karith:
Do NOT Take (ALONE) Bathroom Time For Granted!
This means to take long enjoyable showers for as long as you can stand to be under the water. Same goes for baths. Take lots and lots of bubble baths or baths with essential oils. Luxuriate! I promise you will miss this! It will be a very long time before you can do this again uninterrupted.
Poop like a man! Not trying to be crass, but what I mean is take your freakin' time. Don't think about all the other things you could be doing in that half hour, as we women tend to do. Take your favorite magazine in with you and read that sucker from cover to cover until one or both of your feet fall asleep. Or, arm yourself with a good book -- I don't care if it's 50 Shades or A Tale of Two Cities but R.I.P. Ladies -- Read In Peace. You will long for it one day.
Take your time doing your hair. After a baby, a quick brush and up in a clip or ponytail is considered "doing your hair." That's why so many women cut their hair after they have a baby. It's just easier to be able to get up and go. Weaves and braids are a great solution to this too!
Lastly, give your skin love. While that's a habit we should never fall out of the last thing you're thinking about are your pores if your baby is "cluster feeding," teething or dealing with diaper rash. So whether it's putting a mask on a couple of times a week or having a full on facial somewhere (like a real spa) -- do it! Relish it!
Put on that cute outfit you've been saving for the right event and accessorize! Not that you won't have opportunities to dress up after baby, but if you normally looked like you stepped out of a Talbot's catalog your head's going to spin at how easy it is to spend all day in a comfy t-shirt and yoga pants or pajama bottoms.
Wear make-up as you regularly would -- no need to over do it and look like a clown. But unless you have your own make-up person and a lighting crew that follows you around that pregnancy glow will wear the hell off after a few weeks of sleeping in 2-3 hour stints.
Enjoy ALL positions. Yes I'm talking about sex AND sleeping.
Even if you don't, sleep on your stomach. 'Cause guess what? At a certain point in your pregnancy you won't be able to. Same goes for after your milk comes in and trust me -- you're going to want to. So get it out of your system now.
Ditto for all of the wild sex positions you and your honey can come up with. Do them ALL. REALLY TRUST ME. At some point, some positions will be like an uncomfortable game of Twister and some downright impossible. Then when baby eventually comes you may not have the same kind of time to go through the Kama Sutra you once did. Because a cry from your new little one will kill the mood instantly.
I write this piece with love because that's hopefully how you got into this situation in the first place. I hope those of you who have yet to give birth give this heed these gems of wisdom and I hope that those of you who have been in this boat will pass the Gospel According to Karith along to your unsuspecting friends. Y'all we need to stick together 'cause who else is going to tell it like it is?!