Advice for a newly pregnant friend

When I had my first son, nearly (gulp!) five years ago, I was the first of my friends to have a child. In fact, I’d been married for only 5 months when I found out I was pregnant. I wasn’t necessarily a “young mom” at 25, but I was certainly younger than most of my peers when I became a mother. In short, I had no idea what to expect, and no friends or older siblings I could turn to for advice. I kind of always figured my friends and I would go through something big like starting out motherhood together, but sometimes, you have to take what life doles out, and for me, life doled out two little boys by the age of 28!

Six months pregnant with kiddo #1. The only thing I know for sure is that I need Ben and Jerry's...and I'm willing to drive to VT to get it.
Six months pregnant with kiddo #1. The only thing I know for sure is that I need Ben and Jerry’s…and I’m willing to drive to VT to get it.

Now that my sons are almost five and two, my friends are having their babies, and I’m on the other side. Pregnancy was tough for me. I’ve known friends who have loved being pregnant and wax nostalgic about feeling their baby kick and loving their comfy maternity pants. I was not that mother. My kids didn’t give me cute jabs here and there to remind me they were there…my older son kicked into my ribcage so hard he knocked the breath out of me mid-sentence during a conversation with a co-worker. I had fierce heartburn, I was anxious about becoming a mother, and I hated the lack of control I had over pretty much everything that was happening.

Oh, great! A second one?! I don't even know what to do with the FIRST one! Also...this is really uncomfortable.
A second one?! I still don’t even know what to do with the FIRST one! Also…this is really uncomfortable.

So what would I say to my pregnant friends now that I’ve crossed over? Well…here it goes!

  • Some moms can go through their whole pregnancy in size 4 Seven Jeans with one of those cute maternity belly bands. And some moms wear exclusively black stretch pants for the entire third trimester. Don’t stress if you’re in the second group. 
  • While we’re on the subject of stress…try not to stress. About everything. I literally googled how many milligrams of caffeine a pregnant woman could safely consume, then started frantically checking the amounts in various Starbucks beverages to see what the “safest drink options” would be. I worried about having highlights and didn’t color my hair for nine months during my first pregnancy. I worried a pedicure would send me into preterm labor, for Pete’s sake! Just try to relax a little. Seriously.
  • Set up the nursery because it’s fun, not because “OMG the baby is coming and it must have a cute diaper stacker!!” If you like to decorate and feel like nesting, then by all means! Plan and decorate the most adorable room you can imagine. But if it doesn’t feel “real” to you yet and you just aren’t feeling it, remember that babies can sleep pretty much anywhere. You can by all means save it for after he or she arrives if that feels more natural to you.
  • Read all baby care books with a wary eye. They may offer suggestions, but you have to do what feels right for you, in the end. Never feel obligated to do something because a book told you so. I did this, many times, and spent hours obsessing about things that I could have just let go.
  • Do not buy a million diapers ahead of time if you are using disposable diapers. I bought lots and lots of a certain brand only to find out they ran really, really small and never fit my baby quite right. I’d opened them and neatly placed them in drawers, so I couldn’t return them, nor would I have had the energy to return diapers after giving birth. Buy a few different packs and order the good ones online to be shipped to your door.
  • Never mind the baby…shop for yourself before the birth! I was up crazy hours for the first couple of months, and nursing made me ravenous around the clock. Instead of worrying about only the baby I should have stocked up on my own favorite healthy snacks and drinks.
  • Don’t try to stuff yourself in your pre-pregnancy clothes right after you have the baby. Just don’t do it. Ask my husband, who found me sobbing in a pile of jeans two weeks after having my first child, about this for details. I laughed when people mentioned “transition wear.” I should have stopped laughing and bought some.
  • Remember that this too shall pass. Not everyone likes pregnancy! And that is fine. You don’t have to. You still get the same prize at the end!
Spoiler Alert!  The prize is really loud!
Spoiler Alert:
The prize is really loud!


9 thoughts on “Advice for a newly pregnant friend

  1. Great post – and I especially agree with the part about diapers! Or really opening anything that you don’t need to use right away – I returned so many things, but there were many I couldn’t because I just HAD to open them and put them away before the baby came. The absolute best thing I can recommend to all new moms – AMAZON PRIME!!!! hello 2 day shipping!! Hello conveniently ordering EVERYTHING from your iphone while you are simultaneously feeding your baby and sporting a spitup/poop/pee stained transition outfit that you really have no desire for anyone to actually SEE in person (and I mean everything – from bras, to shoes, to vitamins, to diapers, to books – it can be dangerous…)

  2. Sarah. You continue to read my mind. How do you just KNOW what to say every single week? You have such a gift. These are words to live by. In fact, i am printing this post out and posting it up on my bedroom mirror. Sometimes we all need a reminder that brings us back down to earth, and as a mom who went through literally EVERYTHING you wrote here, (my husband made me buy organic shampoo and conditioner from whole foods because he was freaked out that my regular Aveda shampoo would seep into my pores and get into the baby) btw… i need a refresher. Hey, expecting or soon-to-be-expecting Mommas out there- LISTEN TO SARAH. this is TRUTH.

    1. Awwwww thanks, Marie!! 🙂 So so happy you can relate!! HA! And yes…I switched moisturizers for the same reason you switched shampoos the first time around….and it was Philosophy “Hope in a Jar” which is pretty mild- not like I was doing regular chemical peels and gave them up!! Hah!! I was more relaxed for the 2nd pregnancy, but still on edge more than I think I should have been, or so says the more rational non-pregnant Sarah 😉

  3. LOVE this post and all of it is so true!!! Re: the nursery, I am SO not a decorator – I like minimalist style (straight lines, no adornments, etc). Our nursery was an old library / office that was stuck in the tacky 80s – faux wood paneling, excessively fancy wall trim, and dirty carpet. I hated it and my husband procrastinated on removing it all and painting the walls. Instead, he promised me that we’d tear it all out before the kids came, but I found myself at 31 weeks pregnant still looking at the dark trim and ugly carpeting. One day when he was out, I pulled up all the carpeting in a frantic craze (at 31W preggo with TWINS!) and ripped off all the wall trim which left GIANT tears in the drywall behind it (I mean GIANT!). That did the trick and by the next week, we had panel-free, newly painted walls!!! Haha.

      1. Hahah, well when he came home and found me crouched over trying to pull up carpet, I gave him three choices: 1) I’d finish the work but if I go into labor while doing it, there was going to be hell to pay, 2) I’d do all the demo and he could pay our contractor to fix all the damage I had done; 3) He could get off his ass and finally do the work that he was supposed to do. He opted for #3, but I will say that he locked himself behind closed doors with the radio blasting so that I couldn’t hear his cursing and he went through several cases of beer before it was all done (while I sat on the sofa watching HGTV with my feet up eating ice cream)!

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