Alison- “I can’t take you seriously! You didn’t even read the baby books.”
Ben- “I didn’t read the baby books! What’s gonna happen? How did anyone ever give birth without a baby book?! That’s right, the ancient Egyptians fucking engraved ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ on the pyramid walls! I forgot about that! Who gives a flying fuck about the baby books?”
For those who don’t know me very well, I am a planner extraordinaire. If planning were an Olympic sport, I would be the Michael Phelps of planning. In every area of my life, I take great pains to research, brainstorm, and prepare before making any major change.
Because of this personality trait/obsessive need for control, things in my life usually run smoothly. My wedding was, in my biased opinion, gorgeous and exactly on time. I spent years researching real estate in our city, saving, watching, waiting, until we finally found and bought our dream house.
When we finally decided, over a meatball sandwich at our favorite pizza joint, that we were ready to have a baby, I was in my element. I charted my cycles for almost a year. I took my prenatal vitamins. I read through “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”.
When I got pregnant, one of the first things I did was buy more books. I frequented Baby Center and The Bump, learning as much as I could about pregnancy, labor, and birth. Sure, I had moments where I felt completely overwhelmed and terrified, but for the most part, I felt I was as prepared.
And then it happened. The day that made me realize that I am no longer in control of my body, let alone by life. Emmett was born.
I had a really hard time adapting to Motherhood, which I think might come as a surprise for some people. On the outside I seem patient, easygoing, someone who would surely be a natural with babies. Inside I was a mess of insecurity, fear, resentment, anger and exhaustion.
Not knowing what to do, I fell back on what I know. I subscribed to Parents magazine, I bought “What to Expect the First Year”, and I read my weekly email from Baby Center on baby development.
But none of this helped; actually it made me feel worse. I felt overwhelmed with all the things I am doing “wrong” (like letting Emmett nurse back to sleep at night after he wakes up crying) or things I feel like I should be doing (like make Emmett organic homemade baby food). For the first time in my life, being responsible and planning ahead have failed me.
So, I’ve stopped reading baby books. I don’t need the self imposed guilt and feelings of inadequacy that this overwhelming amount information brings.
Instead I’m (slowly) learning to trust my instincts. Emmett is happy. He is (mostly) healthy. Above all, he is LOVED.
And if the Beatles have taught me one thing, it’s that love is all you need.