Week 33: Back to school
I’m no genius by any means, but I’ve always considered […]
I’m no genius by any means, but I’ve always considered myself a fairly intelligent person— that is until I got pregnant. As a first time mama, this pregnancy has me feeling like a first grader in a fifth grade class. For the past eight months, I’ve been trying to educate myself as best as possible, just prepping for that final exam. I’ve read hundreds of articles, powered through pregnancy books, and watched more than my fair share of birthing videos. I’ve put so much effort into absorbing as much knowledge about pregnancy and labor as possible, but with my due date right around the corner, I’m finding myself wishing I’d spent more study time on baby care 101.
This past week, Blake and I attended the “Baby Basics: Caring For Your Newborn” class at our local hospital. We were on the fence as to whether or not we would enroll in any of the classes offered by the hospital. I mean, where they really necessary? After my doctor started asking me at every appointment if we had signed up for classes yet, I decided we might as well go for it. I was a little unsure of what to expect. Do people even do these classes anymore? Much to my surprise, the entire classroom was filled to capacity with other couples who possibly felt just as clueless as we did. Blake and I sat down at the head of the class, fake baby in hand, ready to learn about what was to come.
The labor and delivery nurse who taught the class was a charming, cheerful woman. She provided a ton of information in a way that scared the shit out of me and comforted me at the same time. I took notes as she described the basics of postpartum care and checked off the ways to soothe a crying baby. We listened with intent to her discussion of shaken baby syndrome and jotted down other health and safety precautions. We learned all about how to care for our newborn for those first few weeks, and practiced swaddling and diapering our fake baby before calling it a night.
All in all, we did learn a few things but there is only so much a two hour crash course can prepare you for. I registered for and received What To Expect The First Year at my baby shower. With less than two months to go, I find myself frantically trying to conquer it. The textbook sized read sits on my nightstand and every night I thumb through it, dog earring and highlighting the important stuff and reading aloud to Blake when I come across some bit of information that I find particularly valuable.
I’m a planner and I have this inherent need to be as prepared as possible. I spend hours reading articles and books and taking classes just so I can be as ready as possible for baby—but the more things I learn, the more unprepared I feel. My very patient husband helps curb the anxiety and reminds me that it’s not possible for us to be 100 percent ready and that we just need to do the best we can. Everyone has their opinions about how to care for a newborn, but the best piece of advice I’ve heard is to just trust that instinct will take over. For now, I’ll continue to study as much as possible and have faith that once my beautiful baby is in my arms that my motherly instincts will cover the gap.