A lovely young friend of mine is pregnant with her first child. I rejoice in her happiness and she and her husband are eagerly waiting for the arrival while experiencing all that pregnancy has to offer. Heartburn, nausea, drowsiness during the day, difficulty sleeping through the night, and the ever-present full bladder! She is dealing with all of it with humor and wit and it is a joy talking with her.
When you talk with a woman experiencing her first pregnancy, it can be tempting to share all of the wisdom you have accumulated over your years of motherhood, but I try to keep it to a bare minimum. Remember how overwhelmed you may have felt when people told you their birth stories, gave you advice that you couldn’t even picture incorporating into your personal plans, or gave you a book’s worth of tips in one conversation. Forgive yourself if you have done that, but go forward and try not to ever do it again!
Instead, after thinking hard about things I really would have loved to hear when I was pregnant the first time, I made a list of things I could share. Never all of them at the same time, of course, but these seemed constructive to me.
First, I wish her well and if appropriate, offer to keep her in prayer for a healthy and joyous delivery.
Second, if she seems interested in talking about it, I ask her what her birth plan is or how the nursery is coming together, or whether they have decided to know the sex of the child ahead of time. I affirm all of those things and if she asks me if I have any advice for a first-time mom, I rarely share my birth experiences but instead, enthusiastically tell her a few of the wondrous things about being a mom the first time.
- The wonder and awe of seeing that new little human you and your partner made through love.
- The sense of being part of the renewal of life and continuation of you and your partner through this child, into the future.
- The fatigue and pains that just fade into the background when you hold your baby and smell his or her individual baby fragrance and know at an instinctual level that, “She is mine and I am hers.”
You have so many personal joys to share as an experienced mom, and if your memory fails or the words don’t come, recommend a book or two that may have been of assistance.
My favorite was “Babies and Other Hazards of Sex” by Dave Barry. Seriously, a book that can keep you giggling through labor is a keeper!