1. ‘No Baby Ever Died From Crying’
I never realized how horrifying this sounds and true it is until I was recently asked at a baby shower to pass along some motherly knowledge for new parents. Shortly after the birth of my first child, one of my closest girlfriends dropped this little gem on me while in the throes of newborn delirium. I found myself calling the pediatrician on a regular basis (after consulting “What to Expect,” “Happiest Baby on the Block,” my mother, babycenter.com, and the like) and needed a reality check about my child’s vociferous nature.
“Look, until 10 days ago, she was living in warm juice, being automatically fed, with nary a worry about eliminating or taking naps. There’s an adjustment period.” After I let this soak in, I relaxed during the crying jags and my child absorbed my tranquility, figured out the other stuff, and is alive to this day (still crying, just not about the same things).
2. ‘Pray For Normal’
Kids are super (most of the time). These little things that started off as kicking, pooping, squalling, squirming aliens gradually learn to control their limbs, eat stuff other than mush and milk, and eventually turn to you and, with wide eyes, pontificate on things that you couldn’t script.
Most of the stuff they say falls into one of the following categories: hysterical, spiritual, horrifying, nonsensical. However, it doesn’t automatically make them eligible for the gifted program or ready for application to early entry at Harvard University. And that’s a good thing. “Normal” should not be relegated to an “N” word, and is totally underrated. It’s our jobs as grownups to cherish and develop these precious minds, in their many varied states, and appreciate their individuality and uniqueness, no matter how average they may be.
3. ‘From Human Fluids…’ (Said While Upholding a Newborn)
The amazingness of a newborn child is magnificent, its fragility is breathtaking, and the miracle is unmistakable. Tiny little fingernails, ear folds, alveoli doing what they do. It lives in fluid for 10 months, and then just comes out breathing air and suckling? I mean, that’s crazy! And it all starts with microscopic HUMAN FLUIDS.
When you really think about the symphonic, minute twists and turns to create life, it is mind-blowing that it can happen by mistake. However, justifiably, this is where the misconceptions that swimming in pools with teenage boys or kissing behind the movie theater will get you pregnant. Tread lightly, new parents, and take a moment to embrace the awesomeness.
4. ‘It Won’t Ever Look the Same’
Whether you’ve borne a baby of your body or not, your body won’t ever look the same. Motherhood changes the way you look. Your mommy body is just the outward reflection of your soul. “The swelling goes down,” “They kind of go back to normal,” “That stuff fades…” Embrace those new lumps, wonkiness of belly button or curve of side boob or squishy seat. Those lumps and bumps are the result of sacrifice. Welcome to parenthood—no part of your physical being or soul will be the same.
5. Just Stop With the ‘I’ll Never’s” Right This Very Minute
Whether it’s minivans, bribing, eating really crappy, cold fast food, negotiating punishment with a two year-old, drinking during the day, whatever, fill in the blank, just stop it right now. The magical, terrifying, and exhilarating part of parenting is that it completely shifts your worldview and sometimes you do things to get you through to the next hour. And you never know what that “never” is until you are in the moment. That’s what keeps the world spinning and more littles added to the planet. Be in the moment, give the Heisman to your “I’ll never’s,” and roll with it.
Lastly, the best piece of advice is, “Don’t heed anyone’s advice.”