My best friend had a baby this month. Because I have given birth once and have a 17 month old child, I am thus qualified as a childbirth and parenting expert. Therefore, I have been overflowing with advice for her. She has been very accomodating, pretending to listen to my words of wisdom and then ignoring it completely just as she should. Her son is nothing like my daughter so much of what I tell her is ineffective and worthless to her. However, there are several things about motherhood that I have found to be basically the same no matter who you are or what your child is like. They don't fall under the category of advice, but they're helpful to know before you become a mother anyways.
1. I never thought I could feel so deeply and so much before. I was under the impression that I was "deep" and reflective before I had my daughter. I journaled constantly about everything no matter how mundane and pathetic it was. The moment I gave birth to Princess, I was inundated with incredible love, joy, protectiveness, anger at the world for not being perfect for my helpless baby who had to grow up in it, and trepidation at starting my new life as a mommy. Those feelings haven't changed since then. They aren't as overwhelming, but they're still there. Incidentally, I don't journal much anymore. When I do, it's a quick note in my daughter's baby book to jot down her latest achievement. It's not that I'm too busy-I still have plenty of time when she's napping, it's that I don't need to journal anymore. And strangely enough, I don't miss it as much as I thought I would.
2. I had no idea the Mama Bear instinct would be so strong. I have been the proud owner of a beautiful tortoiseshell cat for over 9 years now. Due to allergies, she's an outdoor cat, but very spoiled nonetheless.Princess was playing outside one day and I was reading a book on the porch keeping an eye on her. She was petting my cat and, having been taught to be gentle with the kitty, was doing just that. As I turned a page, out of the corner of my eye I saw my cat take a sudden swipe with her open claws at my innocent child. It took me precisely 1.7 seconds to cover the 6 yards to the cat who took an unscheduled flying lesson while I simultaneously swooped up Princess to soothe her. I love my cat, but DON'T MESS WITH MY KID!!!
3. I have always been shy and terrified of inconveniencing or disagreeing with other people (my husband wouldn't necessarily agree with this statement, but it's true. It just doesn't apply to him.) After Princess was born, I found myself ready to speak up at a moment's notice in front of a room full of people if something affected my child in a way I wasn't okay with. I do cut some slack when it comes to the grandmas because I know they've waited a long time to be able to spoil grandchildren and I don't want to be the one to take that away from them. However, let someone else try to feed Princess something with peanut butter (I'm waiting until she's 2 so there's less of a chance of allergies), or take away her pacifer after I've given it to her and I right there bristling with righteous anger. Yes, I understand that I can't always stand up for her like that, but right now she's still a baby and if I don't, who's going to?
To keep your child occupied while you're waiting in the examination room (since you're probably there so often with a small child), bring along some crayons and let him or her color on the examination table's paper covering.