When you have your first baby, you become the centre of the universe. No one has ever had a baby before, this is the most important event in the history of the world. You are able to rest and nap every day.
You walk around like an earth mother, hand on your belly, waiting, waiting, waiting for a ‘proper’ bump. You feel calm and smile a lot. You love the nausea and vomiting because it means your baby is growing. You eat fresh organic food, abstain from alcohol and take all your vitamins. You never want it to end.
You are overwhelmed with information and advice. People feel compelled to tell you their horror labour stories. Your obstetrician actually talks with you. You have baby showers and play games where someone smushes a Ferrero Rocher into a nappy and pretends it’s baby poo. You think it’s slightly gross.
People bend over backwards to help, to shop, to give you their old baby clothes. People are excited for you. They want to touch your bump. Everyone asks if it’s your first and when you say ‘yes’, they give you a big warm smile. They tell you it will be the most amazing thing that has ever happened to you. You believe them.
You read books like ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ and ‘Up the Duff’, subscribe to parenting magazines and sign up to online baby forums. You spend months decorating the nursery, making sure everything co-ordinates. You spend hours researching SIDS and developmental milestones, you buy all the latest safety gear, harnesses, slings and bouncers. You put special plugs in all the empty power sockets, and put all the poisons and medicines in a high locked cupboard accessible only with a six-digit combination and certain phases of the moon.
You carefully cut the tags out of baby clothes so they don’t scratch your little darling, and wash everything twice in super-soft, extra-sensitive, environmentally friendly, baby-friendly organic detergents. You vow to never give your baby a dummy, they won’t suck their thumb, you will breastfeed on demand, you will turn them every night so they don’t get a flat head. They won’t watch TV until they are eight, and only then educational, G-rated programs. They will never own a computer game, never use a mobile phone, never get any piercings, and you will not allow a single piece of commercially branded rubbish (like Dora or Disney) enter your house.
Your child will be a Nobel Prize winner.
You have written a birth plan in great detail, and provide it in triplicate to the doctor, the midwives and your husband. You have made a new playlist for your iPod of calming music, you have scented candles, you have new pyjamas.
You haven’t thought about what happens after the baby comes out.