July babies. Both my girls have come in the heat of the summer. Their rumblings will forever be tied to clammy nights under the steady breeze of a fan, to walks on heated pavement ambling from shade to shade; the slow avalanche of their births both begun on heady evenings when the sun had only just blinked to dark. Boston is drifting under a week-long heatwave right now. I do so love these cooped up mornings: no expectation of leaving the apartment, the windows closed to the heat and one or two air conditioner units humming away.
I have mentioned before that I like to imagine motherhood as the lazy summertime of a woman’s life. With Joan Bea’s arrival last week, again I encounter the bliss of a day less full, a project not started, a voyage left for another time. We all have voices within us that speak louder and even compete at times: the creative urge, the rowdy adventuring spirit, the maternal leaning, the enthusiasm and passion of a new idea, the quiet tug to rest and be still. I am happy to tell you that it is significantly easier with the second baby to relax and enjoy, to listen to the voice that says cherish, relish, savor.
I know Boston’s isn’t the only city anticipating a heat index over 100 today and tomorrow. Let’s all have a tall glass of water and savor the breeze when you discover it.
I’m so grateful for this project from Sakura Bloom–I fear that many of these moments would not have been captured without it! I’m wearing the Sakura Bloom pure baby linen sling in twilight.
This extreme heat combined with Lux’s approaching first birthday has the early days of motherhood on my mind. The sticky floor in our kitchen, the faint hum of a hundred air conditioners through the window, the smell of baking bricks has triggered a wave of memories I’d forgotten in the last few months. I know several of my readers are expecting babies soon! I thought I would share a few things I would have loved to know in the first month or two.
Lie about your due date on Facebook. Smudge it a little starting two or three weeks beforehand, no one will notice. Majority of first births are late, up to two weeks! To keep the dear friends and family at bay during those endless last days, give yourself a little leeway.
Ask for food instead of gifts. If you have friendly neighbors and hopeful friends, tell them you would love for some hearty food in the weeks after the birth.
A doula might be a bit expensive, but it could be the best money you’ve spent. It could save you the cost of an epidural and c-section! And be enormously comforting to you and husband. It isn’t an indulgence, it is a wise investment. If they do postpartum visits and help, all. the. better.
Sleep with a favorite bed companion for your baby before they arrive, and infuse it with your scent.
Never post about how well your baby is sleeping on Facebook. Nothing marks a new parent more than this boasting, and unfortunately, it can really hurt some friends’ feelings who’ve had more difficult babies. Stay savvy and avoid this topic.
Things that are easiest when the baby is smallest: day trips, plane trips, eating at loud restaurants, and evening adventures.
Nap when she naps. Truly truly truly. If you can do this as much as possible, you’ll feel way better about the bizarro sleep patterns.
Avoid sleep training until three months. Do not spend hours googling methods when they are two weeks old. Your hips have to learn to sway, your mouth has to learn the comforting noises, your baby has to stop being a foreign alien to this world. It takes time, and no one’s cheap tricks will help.
Here’s what the hours of Googling inevitably results in: yes other babies do it. No, no one knows why. Yes, it will stop soon.
The sooner you can quiet the fear of your own intuitions, the sooner you and your baby will feel confident in your decisions.
Three questions you might ask yourself and will later look back and wonder if you were insane: Is little Lux getting enough stimulation? Am I keeping her from learning? Am I being a “good” parent at all times?
*Do you have bits of advice you whisper to new moms? I’d love to hear them, please share. Please ignore these until (..if ever) they are useful to you. : )