I just got off the phone with a friend who is expecting. She is in the middle of the "Holy shit, what do I really need?" phase. I remember that well... it probably started when I realized there is a whole wall dedicated to different types of pacifiers in Babies R' Us.
I went on to tell her my list of all of the things that saved my life when I first had AB. And, as I was listing them off one by one and going on and on, I paused. I reminded myself that what worked for me may not work for her or her baby... and I took the time to tell her that.
I encouraged her when she said she was going to probably breastfeed, and, GASP, use formula. I said, "fed is best."
And, after I hung up, I realized that I didn't say what I wish I had heard:
"You are going to be a fantastic mom because you will love your baby and that love will guide your decisions. You will face so many choices, and hear so many opinions, but just know to trust what you feel is right. Babies are unique for a reason, and a one-size-fits-all approach has never benefitted anyone. Don't punish yourself for someone else's views of what makes a perfect parent. You will have days where you feel like you should have loved your child more, been more "on," and been more focused — you're told relentlessly to cherish every single moment. You will have days where you question each decision you made that day. You will have sleepless nights and you will spend those nights reading hundreds of online articles and blogs. Find the ones that empower you, not scare you. Find friends — mom friends — that listen, not judge. Know that you will feel very lonely at times, but that you aren't alone. It's ok to ask for help. Choose a doctor you can trust. Hormones are real. Recognize how they affect you... it's ok to reach out for support. You'll doubt yourself. Others will question you. But don't bother with that, because at the end of the day, you'll experience a level of happiness...and love, that you couldn't have possibly imagined. And it will save you. Your child's laugh and touch... each moment you experience the world through the innocence of their eyes... these things will shape you in to the mom you're meant to be."
So, to my sweet friend, don't sweat the small stuff. You're going to do great.