My best friend bought me this incredibly appropriate journal, 100 Reasons to Panic About Having a Baby: A Journal for the Knocked Up. Every few days I jot a few thoughts down, sometimes happy and anticipatory, sometimes more of the freak-out variety. At the bottom of each page is a totally valid reason to panic (ie: I'll think my baby is ugly) and an encouraging or humorous response (ie: if you spent 9 months cooped up in a small, dark space you'd be looking pretty rough, too. It'll get cuter).
My entries in this journal have jumped from describing my total breakdown when I discovered my first stretch marks, to documenting the incredible joy of our gender reveal and the overwhelming love I already feel for our little boy. Will. Saying his name is really weird and wonderful. The truth is, there really are 100 reasons to panic about having a baby. Maybe even more. For me, a ton of those reasons have to do with becoming a mom. How can I possibly prepare for such a role?
Hallelujah. I find that to be rather freeing. I can take a breath when I go over my 13+ pages of recommended registry items and remind myself that last-minute runs to Target are always an option. I can trust that the stroller I choose will be totally fine. I can expect to encounter those vain moments of panic about my body's changes and the fears and insecurities I'm often confronted with. I can pretty confidently say that I will continue putting diapers on backwards. I can smile and nod at the sometimes unpleasant advice of other parents and remain firmly in the camp of Say No to Mom Wars.
The realization I came to on Wednesday, when I had the rather sobering thought that at 20 weeks I am halfway to having a baby, is that William won't know the difference between an amateur mom and an expert one. Maybe there really isn't such a thing as an expert mom because children keep things crazy. It's part of their purpose and identity. Children are the delightful labyrinths of life. I am Will's mom, his one and only silly flawed loving mom. We were made for each other. We're literally sharing a body; he's camped out beneath my heart, making his presence known. We're in this together. I don't need to put pressure on myself to jump 100 steps ahead - every single mother on earth starts right here.
Right here, feeling the little belly kisses of their boy or girl, wondering what they'll be like and how life will change. Right here, registering for things they've never even heard of. Right here, experiencing physical and emotional changes that take them completely by surprise. Right here, scared of labor, hoping for the best, anxious to see their baby's face, hoping their baby is cute, knowing they'll love them anyway.
Right here is a pretty great place to start.