Things I Feel Pressure to be Good at Now That I’m a Mom

We’ve all heard about those over-achieving parents who pull all-nighters for bake sales and lead Girl Scouts or whatever.

Even as a new mom with a baby I have somehow felt pressure to compete with other moms right out of the gate. There’s societal pressure to be feeding my kids food that’s not covered in chemicals or is only fed gold or owns its own land or whatever, sure, but let’s talk about the real societal pressures I feel as a new mom. Here are a few things I feel pressure to be good at now that I have progeny:

Knitting

I don’t know when this happened but suddenly everyone in the world who had a baby knows how to knit. I’m not sure why knitting is the thing, or when every other mom but me finds time, but it has become some strange part of having a baby. I tried for a few weeks to knit but everything I made ended up looking sort of crooked and lumpy and uncouth. Anyway, knitting is not for me. But I can make really nice-looking friendship bracelets out of hemp so I’m hoping that comes in handy at some point.

Having emotions ooze out of your pores

Every mom blog or Momstagram or Facemom I’ve ever seen has been dripping with profound emotional release and analysis. I’ve pored over stories of moms wondering how in the world they got so lucky and missing each passing stage and packing up old baby clothes with tears in their eyes. Personally, I just can’t quite get there with my own social media presence. I feel those things, certainly, but I’m terrible at letting the world know about them. Most of the time when I try to say how much I love being a mom it comes out as me making some joke about how my kid’s nickname should be Cuteness Everdeen. That joke is good because it’s word play but it’s also topical. Anyway.

Art and/or crafts

I’m not going to attempt to describe specific art forms I’ve seen some moms take part in (mostly because a lot of it is really outside of my comprehension), but we all know the moms I’m talking about. They know how to do weird stuff involving dying clothes with fruits and vegetables, making flower crowns, and designing their own felt books. And I’m over here like, “paper airplanes, anyone?”

Healthy baking

Not being sexist here at all, because being good in the kitchen is definitely not a necessary part of being a woman or being a mom (case in point, this guy! *points to self*), but it is quite common among the moms I follow on social media to be conveniently extraordinarily skilled at baking. Like maybe they went to school for it at some point? They have master’s degrees in the culinary arts? I don’t know, but somehow it seems like every time I refresh my Instagram feed there is a new photo of some gluten-free-vegan-no-sugar-somehow-still-cookies cookies and I’m busy worshipping my idols of the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Alternative/natural medicinal practices

When did cooking oils become standard moisturizers? And when did rubbing those oils on the bottom of our feet become common practice? I don’t know, but weird health stuff is everywhere. My family’s into it, actually, and always trying to learn new things about natural health, but I really can’t compete with the apparent knowledge of my fellow moms. I’m talking about the moms who make their own soaps and wear diffuser necklaces and always smell kind of like patchouli. You guys win, okay?!

Singing

Okay, this is just unfair. Singing is a natural gift only some of us are granted at birth. So how is it that every mom seems to have an extraordinary voice? Thank goodness for that whole “babies prefer the voices of their parents to everyone else’s no matter what” thing because otherwise we would really be in trouble.

Babywearing

I love babywearing, but it took me a long time and many YouTube videos to get the hang of the carriers I have. It seems like all the moms I meet are somehow wearing their babies in public places while holding bags of various things and pushing five other kids in strollers and walking two dogs and singing with their perfect singing voices. It’s not even fair.

Creating more hours in the day

Not sure how it’s possible, but many of the moms I observe on social media seem to have time I didn’t even know existed. Some days, even though I work from home, we will have only left the house once or twice and it’s already time for bed. And I only have one kid! Some of these moms make you say “how do they find enough hours in the day to do all of this stuff with their kids?!” But then you realize that they are magic and they made their own additional hours somehow. Don’t worry, guys, I’m right here with you in real time.

The New Parent’s Guide to Getting the Most out of Date Night

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT start a date night without having a plan beforehand. “What do you feel like doing tonight?” is not part of the new parent’s date night vocabulary.

[su_highlight background=”#E08283″]1 | Plan Ahead[/su_highlight]

Use some spare time during the week to discuss plans for date night. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT start a date night without having a plan beforehand. “What do you feel like doing tonight?” is not part of the new parent’s date night vocabulary.

[su_highlight background=”#E08283″]2 | Prepare Logistically[/su_highlight]

Aside from taking time before the date to discuss plans, you might find it useful to take time to actually prepare the specifics of the date in advance. Whether that means getting a hair cut a few days before the date or renting your significant other’s favorite movies on your way home from work, you can definitely benefit from doing those things before you’re on that babysitter’s clock. Time is of the essence, people.

[su_highlight background=”#E08283″]3 | Plan some fun family time pre-date[/su_highlight]

Before my husband and I go out, we like to make sure we have some bonding time with our son. Since we have a baby, that looks like an evening round of elaborate hide-and-seek or reading his favorite books five or six times through before we go. Whatever it is for you, getting time with your little ones before a date is always a good idea. That way they will feel more relaxed when the sitter comes and you won’t feel guilty for having too much fun while you’re away.

[su_highlight background=”#E08283″]4 | Get energized[/su_highlight]

Re-charge from the day on your way to the date with a coffee or an energy drink. But obviously use a drive-thru because, here’s the thing: you’re a parent and therefore you do not have time to actually get out of the car anymore. NO STOPS ON THE WAY TO THE DATE.

[su_highlight background=”#E08283″]5 | Stay Close to Home[/su_highlight]

Sure, date night is great for trying out new restaurants or bars outside of your usual stomping grounds, but the last thing you want is for the majority of your date to be spent in the car. Staying nearby gives you the freedom to relax on your date without having to worry too much about drive times, traffic, or unforeseen circumstances. Then you can focus on what really matters: the perfect, beautiful, wonderful, glorious LOVE.

[su_highlight background=”#E08283″]6 | Shoot for More Activities in Fewer Locations[/su_highlight]

Lots of couples try to squeeze a ton of plans into a small period. This leads to lots of rushing around and stressing about getting where you need to be on time. For those couples, a good alternative is to go somewhere where many options are available in close proximity to one another. That’s where things like movie theater/bowling alleys and karaoke restaurants come in really handy. Dueling piano bars? Sure. Those too.

couple-romance

[su_highlight background=”#E08283″]7 | Be Honest[/su_highlight]

Sticking to the plan is always good when it comes to using date time wisely. But hey, if your plans suck, make new ones! If you two discover that the modern art exhibit isn’t exactly what you thought it would be or you actually don’t know anyone at the boring charity event, just actually walk the eff out. Seriously, leave. You are parents now, you don’t have time for pleasantries.

[su_highlight background=”#E08283″]8 | Limit Screen Time[/su_highlight]

Oh great, another parenting article preaching less screen time. But at least in this case we’re talking about the parents themselves. It would be nice if we were disciplined enough to just say “no” to our phones for an entire night out with our soulmates. But the truth is, this is time off from parenting for a bit too, and we might want to spend a few minutes of that time on Instagram. Hey, that’s okay! But we can make the most of our date time by setting aside a big portion of the night as phoneless ahead of time.

[su_highlight background=”#E08283″]9 | CHILL[/su_highlight]

It’s a good idea to do something during the date night period that you wouldn’t be able to do on just any old night. But that could just mean eating an entire pint of ice cream and watching something R-rated. There’s no shame in getting a babysitter to Netflix and Chill. DO NOT BE ASHAMED OF WHO YOU ARE.

[su_highlight background=”#E08283″]10 | Check out your Date[/su_highlight]

Whatever the date night activity, take a few minutes out to just look at your sweetheart and think about how hot and funny and intelligent and all around great they are. Sneak your arm around their shoulder when they’re not looking. Flirt with them a little. Hell, cop a feel here and there. This is your night, parents. Take advantage of it.

Beyond “Sleep When the Baby Sleeps” – 7 Tips For New Parents That Are Actually Useful

Throughout my pregnancy I mostly heard the same advice over and over.  To help out all the soon-to-be-mamas out there, I’ve compiled a list of my all-time favorite, never before heard newborn survival tips.

When I was pregnant with my son I was big. I started showing early and, by 28 weeks, people were asking how far past my due date I was.

Despite not being able to see my feet or shave my legs, I loved being big. I’d looked forward to experiencing pregnancy since I was a little girl and, after the loss of my first pregnancy at nearly 10 weeks, my round belly and the constant kicks my little one gifted me with felt very reassuring.

The only downside to being so obviously pregnant for so much of my pregnancy was that it left me absolutely inundated with advice.

Reminiscent grandmas told me to “savor every second” and haggard moms in the grocery store shouted over their own fighting kids that I better “sleep now because you won’t for the next 10 years.”

Strangers on the street stopped me to tell me what I should and shouldn’t be eating and the best positions to labor in. Though trying to process all the advice coming my way was tiring, a big part me was listening, desperately, for anything that I thought might help ease into the biggest transition of my life.

Though I didn’t know exactly what parenthood was going to be like, I did know that life was going to change in a big way and, every day of my pregnancy that passed, I got a little more nervous about what was ahead.

Throughout my pregnancy I mostly heard the same advice over and over.

While “sleep while the baby sleeps” actually turned out to be a pretty good tip, there were several gems, uttered by family and friends and strangers, that came to be far more important in my sons first few months.

To help out all the soon-to-be-mamas out there, I’ve compiled a list of my all-time favorite, never-before-heard newborn survival tips.

New baby mom and dad

1 | Buy a mattress pad, not for the crib, but for your bed

This one came from my aunt. Though I’d always heard mom’s talking about the importance of the little plastic under sheets that keep the baby’s crib mattress clean and dry in the case of a diaper incident, I’d never thought of getting one for my bed until my aunt told me it was an absolute necessity.

The thing is, the baby won’t just be having blowouts in its own bed – it will also, definitely, be pooping and spitting up and peeing all over yours too.

During the newborn period you will also be exhausted and, while it may be hard to imagine now, I promise that there will be a night (or a lot of nights) when your baby does one of these things and you, in your utter desperation for sleep, just throw a towel over the spot and scoot over.

It’s times like these you’ll be particularly grateful that you have a mattress pad under your own sheets.

2 | Don’t even bother with a baby bathtub

As I browsed the bathing section of Babies-r-Us, my husband pushing the cart and me massaging my growing bump, I imagined the not-to-far-off day I would be giving my own child their very first bath.

As I tried to imagine which tub my son would like best, a toddler mom zipped past and shouted, over her shoulder “skip the tub, they’re never going to use it!”

On that day I didn’t believe her and, as I bought the fancy tub, I wondered why other people always seemed to think they had a right to give advice. And then my son was born and, indeed, he never ever used his fancy little tub.

I tried to set it up once, but, before I could get it out of the box, my son spit up on me and, as I stripped off my own shirt, I decided a co-shower would be pleasant.

I was surprised at how much my boy seemed to love snuggling up to me under the warm water and, from that night forward, I didn’t even try to get the tub from it’s box.

3 | It’s cool to keep wearing your maternity clothes

… and I don’t mean for just a few weeks. Once, when my son was about a year and a half old a co-worker complimented my sweater and asked where I got it – I sheepishly replied that it was a maternity sweater. Almost immediately all other moms in the group, even those with kids well into elementary school shouted out that they were still wearing a few maternity favorites.

No, you might not want to keep wearing the shirt that says “baby on board,” but if something fits well and looks good don’t ditch it just because it says maternity on the label.

4 | Stock up on restaurant gift cards while your pregnant

After you have a baby people are nice to you. For a little while at least, they cook you meals and shovel your driveway and ask if you need a sitter.

All too soon, though, they totally forget about you and you’re stuck with a cluster-feeding one-month old, a bank account running on empty due to unexpected baby expenses and absolutely nothing for dinner.

A friend suggested I splurge on a few restaurant gift cards with money people give me at my shower and, a few months later, I was deeply grateful she had suggested it.

5 | Get some kind of stretchy, wrappy thing for your jiggly-wiggly post-birth belly

I’m sure it’s possible for your belly to shrink back to it’s normal size without being held together in a compression tank top, but I’m not sure that it would have been possible for me to walk out of the hospital without one.

In the hours, days and weeks after giving birth, it felt like my organs were bouncing around falling back into place every time I took a step – that’s because my organs were bouncing around and falling back into place every time I took a step. I got a cheapo post-natal wrap off Amazon, but I’m sure that just about any tight tank top or wrap marketed for this purpose will do.

This piece of advice came from the woman checking me out at the maternity store and, in those first few weeks, I was immensely grateful that I had listened.

6 | Pick a pediatrician whose office is near good restaurants

There are a lot of articles on picking a pediatrician – these articles suggest you find someone who shares your parenting philosophy, who is a good listener and who will work with you to meet your parenting goals.

These things are important, but what really matters, is what restaurants are next door to their office. In your baby’s first year of life you’re going to take a ridiculous number of trips to the doctor – it’s also likely going to be one of the only places you’re able to get yourself out the door to in the early weeks, so make each visit count by rounding it into a lunch or dinner outing somewhere good.

This parenting tip is all my own and, as I chow down after every doctor’s appointment, I give myself a hearty pat on the back for choosing my pediatrician so wisely.

7 | Just go ahead and buy the bulk pack

Before I had my son I didn’t think I would allow him to use a pacifier. I worried they would destroy my sons nursing latch or mess up his future teeth, but five days in, when I realized that he needed to be sucking something LITERALLY 24/7, I broke down, bought a pack of pacifiers and regained a tiny piece of the sanity I’d lost over the past few days.

My son was soothed by a pacifier, but also had a tendency to spit them so quietly and surreptitiously that we often found ourselves tearing the house apart to try to locate one as he fussed on the verge of waking up in his crib.

A turning point in my life came when, on another mad dash to the store for more pacifiers, my mom suggested I just but five packs. A light bulb went on, and I thanked her for her genius. That afternoon I distributed the 15 new pacifiers among the rooms of my home and my little one was rarely out of reach of one for long.

Whether your kid’s thing is pacifiers or a specific type of blanket or swaddle, do yourself a favor and just go ahead and buy the big pack – they’ll use it, I promise.

So, soon-to-be parents and already-parents out there: What’s the most useful parenting advice you’ve ever received?

A Simple Note to a Brand New Mother

Tonight is a special night – it’s the very first night of your baby’s life. Yesterday, they weren’t here, and today they are.

Dear Brand New Mother,

Tonight is a special night – it’s the very first night of your baby’s life. Yesterday, they weren’t here, and today they are. You’ve known they were there coming for a long time, and, for months and months you’ve tried your best to imagine what they’ll look like and who they’ll be.

Tonight, now, you know. The moments before they came were hard, harder than you ever imagined they could be, but, with that first cry, you became their mother and them your child. It was seamless really; they slipped into your heart like they’d been there all along.

While they grew inside, you felt your baby’s kicks and wiggles and hiccups, you sang to them and read to them, you loved them already but, also, you wondered. You wondered about motherhood and love and what their voice would sound like.

Today, when your eyes found theirs, you were shocked to realize how simply “them” they were. The moments after their birth were loud and happy – there were pictures and calls and tears of joy. Right now, though, in the darkness and the quiet of their very first night, take the time to look them up and down, to examine every perfect wrinkle and to kiss every crease.

As you examine them, mama, know that you have a big job ahead.

Sleeping Newborn Baby Wearing a Light Blue Bonnet

First you see those little eyes, opening and closing drowsily, dreaming already.

Those eyes will see, first, blurrily, your face. And then they’ll see lights and then colors and then, soon, the whole world. There will be sunsets that splash the sky in pinks and yellows and trains that move faster than they thought was possible.

They’ll see the smile you give you partner on their first birthday and watch you clap your hands with glee as they take their first steps.

They’ll see the tears you cry as you walk them into their first classroom and the worry that creases your brown when their fever spikes.

Those tiny, beautiful, blinking eyes- the ones that will see the beauty of the world anew, they’ll also, surely, see pain and sorrow and hate. They’ll see their first dog buried, and their first crush turns away and the letter saying they didn’t get in. They’ll see people hurt others without reason and watch violence haunt our world.

Those eyes, those beautiful eyes, will turn to you mama, every time they see something new, to ask for help understanding. It’ll be your job to help them see that for every terrible thing that happens, there are a hundred wonderful things that follow. It’ll be your job to teach them to see the good in the world and each person that they meet.

You must teach them mama, to use those eyes to look for ways they can help make the world a better place.

baby ears

Right on the sides of that tiny little head, you see those ears- so small and round and soft.

Though today was the first that they heard so clearly, they’ve been using those ears for a while- they’ve heard you sing, and they know your voice. Those ears will hear every word you that say- they’ll hear you tell them how much you love them and how proud you are of the person they’re becoming.

They’ll hear you tell their teacher that they’re trying and tell their dad you can’t believe how fast they’re growing up. They’ll hear birdsong and thunderstorms and crashing waves. They’ll hear laughter and song and the secrets of friends but, along with the beauty, they’ll probably also hear things they wished they didn’t.

They’ll hear small people with big microphones telling the world to hate and bullies, both small and grown, calling names. They’ll hear the cries of a friend less fortunate and the sadness that the evening news brings home. Even when you think, or hope, that they’re not paying attention, those little ears will hear it all.

Your job mama is to teach that baby how to listen- to listen to what matters to other people and to what makes them happy and what makes them sad- to listen and then to respond- to comfort and to carry and to help.

Gavin Alphonso Hughes

Below those little ears and right above their rounded chin is their beautiful mouth.

Oh mama, do you see that mouth?! All bowed lips and rooting, rooting, rooting. That mouth will one day be the vessel that carries your child’s words out into the world. At first, they’ll use that mouth to suckle, to eat and to grow.

They’ll use it to cry when their belly is empty and to coo when it’s full. That mouth will give first, slobbery, kisses and will utter first words with pride. It will sing and shout and yawn and laugh.

You’ll come to know the voice that leaves that mouth better than your own and to be comforted by the simple sound of their “hello.”

Sometimes, though, that mouth might be used to spit words with hate instead of love or with anger instead of peace. When a friend betrays them or a teacher grades them poorly, they might use it spread rumors or insults. When they’ve done something they’re not proud of that mouth may twist into a lie and say things they wish they could take back.

Your job mama is to help your child learn to use that mouth for good, to spread joy and happiness and truth, to express sadness and pain, to tell someone that they love them. You must teach them how words can hurt or help or heal, and that when their angry or sad or confused, their voice will be their most valuable tool.

You must, mama, teach your little one that their mouth should be used to speak up not only for themselves but also for those who have no voice.

Baby holding Thumb

Below their chin and their chest, right at ends of those rounded arms and rolling wrists are the hands that you’ve waited your whole life to hold.

Look at the beauty of those hands, the creases as they flex, the tiny fingernails, the softness of their palms!

Impossibly small, those hands squeezed your finger today, and, your heart, already swollen, threatened to beat right out of your chest. Those tiny hands, flexing and pawing, will be the hands through which your child explores the world.

They’ll tangle in your hair as they nurse or cuddle and be used to bring toys to mouth over and over and over again. Those hands will scribble with crayons and will pat the dog. They’ll write out letters and then words and then sentences. They’ll catch and throw and whittle and work.

Those hands will fold a first shirt and cook a first meal; they’ll cup a lightning bug and hug a friend, they’ll brush the knee of their first date and retreat, quickly, as their own heart begins to pound. Those hands will grow and harden but, whenever you take them in yours, you’ll be reminded that they were once this small.

Those hands, as tiny and perfect as they are now, might also someday hit. They might push or slam doors or snatch a coveted toy from a friend. Those hands might copy answers from another child’s test or slap the books from the arms of a classmate.

It’ll be your job mama to help your child learn to use their hands with grace. You must teach them to be gentle and kind, to reach downward to help others up when they fall and to carry the load when others are weak.

It’ll be your job to help them find meaningful, purposeful work to do with those hands, work that makes a difference and that leaves them happy and fulfilled.

Newborn baby feet, close up macro details

 

Oh, the feet! Down their trunk and below their thighs and knees and ankles are the feet that were kicking and pushing you from the inside just yesterday.

By now, they’ve been graced with a thousand kisses. Eventually, those feet will be the way your child makes their way around the world. Kept warm in booties and socks, they’ll kick with glee before they’re used for walking.

The first, shaky, steps will turn quickly into the walk and then the run, of a toddler and then a child. Those feet will take your little one around your house and your neighborhood and your city. They’ll chase and kick and dance. They’ll feel the sand between their toes and grass tickling their arches.

Those feet, so tiny now, will take your child to their first day of work and down the aisle and to faraway places you’ve never been.

Sometimes, though, those little feet might go astray; they may lead your child places they don’t want to go or to places they shouldn’t be.

Your job, mama, will be to teach that baby to use their feet wisely. You must teach them to run as fast as they can and to rest as long as they need. You must teach them that their feet should carry them to new and interesting places and that, when they get there, those feet should guide them towards people who will be kind to them.

You must teach your child to let their feet carry them to places of beauty and places of need and, with enough steps, help them realize they’re often one and the same.

baby-hand

Oh, mom, tonight is a very special night.

Tonight is the very first night of your baby’s life. As you hold them tonight and thank the grace and glory and magic that brought them to you, look deeply into their eyes and show them how happy you are that they’re here.

As your eyes fill with tears, both of joy and of amazement, lean into their ear and whisper how much you love them. As you sing their first lullaby, trace their lips with your finger and listen for their coo’s and sighs. As you count their fingers and their toes, over and over again, rub their hands and feet and promise them that you be there, always, to guide them.

You’ve got a big job ahead – a job that’s both harder and more wonderful than any other.

Your baby is here now mama. And tonight, this very night, is the night that their life begins.

Why I Recommend Doulas to All of My Friends

A doula’s job is thought to be coaching laboring mothers, but I was most thankful for the way she prepared us for what would actually happen.

 


It’s 5 AM, the day before D-Day (Delivery Day, in this case).  I’m lying in bed and, unsurprisingly, not feeling so hot, when my phone vibrates on the bedside table.

“From what you describe, it looks like this could be the beginnings of it!  Try to sleep a bit and call me as soon as you wake up!” reads the message on the screen.  I sigh with relief, thankful beyond words for this woman’s constant support.

This woman is my doula, or my birth partner (though birth partners come in many shapes, sizes, and titles).  I loved my birth partner so much that whenever a friend gets pregnant, the first thing I recommend is that she find one for herself.

Birth partners, in general, are the best.  Technically, when I gave birth to my son, I had three birth partners (because I was blessed to have my husband and my mother with me as well). But here I’ll focus my soapbox mainly on the benefits of having a doula.

While I had two birth partners already, I am still so glad we hired a doula as well.  In fact, since neither my husband nor I knew anything about pregnancy and childbirth going into it, I often thought of her as more of a birth partner for both of us.

First, there’s the pregnancy doula.

She’s an incredibly sweet and caring individual. Our doula served as a fountain of practical wisdom for us during pregnancy, and boy, did we drink from that fountain often.

My husband and I met with our doula four or five times in the prenatal stage when we discussed all the things we could expect during pregnancy and the birthing experience.  She also gave us her phone number and instructed us to call or text any time we had questions or concerns between meetings.  That meant me texting her at least once a week with questions about what vitamins wouldn’t make me vomit or how much tuna fish pregnant women could eat and on and on.

Needless to say, she’s a very patient woman.

Unlike experienced friends or search engines, my doula wasn’t trying to scare me or make me impatient for delivery during the pregnancy stage. Instead, she encouraged an educated sense of calm and a peaceful sense of joy.  (Which was often a full-time job in itself.)

The early stages of having a doula justified hiring her because she got us through many days of anxiety and irrational concern.  Looking back, I should have baked her a cake or something.

Then came the birthing experience.

While a huge part of a doula’s job is coaching laboring mothers on that magical day (or days, in many cases), I was more thankful for the way in which our doula prepared us for what would actually happen.

It’s certainly important to be informed about what will happen at the hospital during and after birth. There are many ways to get this information, and my husband and I were well-versed in all of them. We participated in the whole gamut of birthing preparatory activities, dutifully attending all prenatal appointments, signing up for every birthing class that was offered, reading loads of books, talking to our parent-friends, and even downloading all of the pregnancy apps.

But the birthing information that our doula offered us was without a doubt the most helpful information we received the entire time we were preparing for the big day.

Our doula taught us about all of the important decisions we would need to make when it came to the birth and our new baby (who knew there were so many?).  She gave us the information we needed  and then encouraged us to take our time in thoughtfully considering each one.  Finally, on the big day, our doula knew what we wanted and then served as an advocate for those desires.  All of this was extremely important to us because, as it turned out, giving birth is a little distracting, and moms and dads can easily forget how they want things to go or what is important to them.  For us, working for what we wanted looked like creating a calming environment for our birth with dim lights and soft sounds.  Our doula was on top of those things, so we didn’t need to be.

Finally comes the postpartum doula.

She is gracious and dedicated.  After birth, we met with our doula several times to talk about my transition into motherhood and any questions or concerns that arose along the way.  That was great for me because I had what seemed like millions, but even for those more experienced mothers, doulas have their place.  They are often most helpful in their tendency to just be there for new mothers, listening to silly stories or poring over new baby photos.  I can even more confidently encourage my friends to hire doulas now because, well, I’m still in contact with my doula today!

It is because of all of this that I say, before you start crib-shopping, start shopping for a birth partner!  (Especially given how much my son hates his crib, I can definitely say that I made the right the choice.)