Lesson 12: Take a class. Or two.

Bo and I spent about 8 hours on a Saturday learning how to be parents. Who knew that’s all it would take? 8 hours and you’re a pro!

Here’s Bo after he learned how to swaddle.

Parenting class

But in all seriousness, if your hospital offers parenting or birthing classes, go for it. At the least, you’ll meet other expectant parents in your area. And you might learn a thing or two while you’re at it!

We also both attended a breastfeeding class, and I can’t say I took much away from that one (wake my baby every 2 hours to feed? No thanks. He’ll let me know when he’s hungry–and he did.). I can’t say I used much of their advice other than the “football hold,” which was great for learning to hold a breastfeeding infant in the beginning. Mostly? I just wanted to learn how to use my damn pump that looked like it came from another planet. I’ve had boobs practically my whole life, but the pump was totally foreign to me. They barely touched on pumping but, fortunately, it was a rather quick learning curve–even if it was intimidating at first.

In all, we learned the most from doing and from the advice of helpful family and friends. Once you have a newborn, you just do what you have to do to survive. Maybe you’ll follow the advice of others; maybe you’ll borrow that advice and recreate it to make it your own; maybe you’ll completely ignore the advice and carve your own path. Whatever, you’ll get through it. You don’t really have a choice, ya know?

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Lesson 11: To circumcise or not to circumcise?

If you’re pregnant with a baby boy, you’ll need to decide whether or not you want to circumcise him. In most places in the U.S., it’s assumed that you will and your insurance will cover it as long as you have the procedure performed before you leave the hospital. Fact check me on that, because that’s what I’ve gathered, not what I’ve researched.

It never occurred to me that this would be an actual decision—everybody does it, right? Wrong. Of course it’s a decision. Circumcision means that you alter your little boy’s penis forever. And ever. No take-backs. When I found out I was having a boy, I quickly realized that this choice was (partly, at least) in my hands. And all of a sudden? It seemed like a huge decision.

I told Bo that he needed to research it and decide. He is, after all, a male with certain male parts that I do not have. That alone seemed to make him more qualified. He seemed a little surprised at first that I was struggling with this so much. But the thought of performing any potentially painful procedure on my tiny, defenseless little baby boy was enough to reduce me to tears. I couldn’t fathom it and I wanted a way out. I wanted to do research and find that it was outdated and silly and no longer necessary.

So I started the process of Googling and Oh. My. God. If I was concerned about my baby’s well-being before? I was terrified after reading up on Google about all the terrible things that could go wrong!

It’s genital mutilation! The pain will mentally damage your child forever! He won’t enjoy sex! He could die!

It is unnecessary!

Hmmm…

Although they all made my stomach turn and caused pause, I just didn’t buy into most of those reasons. But unless we were doing it for religious purposes (and we wouldn’t be), maybe, just maybe, it was unnecessary.

In the end, we spoke to our baby’s pediatrician and he supported the research Bo had found: circumcision decreases the risk of urinary tract infections and penile cancer. It can also reduce the risk of contracting and spreading STD’s, specifically HIV.

For me, reducing the risk of UTI’s was only a hygiene issue. If we kept our son’s penis clean and taught him to do the same, it would equalize the risk.

And as for penile cancer? It only occurs in 1 in 100,000  men anyway.

And STD’s? Look, we’re going to teach our kid about safe sex and encourage him to wrap it up. Yeah, we can’t always guarantee that he will, but whether or not he’s circumcised doesn’t change the importance of that.

What rate of reduction in risks justified circumcising my son?

So I told Bo I wasn’t convinced. I just wasn’t convinced that our son needed to be circumcised. But he pointed out to me that, even if it reduces the risks only slightly, isn’t any reduction in risk worth it? What if our son was the 1 in 100,000 who contracted penile cancer? Would I be ok knowing that, perhaps, I could have prevented it?

With both the pediatrician and my husband presenting this evidence to me, I acquiesced and agreed to have J circumcised. But quite honestly, I’m still not 100% convinced that we made the right decision. Is it going to have a detrimental effect on him? No. But did we have to do it? No.

I will say, I swear that circumcision had a negative impact on our breastfeeding relationship (in the beginning). On the first day of J’s life, he nursed like a champ. He never had any trouble latching on and he did so frequently.

On the second day, after his circumcision, he quit eating. He slept for 12 hours and never nursed during that time. By the early morning of day 3 I was concerned, even though the lactation consultant assured me that it was normal for baby boys to sleep so long after circumcision. As instructed, I kept waking him to feed and he kept failing to latch.

Finally, frustrated and worried that my son wouldn’t have enough to eat, I gave him a bottle of formula on the third day. No, there’s nothing wrong with formula. But you know what? It’s not what I chose for my son. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed him and I felt like a failure when it didn’t work.

We struggled for the first 3 months of J’s life, trying to get him to latch. I pumped and bottle-fed and it was miserable. I was elated when he finally latched on again, without the assistance of a nipple shield (which I refused to use after the first couple of weeks because it was so frustrating for both J and me).

Next time, if we have a boy, I don’t know if I’ll agree to circumcision. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll wait to have him circumcised. Maybe I won’t do it at all. But this time I’ll be armed with knowedge and experience.

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Lesson 10: Prepare the nursery!

We waited until after finding out the gender of our baby before we started decorating the nursery. But, we already knew how we were going to decorate for either gender well in advance. So we were ready to go! That’s one thing I look forward to the next time–not knowing the gender in advance will force me to be a lot more creative.

My husband spent a full day painting the nursery and hanging a ceiling fan. We moved the furniture in and set it up. Finally, I got to organize all the tiny clothes and diaper supplies in the closet and drawers. A lot of people told me to hold off on cutting the tags off and washing clothes (in case he wasn’t the right size at the right time), but I wanted everything set up. I don’t regret that decision at all.

I admit to having J’s nursery finished in November–I was due the following April and gave birth in March. So yeah, I was perhaps a little overzealous. But I loved having it set up so early because it gave me something tangible to look at and touch when I got impatient for his arrival. Plus, I’m an organization freak, so I got to organize and re-organize all his tiny little possessions several times.

Daddy prepares the nursery Daddy preparing the nursery Diaper changing station Nursery decor

Crib

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Lesson 9: Choose a pediatrician

One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a new parent is who your child’s pediatrician will be. Hopefully you’ll be able to choose somebody with whom you are comfortable and who shares a similar parenting philosophy with you.

We received a referral for J’s pediatrician from a family member. We were fairly confident that we would use him, but we did want to meet him first. I’ll admit to feeling just a little silly, calling to schedule an appointment for an interview with him (especially when the receptionist acted like I was speaking in a foreign language—apparently it’s not very common around here for parents to request to interview a pediatrician before deciding on one); but it was very important to us that we felt confident and comfortable with (we’ll just call him) Dr. R before entrusting our child’s most valuable possession to him: his health.

To start, I called Dr. R’s receptionist and asked to schedule a new-patient interview. She was very puzzled by this request and I had to explain to her several times that I was pregnant, hoping to use Dr. R as my child’s pediatrician, and would like to schedule a meeting with him. She kept explaining to me what I needed to do once J was born to establish him as a patient. With persistence, I finally managed to make her understand that, before I was going to entrust a doctor with my child’s health, I at least wanted to shake his hand, ya know?

To his credit, Dr. R was not at all surprised or put out by us wanting to meet him, and so we scheduled an appointment for one day during his lunch break.

So, once the first obstacle was overcome, it occurred to me that I had no idea what I needed to ask him. I knew I wanted to be comfortable with him…but what would make me comfortable?

Here’s what I found while researching “what the hell do I ask my future baby doctor?”

First, if you don’t have a pediatrician in mind, the American Academy of Pediatrics  and Healhychildren.org provide a great Find a Pediatrician tool.

I’m going to skip the discussion on insurance, degree, years of experience and cleanliness of the office. Because? Duh.

Location. Your pediatrician’s office location is important. He may be the best doctor in the world, but if it takes 45 minutes to travel there when your child is sick, you might want to rethink it.

Office Hours. Is your pediatrician available during the times and on the days that are consistent with your schedule? This is something we weren’t very picky about because most doctors in our area have the same hours—8am-5pm, Monday-Friday. But we did make sure to find out what happened if our child was sick outside of normal business hours. Which leads me to…

After-hours. Is your pediatrician affiliated with a local hospital or after-hours clinic where your child can be seen if an illness doesn’t have the courtesy to check a calendar or clock? Is an on-call pediatrician available after-hours?

Scheduling. How long does it take to schedule an appointment? It’s one thing to have to wait several weeks for a well-visit, but if your child is sick you’ll want him seen within 24 hours. Can you make an appointment on short notice? If your pediatrician is unavailable, is there another doctor in the practice who will be able to see your child?

Time. How much time does your pediatrician spend with you and your child? It’s important that you never feel rushed, especially as a new parent. If you have 20 questions you need answered, you need those questions answered without the doctor sneaking a look at his watch every few seconds. His time is valuable—but so is yours. This is the one thing we love the most about Dr. R. He’s there for as long as we need him, whether that’s 5 minutes or an hour. He answers all of our questions patiently, in as much detail as necessary, and never acts rushed. He’s like this with every patient so that sometimes means appointment times are late, but it’s a trade-off we’re more than willing to accept.

Waiting room(s). I love the idea of having a well-visit waiting room separate from a sick waiting room. We compromised on that one, since Dr. R’s office isn’t set up that way. But it’s the one thing I would change if I could.

Vaccinations. I’m not going to get into the right or wrong on vaccinating your child. I won’t discuss it in this post, and I won’t blog about it later. I’m not avoiding it because it isn’t important and I’m not avoiding it because I worry about offending anybody or avoiding confrontation (this is my blog and my opinions—I get to write what I want, and you get to read what you want). I’m avoiding it because there is no point in arguing about it. There’s plenty of scientific research out there that proves there is much more risk to not vaccinating your child than to vaccinating, and that’s what we choose to go by. So, do what you will.

As for me and my family, we choose vaccination. And because of that, I don’t particularly want my child mingling with any unvaccinated children while they’re sick at the doctor’s office. Many doctors require that their patients are vaccinated, or they won’t have them as patients. Decide what works for your family (to vaccinate or not to vaccinate?), then decide if this is an important factor to you in a doctor’s office.

Behavioral developments. There’s a lot more to practicing medicine than just writing a prescription. It was important to us that J’s pediatrician was one who took a multi-faceted approach and understood that mental and behavioral conditions have an effect on physical well-being. If we had behavioral questions or parenting concerns, we wanted to be able to ask him about them and have those questions taken seriously. We scored on that one because, not only does our doctor take this approach, his philosophies are very much in line with ours.

Personal opinions. Ask him his opinions on vaccinating, circumcision, breastfeeding, parenting methods, sleep training, etc. This isn’t important because he has to agree with you 100% (for one, your personal opinions will probably change once Baby arrives). It’s important because he needs to be open to discussing these things with you and you need to be comfortable asking him.

As it turns out, this is what did it for me. I was comfortable asking Dr. R his opinions on these things and I liked his answers. It isn’t that he’s noncommittal to a view, but more that he’s nonjudgmental. He recognizes that lots of different approaches work for lots of different families and kids—and they’re (almost) all valid.

After J was born and we got to know each other well, after he learned what was important to us as parents and as a family, he gave us the support we needed. For example, when J was about 4 months old, I was ready to wash my hands of breastfeeding. I was exhausted of it, frustrated and just generally over it. Because he had been so nonjudgmental and supportive of our decisions, he surprised me when he very sternly told me that it was important for me to continue breastfeeding and that we would discuss it again at J’s 6-month appointment. Had I been a parent who chose formula-feeding from the beginning, Dr. R. wouldn’t have batted an eye, or judged, or told me “breast is best!” But because I chose breastfeeding for my son, because I struggled with it and fought for it, because he knew how important it was to me, he didn’t let me get away with giving up just because I was feeling frustrated. He gave me the kick in the pants I needed, and I’m glad. It gives me confidence that he’ll do it again in the future if he needs to.

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Now, let’s revisit that registry

Starting a registry can be a bit daunting, especially if you visit one of those big baby stores like Buy Buy Baby or Babies ‘R Us. I personally love Buy Buy Baby because, while it can appear overwhelming at first, they’re set up in a such an organized fashion that a control-freak like me can jump right on board.

Before you ever go to the store, hop online and set up your registry yourself. You can browse the site and make a list of things you think you’ll like. It’s easy to edit it, so just go for it!

So, here it is…my registry favorites:

Gift cards. One thing I wasn’t prepared for was how much my views on parenting would change after my son arrived. You have to decide what you think your parenting philosophies might be, how you might tackle certain situations, but then be prepared and open to changing your mind. That will make some of the things you register for unnecessary, and it will also mean that you might need things you didn’t anticipate needing. So register for gift cards. You’ll use them for diapers and wipes if nothing else.

Clothing, etc.. Don’t waste your time buying a bunch of cute outfits in NB. For starters, bless your vagina, your baby may never even wear a NB size (did you know there’s a difference in NB and 0-3 months? Because there is.). And if he can wear it, he’ll probably only wear it for a few minutes for a cute photo op. Because in reality? All he needs is onesies those first few weeks.

  • Sleepers – skip the snaps, go for the zippers
  • Swaddling blankets – We didn’t find any use for L or XL, because we weren’t swaddling him by the time he could wear those sizes. We did love the kind that Velcro. They’re stupid-proof.
  • Socks and hats
  • Coming home outfit
  • And don’t forget to register for little hangers, because you will dress him in real clothes eventually!

Diapers. Cloth or disposable? Cloth diapering can be intimidating, but modern cloth diapers are super easy to use. We use both cloth and disposable.

  • If you’re going to go with disposable, register for a couple of different kinds. Only Pampers worked for us in the beginning, but now Huggies work better. If it weren’t for the fact that we buy our Huggies in bulk at Costco, we’d probably try Up&Up (Target brand) diapers, as I hear they’re really good. Either way, all babies are shaped differently, so different brands work better for different babies.
  • If you decide to go with cloth, you’ll need to do your research and decide what kind will work best for your family. There are pocket diapers, pre-folds, hybrids, etc. Cloths come with a pretty big start-up cost, so if you want to use them, choose a type (or two) and register for them. We use gDiapers hybrids for daycare and on-the-go (they allow the option to choose between biodegradable disposable inserts or cloth inserts) and Thirsties all-in-one’s for around the house. They’re easy and, by far, my favorite. Check out Diaper Junction for good deals on cloth diapers.
  • Diaper genie and refills for disposables and/or a trashcan with a foot petal and a wet-dry bag for cloth diapers
  • Wipes – Huggies are thick, meaning your finger probably won’t go through—you’ll appreciate that. We also like Up&Up wipes but, again, we buy our Huggies in bulk at Costco.

Monitor. I resisted a video monitor for a long time because I can be a bit obsessive and I pictured long nights of me staring at the monitor. We finally broke down and purchased one when he was a little over a year old because, as it turns out, I obsessed more over every little noise he made.

Baby-proofing gear. We keep baby-proofing to a minimum in our house preferring, instead, to house-proof our kid. However, we do have a few safety gates, cabinet locks and socket covers meant to maximize parental laziness.

First Aid.

  • Thermometer (rectal for the early days, ear for later).
  • Gripe water, particularly Mommy’s Bliss. I don’t know what kind of hoodoo they put in this stuff, but it calms him when he’s fussing for (apparently) no reason.
  • Tylenol, ibuprofren and benadryl
  • Mylicon (or the store brand, since it’s much cheaper)
  • NoseFrida – The concept is disgusting, but in actuality it has a filter and a very long tube, so nothing gets in your mouth. Plus? It works. We use ours with saline.
  • Alcohol swabs and Vaseline

Laundry detergent. You can spend the money on Dreft, or you can just get a free & clear version of your own detergent so that you can wash all of your clothes together. I’d recommend the latter because, while I know you realize you’ll be washing baby’s clothes frequently, you may not realize how often you’ll have to wash your own when they become covered in spit-up and poop multiple times a day. Or maybe I’m just jaded about the amount of laundry since J had acid reflux and spent the first year of his life projectile vomiting. All I know is, my laundry sorting went from whites, darks, or colors to dirty or clean.

Also, if you decide to go with cloth diapers, you’ll need cloth-diaper safe detergent. I used Charlie’s Soap for a while and it works well on cloth diapers. However, it’s pretty expensive and I find that it leaves a bad odor in the diapers after many washes. I prefer Ecos instead. It’s much cheaper so you can use it on all of your clothing and not just your diapers.

Nursing supplies. Even if you plan to nurse full-time, you could still benefit from owning a breast pump. Check with your insurance company, because you can probably get a high-quality pump for free.

  • Sterilizer bags and cleaning wipes for breast pump parts
  • Nursing bras or tanks – one size larger than normal worked great for me
  • Nursing cover – Cover up or don’t, I don’t care. Breasts are meant to nourish your baby, so they’re nothing to be ashamed of. If I see you out in public with your boob hanging out while you’re feeding your baby, it’s not going to make me uncomfortable in the slightest. But if you’re like me, you might be a little too modest for that. In that case, invest in a nursing cover. These are not all created equal. I prefer the Bebe au Lait covers because they give better coverage.
  • Lanolin – Medela brand is by far my favorite.

Feeding necessities. Even if you’re nursing, you’ll still need plenty of feeding supplies.

  • Skip the burp cloths and buy cloth diapers instead, preferably Birdseye. They’re cheaper and much more efficient.
  • Bibs – We loved the Tommee Tippee bibs because they have a collar that catches milk drool and spit-up. These are the best bibs for a newborn.
  • Bottle sterilizer – Skip it. You have a microwave, don’t you? If not, surely you have a large pot and water you can boil. You don’t need to sterilize with every use. We only sterilized brand new items. After that, the dishwasher did the trick.
  • Bottle warmer – Skip it. Just fill a large cup with hot water and set the bottle in it.
  • High chair – Why waste the space? We went with a booster instead.
  • Baby food maker – Don’t let the thought of making your own baby food scare you—it’s not as time-consuming as you might think. It saves a lot of money, and you know exactly what your baby is eating. Plus, it tastes a lot better! You can skip the baby food maker and use a blender or food processor, but I love my Cuisinart Baby. Love. It.
  • Bottles – Tommee Tippee bottles worked the best for us with a breastfed baby. Not only did our son prefer them, but they also worked best for my method of storing breast milk.
  • Level 1 & 2 nipples – As I mentioned before, we never had a need for level 3′s.
  • Bottle brush
  • Dishwasher basket – for all those tiny parts you don’t want to lose
  • Infant bowls, spoons and snack traps

Pacifiers. (If you plan to use them) We love Avent Soothies

Bath necessities. An infant tub isn’t a necessity, but it sure is handy.

  • Nail clippers and files – I just chewed his fingernails off when he was tiny–I know that sounds gross.
  • Brush and comb
  • Hooded towels and washcloths

Bedding. Crib, mattress, 2 mattress covers, 5-6 fitted sheets

Changing table. You don’t really need one of these, but a changing pad on a hutch works great. You’ll also need at least 2 covers for it.

Glider and ottoman. Splurge. You’ll use it.

Travel bedding. Pack ‘n Plays are great (get at least 2 sheets) and we definitely got a lot of use out of ours. However, the Rock ‘n Play was our BFF. When J wouldn’t sleep any other way but in my arms, he would sleep in this thing. I cannot say enough how sent straight from Jesus this thing is. Seriously.

Car seats. Pumpkin seats are fantastic for the first few months and I couldn’t have done without mine. But if you have two cars, just get one pumpkin seat. Go ahead and get a convertible seat for the other. Most likely, you have a primary car that you’ll use the majority of the time. Put the convertible in the other car. You’ll need two convertibles eventually, so why waste your money on a second base for the pumpkin seat (they’re about $80)? And don’t forget a mirror so you can see your little guy’s face since he’ll be rear-facing. A window shade is nice too.

Diaper bag. I love the organizing utility tote by Thirty-One

Stroller. If you buy a pumpkin seat, you’ll probably end up with a travel system and that’s great while you’re using the seat. But once baby’s too big for the pumpkin seat, it’s nice to have a stroller that’s more compact.

Baby carrier. Of course a carrier isn’t a necessity and it may not be your thing. But I thoroughly enjoy my Ergo and find that it’s pretty easy to use.

Miscellaneous.

  • Shopping cart cover – I used mine a handful of times, and only during flu season. But mostly, I’m too lazy to use it and our kid has turned out just fine.
  • Mobile – The ones that match the nursery décor are cute, but we traded ours pretty quickly for one with a remote. If you get one with your bedding set, you might consider hanging it over the changing table.
  • Sound machine – White noise!!
  • Swing, bouncer, exersaucer, jumper, bouncy seat, swing….get ‘em all if you have the room. Of course these are all personal decisions, but I loved having a lot of ways to keep him distracted and contained when I needed to get things done around the house. We probably could have gone with the exersaucer OR jumper, rather than both.
  • Activity mat – Skip it. Use a quilt and some toys.
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Lesson 8: Boy or Girl?

Will you find out if you’re having a boy or a girl? You better decide, because everybody will ask you.

My husband wanted a surprise and I said, “No way!!” I have to plan everything, and this was no exception.

So we found out what we were having, but kept it to ourselves for a few days. We wanted some time when it was just our secret, when nobody knew about our son except for us. Nobody knew yet that J was J.

Lucky for us, we found out a week before Thanksgiving. Since our families would be getting together for Thanksgiving anyway, we chose to reveal our baby’s gender at Thanksgiving dinner. We had a lot of fun planning, having the cake made and revealing to our family that they would be having another grandson/nephew.

But you know what? Next time, I want it to be a surprise. Next time, I don’t want to plan everything.

Next time, when someone asks me, “Are you having a boy or a girl?” I want to look at them, smile, and say, “Yup!”

Gender Reveal Cake

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When shoes aren’t a woman’s friend

I wear a size 10 when I’m not pregnant. So it’s always been challenging for me to find shoes that I love. The cute little size 6’s they put on display never look quite as good when you pull the same shoes out of their size 10 box. But I always managed to find shoes I could live with, even some that I loved.

When I was about 5 months pregnant, and my feet were a good size larger than normal, I decided I better get a couple of pairs of new shoes. I had been wearing flip-flops on my swollen feet even in the winter. In Alabama you can get away with that, but we were going to Oregon over the Christmas holidays, so I needed something warmer. My husband and I went to one of the largest malls in our area and we spent the entire day looking for shoes. Not only was I looking for a size 11(!!), but I was also bound and determined to only buy from the sale or clearance racks (I would never wear these shoes again, why pay big bucks for them?!). After visiting many stores, I finally asked a salesman for some help and he all but laughed at me when I showed him a cute little pair of dress shoes and asked for an 11.

Do you have these in an 11?

No.

What about these? Do you have these shoes in an 11?

No.

Well, what about these?

No.

Do you have any shoes in an 11?

Haha. No, I’m sorry. It’s not exactly a popular size.

Wait. Hang on. Did he really just laugh at me? I looked at him and burst into tears and I think it was about that time that he noticed my belly and I could tell he felt terrible. And good, he should. I walked away, called the shopping trip to a halt and we went home.

The next day, my husband brought me to another mall and told me, “Look, just find some shoes that you’re happy with. Don’t worry about whether or not they’re on sale.”

And he was right, I was narrowing my search too much by concentrating on the red clearance signs.

So we began our journey again. By the time we reached the third store that day, I was exhausted and totally over the whole shoe-shopping business. I walked in and started browsing, only to be approached by a young salesman. He asked me if he could help me and I told him, yes, that I really needed to find a couple of pairs of shoes in an 11. At this point, I didn’t care what they looked like, I just needed shoes.

That asshole looked me dead in the eye and said, “A man’s size 11?”

And I felt like somebody had punched me in my gut.

My husband said, “Uh-oh” and walked away.

And I very slowly turned away from the shelves of shoes I was browsing and I looked at the man straight in the eye and I said, “No. Not a man’s size 11. A woman’s size 11. I need a shoe in a VERY FAT, SWOLLEN FEET, PREGNANT WOMAN’S SIZE 11. Can you handle that?”

He tucked his tail and hurried to the back of the store, and before I knew it, I was seated on a bench with about 20 pairs of shoes at my disposal to try on.

And what do you know? They were on sale.

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Lesson 7: You get to buy a new wardrobe! Kinda…

I wasn’t sure when I was supposed to shop for and start wearing maternity clothes. But I had heard from some of my girlfriends that they just woke up one more morning and had a baby belly, where one had not been the night before. So I was a little afraid to wake up one morning with no pants that fit and then have to call in fat to work, know what I mean?

Like I mentioned before, I put on 4 pounds really quickly, but then my weight gain slowed down from there. However, even though the numbers on the scale weren’t increasing, my pants very quickly no longer fit me correctly. I learned to use a ponytail rubberband, to loop it around the button on my jeans, and then through the buttonhole, thereby giving me a little extra wiggle room. I was able to do that easily throughout the first trimester, but by the time the second trimester rolled around, it was definitely time for some stretchy pants.

I didn’t want to spend a fortune on clothes that I would only wear for about 6 months, and I figured I wouldn’t need much anyway: just a couple of pairs of pants I could rotate and a few tops. I could, surely, continue to wear my old sweaters and jackets. So with that in mind, I made my first shopping trip to Motherhood Maternity.

I was surprised to find that they had some really cute clothes, stylish and fun. Being pregnant didn’t mean I had to dress in a tint, so that was good. And I probably would have purchased way more than I intended on that first shopping trip if the sales lady had been less annoying. Look, I don’t typically shop with friends because I don’t like to socialize while I shop. I like to get in and get out. Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, as it were. So I nodded politely at the sales lady while trying to send her subtle messages to leave me alone, made a few purchases, and headed home.

I quickly realized that being pregnant meant feeling fat. And just like when a girl isn’t pregnant and is having a fat day, a pretty new outfit will cure that right up. So, back to Motherhood Maternity I would trek on those “fat days.”

It soon became glaringly obvious that the sales people at Motherhood Maternity are trained to annoy the hell out of their customers. I’m assuming the premise behind all the questions is that women love to talk about pregnancy and babies. So I’m guessing they’re trained to show interest in their customers by asking them all kinds of personal (i.e., none of your damn business) questions about their pregnancies and their future plans for Baby. After they’re quite finished exhausting you with conversation, they decide it’s time to become really pushy. You must have this and you must have that. No lady, I musn’t, but you must get out of my frigging face. It was like that every time I shopped there, and more than once I had to tell whoever was working that day that I would prefer to be left alone while I shopped. On one particular occasion, after telling one of the ladies multiple times that I preferred to browse on my own, I finally had to turn around and tell her very clearly to stop following me around the store (side note: when you’re pregnant, you can say anything you want as long as you rub your belly while doing so).

So if anybody from Motherhood Maternity is reading this? It’s not just me. See here, here, here and here. And that was just a 10 second Google search. Back. Off.

But regardless of their annoying sales tactics, Motherhood Maternity has cute styles, great prices, and plenty of sales. I’ll go back there the next time I’m pregnant—but I may have to get a restraining order.

Overall, shopping for maternity clothes was fun and easy. I had a bit of a hard time finding the right pair of jeans, but what’s new about that, really? The clothes weren’t really the problem. The shoes were the problem…

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Lesson 6: Take lots of pictures!

Document the heck out of your growing belly! This is the one time in your life that you don’t have to “suck it in.” Enjoy it!

16 weeks.

16 Weeks

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