It’s one of the most exciting and stressful experiences of our lives, waiting for the due date to arrive. The anticipation is enough to make you go crazy, and in that excitement, is the task of packing your bag for your little one’s arrival. I’m here to tell you about some added-value things you may want to pack, in addition to the staples. Get ready, because the suggestions I’m about to leave with you need to be packed with love, care, and tenderness, and they aren’t what you think.
Let’s talk about the standard ‘what to pack’ items first. Your wits. I know this is funny, but it’s a great time to begin practicing being in ‘mom-mode’, and dad-mode, as your child is going to need you to always be empowered, sure-footed, grounded, clear-headed, and calm. Excitement is allowed. I’m beginning with this because it’s a good preamble to what we’re going to talk about next, and it’s a great way to calm you through reading this article. Okay, so now lets get going with the list. You may consider packing the following:
1. New baby outfit for the ride home, in addition to 6-8 outfits for the hospital stay for baby. Why so many? As like I hd to stay in the hospital with each of my own three kids after birth due to their jaundice, you may have to as well, and you may want to have some options to dress baby in, and have extras in case of accidents. Other Mom and baby items include diaper cream (Ihle’s paste is the best if you can still find it), 2 packs of Newborn Diapers,
2. Your sundry items. Toothbrush and paste, hairbrush, your own shampoo, hand/body lotion, vaseline, hard candies, juice boxes, snacks, your favourite lipstick or lipgloss, a comfy outfit or two, a book, phone, phone charger, iPad, computer and all other related chargers, and your other personal, and personal hygiene, items. Oh, forget the perfume please. You can leave that at home, as your other hospital neighbours may not be as fond of your gorgeous smelling fumes as you are.
Once at the hospital, settle in, collect those wits, and get ready. Are you worried about your labour and concerned it’s going to be like those labour ‘horror stories’ we’ve all heard about? Don’t be. Typically, labour is not as bad as the worst story you’ve heard. Having said that, some labours are long, but that’s a far cry from the horror stories shared and feared. Most likely, your labour will be average and uneventful, except, of course, the event itself. If your partner, buddy, family, or friend can be there with you during your labour, having a support system present can be a source of great solace and comfort. And now, onto the second half of what to bring.
The Bare Necessities…
Stay with me. You may be thinking we’ve already covered that, but I’m the type of person and Professional Counsellor who thinks outside the box. And we haven’t. Here we go. Like bringing your wits, it’s important to bring reasonable and rational expectations with you because, as everyone knows, if we spend anytime at all googling anything, we’re lost, going nowhere fast, doing the wrong thing, sick with everything, and are anomalies of nature.
3. While childbirth offers an epidural, motherhood, parenting, and life after baby, does not. You will be confronted and affronted with new experiences, difficult choices that will require thoughtful considerations, situations that will require you to think fast, mistakes, learning curves, fails, epic fails, and really epic fails. Be open to it all. Life alone, never mind life with baby, kids, and family, is all about growth, adapting, going with the flow, and embracing the waves, bumps, hurdles, walls, all of it.
In this part of your packing, pack your patience. Bring your commitment to the commitment of always trying to be your best at keeping calm, making informed decisions, knowing it’s okay to say ‘No’, allowing yourself the gift of asking for help, including your spouse or partner in important decision-making, leaving the house messy, the dishes undone, your hair down, and breakfast for dinner.
4. This next one may be the most important of all. Hormones. Understand that your emotions are embedded in hormones, and your hormones may be all over the map after baby arrives. This is normal, although it may take a while for you to return to herself. If your emotions seem to worsen, it’s ok. Mom, it will be ok. If Post-Partum Depression sets in, it too, is normal. Best of all, it’s usually temporary, with the right support, either with meds, or just with Counselling. My practice has a large percentage of Moms learning how to manage with PPD. Not only does my practice specialize in PPD Management, I experienced it myself after all three of my children were born. I get it. I really get it.
In practice, I teach the cognitive part, the aspects of the ‘how to manage’, by teaching coping mechanisms including skills, strategies and techniques, to help get you through it, by implementing the appropriate CBT and Psychotherapy for each individual. If you think this may be you, seek Professional help with someone you like and trust. PPD is usually temporary and does settle itself out.
Mom and Dad, now you’re armed, not just with one list, but two, to help you get the most out of a positive birth experience, and with what to pack.
Drive safe, good luck, and big congratulations.