If you are pregnant with your first child or trying to get pregnant with your first child – I have a little gift for you. Think of it as the best baby gift you will ever receive, disguised as a 1000-word advice manifesto. Read it carefully and commit it to memory – you’ll thank me later. There is one theme, and one theme only – selfishness.
Practice it. Master it. Revel in it. Yes, I said SELFISHness, not SELFLESSness. That will come later – on a repeat loop for the rest of your life. Right now, it’s all about you.
Repeat after me: Me, me, me, me, me, mine, me. Yup – that’s a good start.
Do you have any idea the selflessness it takes to put another little person’s needs before your own – 24 hours a day, every day? Theoretically you do – you have probably been fantasizing about motherhood and all of the ways it will change your life. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to turn you off of the idea. Motherhood is the most amazing gift I have ever been given. But that unique brand of selflessness that is expected of a mother takes training. It takes planning. The only way that you can plan for that level of giving is by overdosing on selfish. Yes, I said it. I wish someone would have told me that. I would have spent my first pregnancy entirely differently.
My first pregnancy wasn’t a bad one. I felt great, I wasn’t too uncomfortable, and I was able to work through almost the entire thing. I kept the house clean. I cooked constantly. I obsessively charted my registry. I read breastfeeding books, baby-food making books, natural birth books, and nursery feng-shui books. I studied for motherhood the way you cram for a final exam. I moved through the pregnancy as if I wasn’t pregnant at all – refusing help from friends and so proud of the way I had mastered the whole gestation thing.
Jesus, was I an idiot. What I didn’t realize, what nobody really told me – was that the nine-month period was the last time in my life I would be totally independent and able to think of myself. Myself, first. Me. My needs. Motherhood is wonderful. But ladies, if you are pregnant right now – instead of cramming for motherhood the way I did – be selfish, and lazy, and have some fun. I didn’t implement anything I learned in those books. My time would’ve been much better spent doing other things.
Remember the mantra? Me, me, me, me, me, mine, me. Repeat it now. Repeat it upon waking, and several times a day.
Repeat it when you are lazily lounging on the couch, picking through a box of Mallomars and watching back-to-back episodes of Bridezillas. Repeat it when you sneak off to the movies in the afternoon to watch a double-feature. Repeat it as you sleep in as late as you damn well please on the weekends. Repeat is as you graciously accept any seat offered to you, door opened for you, and any other pregnancy gift bestowed upon you. It will be a very long time until you can think of only yourself again – unless you have a ton of money and a full-time nanny, in which case – good for you. You pretty much win life.
But if you know you will not have a ton of help at your disposal when the baby comes, you have to train for that type of sacrifice. I have found the best way to train for it is sleep – and taking shit. I don’t mean taking shit as in “putting up with shit.” I mean take all the shit that people give you – and more. At least then you will be well-rested when the baby gets here.
I am currently pregnant with my second child. I can’t enjoy any of that pregnancy selfishness. I have a 2-year-old following me around everywhere, needing stuff. I’m nauseous, I’m tired, and I’m kicking myself for all of the relaxation I didn’t get the first time around. Now that I really can’t have it, it looks like the holy grail. I’m telling you ladies, if you have the opportunity to kick back and enjoy your pregnancy – DO IT.
Everyone acts like pregnant women are delicate creatures who need to be handled with kid gloves. I think that’s why we don’t tell each other how hard it is after the baby arrives. We don’t want to freak each other out. Well, I think that is bullshit. So in addition to telling you to be as lazy as you possibly can for the next nine months, I’m going to give you some real advice. For the sisterhood.
Go the the movies. I’ve been to an actual movie theatre three times since my son was born. Go out to dinner with your partner. One where you can actually finish your meal while it is hot and eat together. In the future, you will be taking turns walking around the block placating a screaming child. Get a pedicure. A manicure. A haircut. Start using lotion on your nipples now, because after about 24 hours of breastfeeding they are going to be chapped and cracking. Have sex, for sure, because you won’t be doing that for a long time. Have your partner touch your boobs. You’re not going to want him or her to go near them after your child’s been feeding off them for a year.
Do you have a picture of your belly, pre-pregnancy? I hope so because from now on you’re going to have this little extra flap of skin that you’ll have no idea what to do with. Watch a lot of TV and swear constantly. You won’t be able to do either of these things after the baby’s born for fear it will cause irreparable damage to baby’s brain and temperament. And no one’s gonna get up for you on the subway anymore, so you should just ride it for a few hours — maybe to Queens?
Yup, that about covers it. Oh – one more thing. If you happen to register at Giggle.com, you should know that there is such a thing as Giggles.com. That knowledge would have made my shower gifts a lot less awkward.