Guest Blog: Expect the Unexpected

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This morning, my 21-month-old drew on her wall with a crayon. A big blue crayon. Her scribble doesn’t match her adorable pink walls, or her pretty yellow bed. And it certainly doesn’t match my image of perfect motherhood, you know, the one I had the whole time I was pregnant, and the one that you probably have of yourself right now. But there are some things you just can’t control.

I remember being pregnant the first time, and fearing the seemingly weekly tests at my obstetrician’s office. Each time my blood was drawn, my finger stuck, or my belly swabbed with gooey ultrasound jelly, I knew there was a chance that something could be terribly wrong with my baby. And as I worked myself into a frenzy, my OB would calmly say: “This is just the beginning of parenthood. You need to let go of control.”

Since the birth of my first baby, I’ve been reminded of this truth over and over again. For many of us, it starts with our birth plan…whether we have that epidural we swore we’d never have, or whether a breech baby got in the way of that natural birth we’d envisioned since finding out we were pregnant.

For me, the lesson of nursing – or actually not nursing – was my first big test in expecting the unexpected. Despite my best laid plans, the most helpful resources, and of course, the best products in the market, all cleaned and eagerly awaiting the nursing process, it just didn’t work for us. And so I became a formula-feeding mama.

My baby didn’t want to sleep in her bassinet. Or her crib. So I let go of control again, and she slept in her swing. She didn’t want to be rocked in my expensive glider, so I improvised with a bouncy exercise ball. With each experience, I let go of control a little more. And now, almost two years later, I have learned to embrace, and even enjoy, this loss of control.

As I approach the birth of my second baby, my expectations are completely different. Mostly because I don’t have any. The best parts about being a mama are that you just can’t plan for so much of it. So instead of thinking of it as a “loss of control,” try to think of it as a gain – a gain of an adventure, of some surprise, and of the blessing that is motherhood.

In that spirit, here are a few of my baby registry must-haves that I mentioned above that will work beautifully, no matter what twists and turns are thrown your way:

– Fisher Price Cradle n’ Swing: There’s something magical about Fisher Price products that so many of the new-fangled brands just can’t replicate. It may not match your living room décor, but a sleeping baby is the best home goods accessory.

– Dr. Brown’s bottles: Formula-fed babies are often gassy babies, and Dr. Brown’s specializes in just this area.

– My Brest Friend: Although marketed as a nursing support pillow, I used this wonderful support system for bottle-feeding through many of my newborn’s first weeks. It’s remarkably comfortable and sturdy – don’t forget to bring it to the hospital!

Jessica Pallay is a Brooklyn mama and the editor and co-founder of Well Rounded NY, a website for pregnant women and new moms in NYC. As a mom to an almost 2 year old daughter (with another girl on the way!), she’s constantly learning about herself through her children, and constantly – pleasantly – surprised. Like most New Yorkers, there’s no room in her apartment for the unnecessary clutter from products that are just “haves”; either we “love” it, or it’s out the door. A former fashion editor, Jessica brings her curated eye to Well Rounded, where she helps others come to terms (and term) with their pregnancy in the city.

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