Nine, or less, months you wait for your bundle of joy to arrive. You know your life is never going to be the same. Your world will now embrace all things baby. And there are lots of baby things.
Let's recap. You get pregnant. You get morning sickness/nausea/metallic taste in mouth/bizarre cravings (tick all appropriate). You wait a few weeks before informing - no, not the grandparents-to-be - your credit card company/bank manager (delete as applicable) that there will be some unusual activity on your card in the forthcoming months i.e. you're going on a massive shopping spree for baby things.
You buy a moses basket. You tell aforementioned grandparents-to-be. And other close friends.
You make a booking in appointment with the midwife and tell her you want a water birth, can she book the pool now please.
You buy some clothes - neutral colours - because even though you know the grandparents-to-be are about to buy shares in Mothercare and baby will (at some point) inherit some hand-me-downs from varying cousins, there was a gorgeous sleepsuit in size "new baby" (so anything over 8lbs, forget it) that you had to have.
You do your research on your pram. Do you want a pram or a pushchair, or perhaps - darling - one of these travel systems would be better. It doubles, nay trebles, as a pram, pushchair AND a carseat. Ingenious. Rear facing or forward facing? Neutral colour scheme or slightly bolder colours - navy, black & cream.....but nothing gender specific. Not yet anyway. You decide on a three wheeler that looks like a mini John Deer tractor when up and functional, but folds down small enough to be put into the boot of your smart girl about town car, with matching raincover, cosytoes, sunshade and parasol (for the back seat of your smart girl about town car, the boot having been taken over by some three wheeled contraption).
You research cots. Fixed sides, drop sides, full size, junior sized cot bed? How about the really cute ones that drop the side altogether and you can have baby sleeping next to your bed, making night feeds so much easier. That doesn't mean however that you will co-sleep with your baby, but it's nice to know that he/she will be right there where you can keep an eye on them all night. You decide on a junior sized cot bed, after all, baby will spend - oh at least - the first few months of life in the moses basket because there is nothing cuter than a tiny baby all swaddled up in a crisp new moses basket.
You buy linen for the cot bed. And matching wallpaper, border, curtains, uplighter, waste bin, nappy stacker, changing bag and toiletries box. Plus the linen for the moses basket matches too. How cute is that going to look lying in the cot bed all matching?
Changing bag - mentioned above - now this was a tricky one. Again you had to do your research. Is it big enough for all the paraphernalia you are going to need when transporting baby around town via the car seat section of the mini John Deer tractor and then into three wheeled contraption? Nappies, changing mat, wipes, baby bottom cream, change of clothes (or 3), bibs x at least 5, spare bottles (if bottle feeding), spare formula powder, spare dummy (if using one and let's be honest, you probably will, even given your firm "I'm never going to put a dummy in my child's mouth" attitude), pocket for mummy's mobile, attached clip for aforementioned dummy. At this rate you're going to need a steamer trunk. Eventually you settle on one that promises to take all your "caboodle" and tell yourself this is going to be the only change bag you'll ever need. Of course it is.
You have your 20 week scan. You either find out sex of baby (cue gender specific clothes buying) or decide to go with the surprise (cue more neutral colours clothes buying).
You buy yourself, and pack, your hospital bag; with your five new nightgowns, your significant other's tee shirt to give birth in (they don't want it back and their smell is going to be comforting during your natural labour), your toiletries, your chewing gum, your glucose sweets (for energy during labour) and your latest edition of some pregnancy/parenting magazine (which you can always update nearer the time) for swotting up on those useful tips whilst in early labour.
Toiletries - you buy yourself some ridiculously overpriced "mummy to be" toiletries, because there was an article in the first pregnancy/parenting magazine you bought all those months ago that said these were the latest must haves. It doesn't matter that you may not get to use them, or by the time you remember to use them you cannot get in or out of the bath without a JCB standing by, at least you'll have them to hand should you need them. And they do smell incredibly pretty.
You start to get bigger and if you're unlucky, start to retain water. Suddenly your ankles and calves merge into the dreaded "cankles" and your fingers swell to the point where, if married to the baby's father, you cannot wear your wedding ring as it cuts into you.
The time is getting nearer, you buy a baby on board sign that your husband/partner/significant other points out matches the junior sized cot bed/moses basket linen. Of course it does, don't be silly.
You do some research on slings and baby wearing. Your neighbour's sister's cousin's daughter had one and "wore" her baby all the time and it was great for both her and the baby, and besides, looked fabulous. You decide to buy one of each type of sling you have researched, just so you can be sure of getting the right one.
You promise yourself that you are going to breast feed, for as long as baby wants to. But just in case, you buy bottles, teats and sterilising equipment. You buy an electric steam steriliser but then your neighbour's sister's cousin's daughter points out her microwave one works really well, so you buy one of those too.
You buy nipple shields and breast pads. Your husband/partner/significant other puts breast pads on his eyes, wraps a muslin round his neck and pretends to be Biggles. You laugh because at this juncture you still have a sense of humour. Just wait.
It is quite possible that at this point in time (d-day minus whatever) your credit card company is sending you "you have been pre-approved for a £5,000 increase on your limit" letter because of all the spending going on, or if having gone down the route of using your savings via the bank, your bank manager is apoplectic.
You buy maternity towels, otherwise known as the world's unkindest sanitary towel EVER. Your husband/partner/significant other takes time out from being Biggles to joking how he's going to build an air raid shelter with these.
You buy yourself a rocking chair because the pregnancy/parenting magazine (last month's issue) says that it helps to get a screaming baby off to sleep. Course it does.
You buy a travel cot - because you are going to go camping with a newborn. You've camped before, PGL holiday at school, it wasn't that bad.
Your husband/partner/significant other announces that your smart girl about town car is no longer adequate for your growing family and is going to trade it in for something a bit bigger. He returns home with a Grand Voyager. There's going to be three of you at the most in this beast plus all the equipment - the mini John Deer Tractor 3 wheeled contraption plus car seat version thereof, changing bag, parasol, sunshade, raincover et al - so although outwardly grieving for your smart girl about town car, you're secretly pleased that he bought the bigger car because now you're going to fit right in with all the other mums and their seven seaters/four by fours at baby/toddler group.
You buy an electric swing that gently rocks your baby to and fro. See comment about rocking chair.
You buy a cd of "sounds from the womb" because the pregnancy/parenting magazine said it soothes a newborn. Again, see comment about rocking chair.
You buy some "developmental" toys. And possibly cds and dvds that promise to turn your bundle into a genius by the time he/she is.....say 2 or 3 moths old.
You fend off daily phonecalls from the grandparents-to-be asking "anything happening yet?". You give your husband/partner/significant other a list of all the people that must be called upon (a) you going into labour and (b) you giving birth (this part of the list is prioritised). He promptly looses it but only mentions this after baby is born. Or when baby's head is crowning.
You ring the midwife/maternity unit to make sure your birthing pool is still booked after seven months and a few extra days.
You buy "how to bring up/placate/feed/change/wind/swaddle your new baby" books. Given half the chance, if you were to sit an exam on them you would come out with a first class honours degree. You pick up lots of useful tips that you know you will use bringing up your bundle. Of course you will.
You try a hot curry, followed by a hot bath, declining the offer of hot sex from husband/partner/significant other. You try walking up and down the stairs, drinking raspberry leaf tea.
You settle down and make sure you have everything ready, you do an inventory on all your equipment, from the junior sized cot bed to its sheets, to the mini John Deer sitting in the boot of your new Grand Voyager. You realise that you haven't made the decision yet about disposables vs washable nappies. You have sixteen packets of newborn disposable nappies sitting in the nursery waiting, but your neighbour's sister's cousin's daughter was round yesterday with her baby in a really cute nappy wrap extolling the virtues of washable nappies and you'd quite like to look into it. You make mental note to do so. Because a woman's brain INCREASES in memory power whilst pregnant (of course it does).
You wake up at 2am on a Sunday morning with a pain like you have never felt before. And either that damp patch is where your water has broken or someone has some explaining to do.......
You give one last enormous push (if not having a section of course) and all the planning, buying, researching, worrying, arguing over names disappears as you look at this little soul who has entered, and more than likely completely captivated, your world.
SUMMER MANIFESTO - Watch the Perseid meteor shower Forage for blackberries Make a stop motion film Picnic on an allotment Go to the circus Wild swim under Welsh waterfalls V...
1 week ago