A sweet friend of mine just reached out to me about Mothering tips - any advice on great gadgets, must have items before her baby is due, and general helpful tips. The most helpful thing I can say to any soon to be Mom, is STAY POSITIVE.
I liken the negativity that soon to be Moms receive to that an engaged couple receives before their "I do's". When you are engaged everybody has advice to offer, and it is usually warnings of how hard and awful marriage is. It is almost, through tone more than words, people are saying to you constantly "Good luck with that pipe dream" or "GET AWAY WHILE YOU CAN!". Not only are these attitudes and words a discouragement but also somewhat depressing, considering that this "advice" can sometimes be touted by fellow believers in Christ. Our advice to one another shouldn't just be helpful, but scripture says that it should be helpful AND an encouraging word for those who hear it. (Ephesians 4:29)
The same can be said about motherhood. No wonder pregnant women have such anxiety when they walk around day after day hearing horror stories. Yes, parenting is the greatest challenge a person ever undertakes. More challenging than climbing Mount Everest, because you are forever influencing and leaving an imprint on another human being You are forever tied to another person, by blood sweat and tears - literally. Raising children should be the most challenging thing a person has ever done. The human soul is that important, and it takes tender care and attention. Raising children is also a reflection of how our Heavenly Father loves, and cares for us - the only difference is He does it perfectly one hundred percent of the time.
So in between reading "What to Expect when your expecting" and the woman in the grocery store line telling you about her "life or death experience" of delivering her child, take a breath, and stay positive. As a pregnant woman, and Mom (already), you don't have to take on every label people give parenting and motherhood. Focus on the joys, the good, and what YOU want your experience to be like. This isn't some newage hippy dippy stuff. I am not talking about THINK and things will begin to happen to you magically, but take captive every thought and choose to think on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." (Phil 4:8)
Something that helped me do this during my pregnancy was to not read the scary stuff, and use positive words regarding my body, baby and pregnancy. I also sought the truth about pregnancy, a book that really helped me to do this was HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing by Marie Mongan. This book was a great tool that I used during my pregnancy and delivery, it reenforces beliefs such as birthing and pregnancy are very natural processes of our body, and our body knows how to do both beautifully and well. I also often asked people, respectfully, not to share their stories if I could tell they were headed down the "scared straight" path. I think it's wonderful and healing for women to share their birth stories, especially if they were traumatic, but they should not be shared with women who are currently pregnant because it only instills fear. Pregnancy is a time of great anticipation and joy, and every woman should get to enjoy some aspect of that during her pregnancy.