Imagine this. You wake up one day to find yourself in a foreign country, completely lost in unfamiliar surroundings and unable to communicate with anyone because you don't speak the language. Think how frightened you would be!
Now imagine that you had 9 months to prepare for that visit abroad. You study the culture and language, you plan your route through the city. You make yourself as ready as possible before the big day. Once you arrive at your destination you're not only comfortable, but your actually excited!
Child birth and motherhood are the exact same thing. Going through pregnancy without preparing yourself for Labor & Delivery is not only irresponsible, it's just plain lazy. I promise you, if you prepare yourself for what is ahead, although you may not be giddy with excitement, you won't be terrified out of your mind either. Child birthing classes are usually offered at your hospital or birthing center and are often free to parents delivering at that location. These classes will introduce you to the facility, hospital admittance procedures, tour the maternity floors and explain birthing procedures. They will also take you through the actual physical birth. Knowing what is going to happen to your body physically will remove a lot of the mystery. I won't lie to you. Child birth hurts. But it is a manageable pain. This is not a "forever" pain, it's temporary. A few days of braxton hicks contractions and (hopefully) less than a day of actual labor. Being prepared and knowing what to expect takes a lot of the stress and anxiety out of the equation, allowing you to focus on the wonderful experience you are about to have.
Besides taking hospital birthing classes, I also highly recommend a few alternate forms of self education
My favorite books:
Mommy Rescue Guide (series) -> they offer a variety of books covering topics such as Breastfeeding, Potty training, Baby's fist year, etc. What I love most about these books is how easy they are to just pick up & read in spurts. There is no need to read an entire chapter if you only need info on one topic. They are also pocket sized. You can just toss it in your purse & take it along with you to read while you sit in the doctors office
The Happiest Baby on the Block -> available in book or video, this is a must! Read &/or watch the video BEFORE baby comes. The information presented here pertains to what is called the "fourth trimester". The first 3 months of baby's life is full of difficult transitions for your little one & knowing how to ease him comfortably into our world will make both mommy & baby happier
The No Cry Sleep Solution -> one of the most sanity saving pieces of information is to understand the difference between adult sleep patterns and infant sleep patterns. Infants do not sleep the same way that we do. For example, "sleeping through the night" for a baby is only 5 hours! When you consider how quickly they grow & how often they eat, this shouldn't surprise you.
The Wonder Weeks -> a pure life saver. This one you will not read before baby comes (well, maybe the introduction) it is a read as he grows kind of book. This amazing book charts & explains the mental growth spurts that all baby's experience at roughly the same times during the first 20 months of life. Being able to anticipate "fussy" periods in your little ones life will help you suppress any irrational burst of anger that commonly occur in new parents. Sleep deprivation and a drastic change in your life style can cause short fuses & frayed nerves. Add a sudden (and unexpected) personality change in your beloved bundle of joy & you might feel like your going to snap! Prepare yourself before it happens & you will be able to weather the storm & come out smiling.
Apps / Websites / FB Pages:
www.babycenter.com -> join your "birth club" to connect with women due the same month as you
The Wonder Weeks
what to expect
Feed baby pro -> allows you to track baby's feedings, medicines, diapers, naps, growth,etc.
Contraction app (just find one that's free and easy to use)
FB PAGES (there are tons, but these are my favs)
The Leaky B@@B (spelled just like that LOL)
The Badass Breastfeeder
I hate it when people act like breastfeeding is obscene. GET OVER IT!
Basically I'm just trying to say ... Educate yourself!