Other experts? Other moms
So whom do you call on if you need support or advice? Many moms say that for general reassurance, there’s no substitute for a pediatrician you like and trust. Others find that mothers are the best experts. But what if you don’t know any other new moms? Erica Herman Baylor of San Jose, Calif., recommends mommy groups. She joined Las Madres Neighborhood Playgroups, a Northern California organization that matches up moms according to each baby’s age and geographic location. And Ruthie Jones swears by the mommy group at her synagogue in Los Angeles.
If you’d prefer a book, try Vicki Iovine’s The Girlfriends’ Guide series, a witty collection that takes you from conception to past the toddler years. The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood (Perigee Books) is a we’ve-all-been-there, laugh-at-yourself look at early motherhood. Another favorite is Anne Lamott, whose Operating Instructions (Ballantine Books) is a journal of her son’s first year. (Also see “Experts We Love,” opposite.)
But in the end, there’s no substitute for practice, says Susan Higgins, a mother of three in Lewisville, Texas. “Time and experience have been the best thing for motherhood,” she says, “as well as learning to listen to everyone and take a little bit of what they say and apply it—or not!”
I couldn’t agree more. Every night I tiptoe into Annabelle’s room and lean over her crib, where she’s been sleeping for several hours. It takes a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the dark, so I stand there, blind, listening to her breathe. Slowly, a baby comes into view and I smile, knowing we’ve made it through another day. Then I can sleep.