Other experts? Other moms> So who 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 their baby’s age and geographic location. And Ruthie Jones swears by the mommy group
at her synagogue in Los Angeles.
If you’d still prefer a book, try Vicki Iovine’s 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, 1997) is a we’ve-all-been-there, laugh-at-yourself look at early motherhood. Another non-guru favorite is Anne Lamott, whose Operating Instructions (Random House, 1994) is a journal of her son’s first year. (And see the experts we love, below.)
But in the end, says Susan Higgins of Lewisville, Texas, who had her third child last year, there’s no substitute for practice. “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.