Ready Or Not

Can you ever be truly prepared for becoming a mom?


I’m big on being prepared. I like to read the directions and I always listen to the flight attendant when they give their safety talks. So, when I was pregnant with my son, I knew I wanted to be ready to go on a moment’s notice as my due date approached.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the “essentials” I packed for the hospital: birthing ball, iPod with playlist for labor, soap, shampoo and lotion in my favorite scent (a gift from my mom), my cellphone and charger, a camera, slippers, extra socks and underwear, a pillow, new pajamas designed just for nursing moms (a treat I had bought for myself), a hairbrush and hair dryer, clothes for my husband, a blanket and coming-home outfit for my son and his car seat.

I started having contractions in the wee hours on a Monday morning and by 6 a.m., my husband, doula and I decided it was time to go to the hospital. I have no idea how my essentials got in the car. I’m guessing my husband threw them in the back. And, I have no memory of them being carried up to the labor and delivery floor. (I’m giving my husband the credit for this, too.)

I do remember putting on a hospital gown, which given the circumstances, seemed like the most appropriate thing to be wearing. I do remember not wanting to hear any music, so the iPod stayed tucked away. And, I also remember not wanting to sit on the birthing ball, so that also sat unused in the corner of the room.

We did use the camera, thankfully: I have a handful of pictures right after my son was born. As for the rest, I know I must have showered at some point, but I forgot to use the soap sent by my mom (which I didn’t realize until I got home a few days later and found it in the bottom of my bag); I’m pretty sure I wore a hospital gown the entire time I was there (so much for my new pajamas); and, I never wrapped my son in the blanket I brought because the nurses were pros at swaddling him in the hospital blankets. And the hair dryer? It didn’t get used either.

But I did use the going-home outfit for my son. It had seemed so tiny when I packed it I had actually worried that it might not fit (and I had brought a backup outfit just in case). But the small sleeper was loose on his little frame. So much for being prepared. It seemed my son and I both had some growing to do. I was confident my son would do fine—he’d be big enough for that backup outfit in no time. But I had to face the fact that no matter how ready I thought I was (or wanted to be), new motherhood might just surprise me—whether I was prepared for it or not.