(Ok, so they're not actually going to GIVE me the baby, but I would totally accept if they offered... just sayin')
My Sister-in-Law's due date falls close to the original date my girls were due on (though they then decided to arrive 5 weeks early) and so whenever I think of her and what stage of pregnancy she is at, I also find myself thinking back to what my own pregnancy was like this time 4 years ago. (4 years?!?!?!?!)
I remember well, that early in my pregnancy, I had decided that I would not buy one single baby item until Christmas 2009 had passed. It was some kind of nonsensical, self-imposed deadline and because of it, come January 2010, I had a wishlist as long as my arm and no clue what stuff I would actually need and what was just a pretty gadget I would never use.
This time 4 years ago (again, 4 years?!?!?!?), I was also reading several pregnancy books simultaneously. I knew every minute detail of what developmental stage my twins were at but the closer I got to my due-date, the more I realised I hadn't really thought about what life would be like once the babies actually arrived, and I began to get a little overwhelmed.
It was at that point that I began to drive my best friend crazy with my questions. She has three beautiful daughters. Two of them are twins and therefore she was my go-to person whenever I had any questions about my own impending arrivals. I asked her many questions about delivering twins naturally, because she delivered hers at 40 weeks with only gas and air for pain relief, so I knew it could be done. I quizzed her on the logistics of breastfeeding twins because she had successfully and exclusively breastfed her twins until they were 6 months old, and I will always be in awe of her for that. I quizzed her about getting twins to sleep at the same time. I asked her about what equipment would really be essential (top of her list? - a dishwasher!). We discussed the special bond that twins have. We talked about how exhausted I should expect to be. We talked about a lot of things. I learned a lot from her and continue to, as her girls are 6 years older than mine, and frankly, she is an amazing mother.
When my babies eventually arrived, tiny and fragile, and many of the things I had planned for did not unfold as expected, I was surprisingly calm about it. I mean, I freaked out at lots of things at first. For example; I had an emergency section instead of a natural birth, I only managed to breastfeed for two weeks, I never got around to buying a dishwasher*...but once we got home, clinging to the routine the hospital staff had established for us like a life-raft, all of the information I had gathered over the months leading up to my girls' arrival began to surface and as each week passed I grew more confident as a parent.
Each age and stage of raising children brings new challenges, but as I did in the beginning, I try to keep myself informed as to what to expect. I read parenting books and parenting blogs. I speak to friends with children about their experiences. I listen to experts on the radio. I don't always agree with everything I read or hear and what works for some people doesn't always work for me, but by keeping myself up to date with what to expect, I feel more in control, more trusting of my instincts and slightly less terrified of messing everything up.
Now that my brother and his wife are expecting their first baby, I'm sure they too have a million questions about what parenthood really involves. Lucky for them, there's a very cool new way for them to get all of the information they need. The two lovely girls that designed
Babytalk is a fun new pregnancy and baby festival taking place on the 22nd and 23rd of February 2014 in O’Reilly Hall, UCD, Dublin. The aim of the festival is to empower families and parents-to-be with information in a fun, relaxed environment and it looks like it's going to be a great weekend.
There will be over 50 exhibitors, an information station, demonstrations of storytelling techniques, baby yoga, baby sign-language, song and dance sessions for toddlers, stand-up comedy, music, face-painting and much, much more.
Rachel and Marie have very kindly offered me two free festival passes for my readers. To enter, all you have to do is comment here. For extra entries you can share this post on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest (don't forget to mention where you shared it in your comment below!). You can also enter by liking my Facebook page and liking and commenting on this link on my page.
The two lucky winners will be announced on Friday 7th February.
*I still don't have a dishwasher