This is the first post in a series to help those of you that are expecting for the first time prepare for the shitstorm that is about to hit your life. Enjoy.
First things first: Don't take this whole baby thing so seriously. Calm down. You are not going to break your baby by burping them too hard, they won't need therapy after you yell at them to SHUT UP! after a solid hour of crying for no reason and standing over their crib checking to see if they are breathing every 15 minutes isn't helping anyone. Just relax. You will do a much better job if you just kind of approach things organically and have some self-confidence. Screw that mom that instantly lost the baby weight and is always perfectly dressed and groomed at your Gymboree class. So you were the last one to know about BPA being a bad thing. Who cares that you use the five minute rule when the pacifier falls on the ground, even in public. You are a great mom. Give yourself credit for the things you do get right and shrug off the things that are a little less than perfect. Your baby loves you even when it seems like you can't get anything right.
Second off: As wonderful as 12 weeks off from work with nothing to do but cuddle your new bundle of love sounds, maternity leave can be extremely isolating. Don't get yourself too deep in a hole before you ask for some anti-depressants to go with your bottle of Jack Daniels. Also, if you know any other mamas that have babies around the same age, make mommy dates to vent to each other. Their baby's germs are the same as yours. Tell the other mommy that you are exhausted and that sometimes your baby cries for no reason and you tell them that you want to throw them down a well. Chances are, she has a similar story. No mommy is perfect and if you have a friend that seems to be and makes you feel like shit about yourself, fuck her. She is lying.
Thirdly: Trust in your husband and tell him thank you for all that he does. Yes, you can do this on your own but believe me, sister, you don't want to. Even though you are much better at changing diapers, holding the baby, calming them down, mixing bottles, mixing martinis, etc., you don't want to be doing it all alone. Let go of your criticisms and just be happy that he is willing to change a diaper and tend to a crying baby in the middle of the night. Your husband won't break the baby and harping on him about every little detail will just make all three of you miserable. Even if that diaper goes on backwards, it will still hold pee. Tell your husband you love him, and get some much-needed shut-eye while daddy takes over for a while.
Seriously, a good relationship with your husband is one of the most important things you can have during all of this. Raising a baby is a battle that is more easily won as a team. Take time to remember that you once loved this person enough to want to have a baby with them. Often during the first few months you will look at them and want to punch them in the face for putting the wipes in the holder wrong. Don't.