Bullet points or paragraphs? Helpful reminders or a painful reality that our memory isn’t quite as sharp as we perhaps thought? Whatever your preference- short & sweet: long & drawn out, neatly arranged in a alphabetical filing system, or scattered throughout the house like debris from a tornado (that’s my style): I’ll happily bet we are all guilty of writing them.
Some lists are more important than others, of course, such as the obligatory ‘child manual’ You know the one? When you leave your precious little sprogletts for the very first time with anyone, what initially began as a few brief pointers (milk time, nap time, where essentials are located) slowly turns into a full on article preparing the bemused babysitters for Armageddon. Heck, afterall, the girl guides motto is ‘be prepared’. & What motherhood has taught me thus far is: throw anything at me I’m ready baby! You can’t scare me (have you met M’Lord Snots-a-lot?) & that I usually fail miserably, on a daily basis at maintaining any respectable list.
Despite my open confession to being a list hoarder apposed to a ‘list doer’ (that’s so a word) I still find them invaluable. They can be a little therapeutic: writing down our thoughts can help assess priorities & encourage us to complete some urgent taks (er, buy food, feed child!) & besides, any excuse to purchase swanky new stationary is always a bonus!
Throughout my pregnancy with Bear, I found myself surrounded by baby magazines & the usual pre-birth leaflets. I glanced over many birth story articles, which petrified & reassured me in equal measure: the format of these stories usually includes a handful of tips from the new mummy & I can remember jotting down these nuggets of information.
I then embarked on creating my own maternity & birth list: I read enough stories from mothers with premature babies, which terrified me into packing a hospital bag very early on. Every few weeks I’d take a look at my supplies, unpack, repack, & add to the list. Unsurprisingly then, my maternity luggage ended up being my trusty pull along suitcase- of the tiny variety, the size acceptable by budget airlines (easy-baby). Hey! Practicality reins….why carry a hefty bag when it can skiddadle on wheels?
Most of the supplies I had tucked away were either for myself, or mr banana pants: that’s not because I was unprepared for the impending arrival, more from a fear of jinxing anything. I held out for quite sometime until I felt comfortable to purchase newborn necessities.
Lists may aid our organisation, help us retain a sense of control but they can’t replace the value in sometimes just going with the flow. My top tip? Do your research, browse those parenting forums for ideas, but ultimately try to be as mentally prepared as possible: for all your carefully drawn out plans to go straight out the window. Don’t panic if there is something you forget to pack- undoubtedly you’ll have friends & family rallying around you post birth offering any support they can- if you need post Caesarian knickers? Well, that’s what true friends are for!
With Bear now a full blown toddler: daily he’s shedding his baby layers *sobs*, I’m feeling increasingly broody, with many of our friends adding to their tribe- I can feel my ovaries aching for another. I predict the need to create a new, updated maternity & hospital list on the horizon: I’ll take my experiences with me, but I’ll also seek out updated, & convenient checklists. Like this one from Matalan- smartly coordinating & connecting items mentioned with suitable products available in store & online: presenting an ideal opportunity for you to partake in some retail therapy, WIN WIN!.
- So, after all is said & done, in your experience what was your ‘must have‘ hospital bag item(s)?
I’m going with my extra soft dressing gown that doubled as a pillow (which FYI there is a severe shortage of in hospital wards) & earplugs! Granted, that may sound bizarre- I can promise you, when resigned to your bed in a cubicle of 3 other mothers & newborns, they are heaven sent!
The only item missing from this Matalan list for me isn’t materialistic & it cannot be purchased: take with you a PMA (positive mental attitude) Sure, have a birth plan- just be aware this is a situation where you may not always hardly ever have control. Ultimately what we all would like to see on this particular checklist is: a healthy, happy baby & a speedy recovery (oh, & a pain free labour/ delivery would be a real bonus!)