I drafted this post in my last week of pregnancy. It has been about 8 weeks since then, and with hindsight, I stand firm that these 3 pieces of advice are not very helpful.
I was/am very blessed that I was/am surrounded by many supportive and sensible friends (and midwives) so received invaluable advice and tips. But, as anyone who has been pregnant will know, suddenly, anyone and everyone offers advice and unfortunately, try to push their experience onto you.
There are 3 things that I heard a few too many times and started to really irk me.
1. Don't buy too many newborn clothes. Babies grow so quickly.
Yes, I understand babies grow quickly. But I didn't understand - how many was too many?
I ended up not buying a single piece of clothing until after my baby shower at 35 weeks. I bought 3x 0000 pyjama coveralls, 1x 0000 outfit, 9x 000 singlet/underwear onesies and about 10x 000 outfits, and was frantically washing and drying them.
When Master E was born, he was quite little so really needed 0000 size clothes. Luckily, my neighbour had given us some hand-me-down 0000 singlet onesies. Those onesies and the 3x pyjama coveralls saw us through the hospital stay.
And then what happened? Poor J had to go to the shops sleep deprived and buy a bunch of clothes, and we then frantically washed and dried them.
We did try putting Master E in the 000 clothes but he was just too small and was too cold in them. We have also since discovered that a winter baby needs some outerwear like a cardigan or jacket as well, especially if he is going to be outside his capsule or pram on a day out.
Don't make the same mistake as I did - your baby needs clothes. I wish I had found this guide from Babylist earlier.
2. Oh, you're just nesting, but you should rest.
We'd just moved house and I finally started my maternity leave, which meant I finally had time to concentrate on unpacking and sorting things.
Ok I get it. There's a nesting instinct, which is a good thing because it gets the house ready for when bub arrives. But, regardless of the fact that we had just moved and I was going to do all the tidying up, everything I did was put down to my "nesting instinct". What I was doing felt devalued whenever anyone said "oh, you're just nesting", not to worry about it, and I "should rest".
In hindsight, I really should've pushed more and ticked more things off my list, because now, the tasks are virtually impossible to complete with a newborn (a fact which the same people failed to mention).
3. Don't go back to work so soon, and don't decide now.
Whenever anyone asked if (and when) I was returning to work, I would answer truthfully (5 months). Then they'd all get all judge-y and tell me how much I'd miss my baby, and I won't understand until the baby is born, etc etc.
Well, I sure don't need to justify why I'm going back to work then, but believe me when I say I have thought about this many many times, and have weighed up many many options, and I did not make my decision lightly. And yes, I have talked it through with my husband as well, and we both agreed on the rough date.
As to not making the decision until later, well, that doesn't work. I've told my employer when I expect to be back at work. Sure, I may change my mind or circumstances may change, and my employer is supportive of that. But, it's respectful to at least have a planned date and let your employer know so they can make appropriate arrangements.
Another thing people may not realise - it takes a long time to get a spot at childcare, especially in the CBD. When you register to go on the waiting list, you are required to state the desired start date and days. So, yes, the decision does have to be made fairly in advance. We've been on the waiting list for a few months now, and we have our fingers crossed that we'll get that spot!
So, please, next time you ask, please don't judge me. Instead, some empathy and support will be most appreciated.