Nothing rejuvenates me after the post-holiday slump than putting together the Baby Guide. I can't help but feel happy when I see a smiling baby. And witnessing the fresh beginning of new life is like a tonic to my soul.
Whether you are pregnant with your first child, bringing up your fifth or sixth baby - or are a grandparent or friend of a young mother and/or father - you will find something for you in this special edition of OV Parent Magazine. We have some of the hottest new baby gear, tips to keep your baby and yourself healthy and happy, a personal story of a birth that didn't go quite as expected but had a happy ending, and even advice regarding some more difficult situations such as high-risk pregnancies and what to say - and NOT to say - when a friend or relative miscarries. There's a car seat safety primer, tips on the importance of tummy time, what baby products to scrimp and spluge on, and the top 10 baby girl and boy names, among other useful and fun features.
But no page in this magazine is more important, in my opinion, than page 29, which lists local resources for pregnant women and families. The article headline is "Don't Go It Alone," and it is so reassuring to know that there are so many places and groups to which pregnant moms and young families can turn for support and assistance.
When my daughter was an infant, I found the support I needed through a group of local breastfeeding moms. But we didn't only talk talk about breastfeeding topics over those several months; we also shared our baby's milestones and other health issues, and aired our fears and stories of our perceived shortcomings that we might have been embarrassed to tell anyone else. As it turned out, there was always someone who had been through what I was experiencing and could relate. They survived, and so would I! It made me feel like I was not crazy and I was not alone. These women were my lifeline during my daughter's first year. Several of them remain some of my best friends today.
Another thing you should know, that isn't mentioned anywhere else in these pages, is that it is OK to call your child's pediatrician about absolutely anything. Over time, you will gather knowledge and your maternal or paternal instincts will sharpen; but, when you first bring that little life home, it's important to stay connected to the experts. The Internet is a poor substitute for the doctor who has held and examined your child. Keep the office number on speed dial and don't be afraid to call. That's what the doctor is there for, and he or she is used to fielding the concerns of new parents.
This is an exciting time and you will be stretched in ways you never imagined. Your life will never be the same, and after a few months, you will have a hard time remembering what life was like before you had a baby. (In fact, you will have a hard time remembering a LOT of things, like where you put your keys, your slippers, the pacifier. ... But just as long as you keep track of the baby, you'll be fine!)
Some days you will feel completely comfortable in your new role and that you and your family are planted firmly on solid ground. And other days, you'll feel you are dangling precariously over the edge. When the latter happens, remember this quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!"