Preparing to give birth is like training for a race. A race of unknown duration and date. A race that could technically happen any day now but probably won't happen for another few weeks. A race for which the prize is probably going to wake you up at all hours of the night, indefinitely.
Unknowns aside, the preparation really is similar to the lead-up to a race. You read up on the course and plan your strategy and listen, rapt, to other people's experiences and are so, so grateful when those stories are encouraging rather than horrific. Your training plan consists of Kegel exercises, stretching, yoga, practicing breathing, and getting as much light-to-moderate cardio as your compressed lungs and taxed ligaments can handle at this point. You make a playlist of high-energy songs on your iPod.
It's also like prepping, in the sense of the word survivalists mean when they refer to hoarding countless rolls of toilet paper, boxes of ramen, and means of water purification in their reinforced underground bunkers against the zombiepocalypse, or whatever kind of -pocalypse they fear most.
I'm usually firmly on the minimalist side when it comes to stuff: if I don't have it, I can probably do without it until I can get to the store. (My cooking often suffers from sub-par substitutions for this reason). I hate clutter more than I like to feel extremely prepared. Especially because we are moving a couple months after my due date; I don't want to acquire even more stuff to pack up. The husband, on the other hand, subscribes more to the prepper mentality: he would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Which explains the stores of ramen and Backpacker's Pantry in our house. It's okay, we complement each other.
But adding a baby to the mix has brought me around (ever so slightly) to his way of thinking. I have no idea when (if?) I'm going to feel like grocery shopping after the baby. Or cooking. So I would rather have that extra toilet paper taking up my whole bathroom cabinet than wish I didn't have to shower and put on clothes and drag myself out of the air conditioning to get some. I would rather have six homemade meals in the freezer than have to throw something together at the last minute or order a pizza.
So this is what my to-do list looks like right now:
It's all on one page so I won't keep losing them like I have been. We have almost everything we need for baby, but there is a ton of stuff I feel like we need to stock up on so we don't have to rush out and buy it late at night. And I want to put together several healthy meals to freeze so there will always be something to eat.
Am I actually doing any of this right now? Not really. I'm pinning freezer recipes on Pinterest and searching for winter ultras.
I'll get to most of it, I'm sure. But if I don't, that will be okay too. Because just like in a long race, you can be as prepared as possible for every scenario you can imagine...and one will pop up that you didn't imagine. And you'll get through it, with a little bit of flexibility and a whole lot of support from your crew.