Babies! Babies! Babies!

I don't care how much you want a baby or how much you plan, getting pregnant is always a bit of a surprise.

With Little You, I was in total shock. Married just a few months, a positive pregnancy test wasn't exactly what I was expecting. For some reason, this unwise 20-something was convinced she couldn't get pregnant. I could and I did. I was overwhelmed. Not long after, the morning sickness crept in. I spent the entire pregnancy huddled over the toilet as the little blessing inside of me tried to make me puke my liver out of my nose. She completed her debut with an emergency c-section on our first anniversary.

With Little Me, I tried for years to get pregnant. Fertility treatments, checking bodily functions you don't want to know about, praying, visualizing, eating certain things -- if there was a rumor out there that it would increase fertility, I tried it. I wasn't quite as sick with him but found it difficult to make the 2-hour commutes to and from work. I didn't mind, though. Even then he cracked me up how he would dance to certain songs. He's still a little dancer, luckily now he doesn't do it on my bladder. And I will forever know what LP, TTC, CM, LMP, POAS and cervical position mean.

Men have no idea how complicated a woman's reproductive system is. Nor, how devastating it is to get your "girl time" when you're hoping to get pregnant. Or the shock of how you can be "late" and pee on a stick and it somehow magically stimulates your body into "girl time."

Over the weekend, we celebrated the first birthday of my nephew. He's beloved. His appearance in the world had us all on edge. My sister lost the baby before him just a few weeks before she delivered. It so difficult to even describe the devastation of never getting to know someone you already love. This little guy, in so many ways, has healed hearts with his smile and his grumpy face when he's unhappy.

He recently took his first steps and I was lucky enough to be there. Those wobbling, unsure steps will soon be replaced by running. They grow up too fast.

I think my hormones are out of whack. I've been waxing nostalgic in recent weeks. Remembering the first words, steps and milestones of my babies who aren't even close to being babies anymore. Except when they're sick and regress to whiny, snotty, clingy 2-year-olds, which is another conversation all together.

A newly pregnant young friend of mine recently told me she was ready to for her little girl to be here. "Ready." Yeah. There's no such thing. You're never "ready" for being a mom. You just take a leap of faith and hope you get at least a few parts of it right.

She was asking for advice and I offered only the most basic of things. Generic stuff, really. Like, don't try to be a superhero -- take the pain meds. Don't freak out when your beautiful baby comes out looking like an alien smothered in cream cheese. Take the stool softeners. Don't stress about the baby's eyes crossing -- they almost always straighten out. Don't look in the mirror without clothes on for at least a few weeks. When someone asks to change the baby's diaper, gladly accept.

And, finally, if you think you're doing everything right as a parent, you're doing it all wrong. Being a mom isn't easy. If you don't have nights that you stay up worrying about whether or not you're doing it right -- you're not. Good parents know that they screw up. Good parents know that they don't always say the right thing, do the right thing or have all the answers. Good parents worry that they're going to damage their kids from feeding them too many chicken nuggets and french fries. Or, that they'll grow up insecure because they forgot it was Wear a Hat Day at school. Or forgetting, in my case, to let the tooth fairy know that there was a tooth ready for pickup.

You're not going to get everything right. No one does. You're kidding yourself if you think you are.

There's only one thing a parent needs to do: Love. Love unconditionally. You may not like everything your children do. That's okay. Tell them. That's your job. But make sure they know that while you might not like everything they do, you will always love everything about them.

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