I have never been someone who planned too far in advance for anything - definitely something that probably needs to change as motherhood fast approaches! Nevertheless, I am fortunate to have close girlfriends who love me enough to keep me somewhat in reign!
One of these friends, herself a mom to a toddler and pregnant with her second baby at the time, was the first to know when Bala and I were ready to start a family. So she did what I can always count on her to do - she gave me practical and sound advice. I knew to get started on prenatal vitamins and also learned not to worry too much about the conception period, thanks to her wisdom. Of course, like many moms-to-be, I had access to the literature - books, articles or other sources on the internet - to learn the same things, but for me, this friend's advice held incredible value.
Good friends who care have been a big part of our pregnancy! From tried and true advice on prenatal pills to pre-registration at the hospital to the type of Pampers diapers to use when our baby arrives, my small but strong network of mom friends has been instrumental in making me feel less overwhelmed as a mom-to-be in the US.
They told me what to expect at my first prenatal visit, what to ask for when my OB might have overlooked: an administrative detail that's tiny for her but crucial for me - like prenatal classes to register for, what to look for in our health insurance plan's maternity benefits, and how to begin to navigate the scary world of excessive choices in baby-related gear!
While one close mom friend packs up her son's baby clothes and ships them to me in batches from several states away, another, who also lives in another part of the country, calls me to check on me during her drive home from work - her short window of downtime for the evening - and makes plans to visit me for a weekend when her husband promises to care for their toddler.
While away from family for most of the pregnancy and later as moms and dads raising children far away from the daily guidance of their own parents and families, this network of friends makes a big difference as support systems and extended family.
While this no doubt holds true across the world, including amongst expecting moms and dads and parents raising children in India, it becomes all the more important while going through the experience a continent away. I am eternally grateful to all my seasoned and new mom friends who have been so wonderful about sharing their experiences and knowledge. I too look forward to joining their ranks, and to many more years of being a part of this great group of mom and dad friends that support me online and offline!