How do two of the most memorable and symbolic events of your life compare? It turns out, planning to have a baby is just about as much (or more) work as planning for a wedding! Read on, then feel free to comment about how preparing for other milestone events in your own life compared to getting ready for your first and subsequent babies. 🙂 ❤
Preparing for The Big Day
The wedding planner and venue staff will arrange all your tables and seating.
…but you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone to set up the nursery furniture who’s not an immediate family member or personally invested in future babysitting opportunities.
For your wedding, getting in shape is a matter of looking your best in photos and fitting into the dress — perhaps an honorable cause that your decades-older self will appreciate.
For your birth, getting in shape can mean the difference between a tolerable labor and a physically overwhelming one — something no amount of professional Photoshopping or expert tailoring can fix.
Expect to consume plenty of adult spirits in pre-celebration of the wedding event to come. Bachelor and bachelorette parties, planning luncheons, bridal showers, rehearsal dinner… Oh, and the open-bar cocktail hour.
During pregnancy, expect at least nine months of stone cold sobriety. This may be the first time you’ll experience special nights out with your girlfriends as the designated driver.
FAIRS AND TRUNK SHOWS
You’ll get acquainted with your options at bridal fairs, carefully poring over the endless vendor pamphlets and photo albums and watching models sashay down a runway in bridal haute couture that you’ll never be able to afford.
At baby and family expos, you still can’t afford anything… but you buy goodies from every table anyway.
Free cloth diaper detergent samples?! Yes please! … and I’ll also buy the handmade nursing top, amber teething necklace, heck throw in another baby carrier and those newborn socks in the shape of bananas because how could I not? Gotta fill up my “free samples bag” somehow…
On the wedding to-do list: Arrange a hotel block for out-of-town guests. You hope they choose to stay the night instead of putting the outside world at risk by drinking and driving.
On the new baby arrival to-do list: Arrange to block out part of your own home to make room for visiting family. You hope they choose to bring you something (like a new book or an iced coffee or a swatch of freshly picked flowers) from the outside world you’ve forgotten about so quickly already.
Wedding timeline: You’ll spend a year (traditionally, give or take) planning for a one-day event that’s officially “on” for a few hours.
Baby timeline: You’ll spend nine months (traditionally, give or take) planning for an event that’s actually not a thing, but rather a person. The existence of new life is the “event,” one that becomes and grows into birth-ready development from conception at day zero until labor begins. And how long will the birthing time officially be “on”? There’s no predicting!
In preparation for marriage, none unless you opt for premarital counseling.
In preparation for birth and parenting, a labor and newborn care class of your liking. A CPR class is highly recommended. And you’ll need a crash course (whether formal or informal) in proper car seat installation and safety.
Everyone has their own two cents about wedding experiences, and horror stories seem to be favorite memories to share.
“My flowers were the wrong variety … The groomsmen didn’t arrive on time … The buttons on my dress popped off just three steps down the aisle …”
Everyone has their own two cents about birth experiences too, and again, horror stories seem to be favorite memories to share.
“My medication was given at the wrong dosage … The baby’s father didn’t arrive on time … I felt everything tear just three breaths into pushing …”
You put a lot of thought and emotion (and scrupulous proofreading) into the save-the-date, the invitation, the menu, vendor contracts, and all kinds of stationery items.
You likely put just as much thought and emotion (and scrupulous proofreading) into the pregnancy and birth announcements, the baby shower or blessingway invitation, the birth plan, and medical care contracts.
The Milestone Event
Wedding = Cake! So yes, there will be cake! And frosting!
Pregnancy = Cake? Probably no cake if you’re watching your blood sugar. But take heart — your baby’s very first “birthday frosting,” also known as vernix, is a whole different kind of special! And more proof that your baby is the sweetest lil’ cupcake ever.
Though it seems really important to the success of the event and everyone’s sense of pleasure, to be honest, no one really gives a damn about your wedding color scheme.
Throughout your pregnancy, everyone needs to know — blue or pink?!?!
For your wedding: You’ll select seating for your guests. You won’t get too hung up on these assigned positions as they’re just going to switch around once the speeches are over anyway.
For your birthing time: You’ll pick your favorite labor positions. You won’t get too hung up on these choices as you’ve heard labor management is actually on-the-job training and you’re just going to switch around once the screaming is over anyway.
The wedding ceremony blesses a beautiful ring upon your finger as you tearfully whisper, “I do.”
The birthing time blesses a burning ‘ring of fire’ upon your loins as you tearfully scream, “Am I really doing this?!”
If your wedding guests are lucky, they’ll get to take home a sweet treat and little nostalgic memorabilia that reflect your union of love.
If they’re not so lucky, you totally forgot about the favors. Or you filtered that money into the open bar budget (I’ll think they’ll be okay).
If you’re a lucky brand-new parent, you’ll get to take home that placenta you worked so hard to create, saved in the form of an encapsulated sweet treat or a placenta art print that reflects your connection with baby.
If you’re not so lucky, you’ll find yourself with formula sample freebies overflowing a discharge bag labeled “For Breastfeeding Moms – Love, Similac.”
You’ll spend months picking out a wedding gown. Most likely in a shade of white.
You’ll spend a moment or two considering that you might give birth to your baby in a well-worn gown at least one person died in (if delivering at a hospital)… so you’ll figure out a way to wear something else you like, something a bit, ah, livelier, a gown deserving of its labor goddess wearer. Least likely in a shade of white.
Mother nature’s budding beauties make the perfect decoration for just about every surface, all wedding attendants’ free hands or lapels, and any barren nooks and crannies at your wedding.
Many flower essences and essential oils are perfect for easing common pregnancy symptoms, stabilizing emotions during labor, and treating a host of newborn ailments.
You’ll feed 100 or so guests in the first few hours at your wedding, but thankfully you can leave all the meal preparation and service up to your vendors.
You’ll feed one baby seemingly 100 times in the first few days after birth, but you still won’t be sure that you’re doing the preparation, service, or really any part of it right.
Wedding photographer must-have: reputable skills and affordability. Also you’ll never see them during the event, the unobtrusive photo-journalistic magicians that they are.
Birth photographer must-have: someone you can trust to watch you give birth. They will be up close and personal enough to capture the magic of maternity from all angles, curves, and expressions of your body as it moves a human through your pelvis.
At your wedding ceremony, everyone thinks to themselves: “Here comes the bride… effortlessly floating down the aisle like a swan…”
Unfortunately, no one is going to gracefully walk the baby out of your birth canal.
Weddings are emotional! All those cries of joy — from the bride, the groom, the guests, maybe even an especially touched photographer.
Preparing for a baby is emotional too! All that raging hormone crying during pregnancy, crying during labor, crying from the baby after birth, and by all family members just before bedtime for the next five years.
The Honeymoon Period
You may wish to leave the wedding reception in something fancy. Inscribed in cursive script on the back window: “Just Married!”
You’ll need to leave the birthing place in something safe. Installed with a car seat and a sign in the back window: “Baby On Board!”
You’ll write the final checks for your wedding vendors at least a day before you first emerge into the world as husband and wife.
You’ll continue receiving birth-related bills from your insurance and health care practitioners for months after your baby first emerged into the world.
A wedding marks the outset of a new kind of journey between lovers.
A baby offers a new kind of loving intimacy. Also, the birth of parents.
Post wedding: You’re hungover, tired, mascara is running, and you feel a little disappointed that this part is over… but, the honeymoon!
Post birth: You’re drunk on oxytocin, exhausted, bleeding, and feel ecstatic that this part is over… but, curious to find out what comes next.
Maybe a homey staycation, maybe an exotic excursion to faraway lands… either way, after the wedding you can focus on uninterrupted bonding time with your honey.
I’m sure you’ve heard of a “babymoon”? Well, it isn’t like a honeymoon with a baby. It’s what you’ll be taking when you’re sick in bed with a fiery case of mastitis, for example. On the bright side, it’s still uninterrupted bonding time with your littlest honey!