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Getting Ready for Baby

I’m suddenly very aware that the sand in the hourglass of my pregnancy is swiftly running out. Only six more weeks, which also means I’m entering that time when it feels like it could happen any day, although it’s highly likely that I’ll go until I’m actually full term (June 12). Greg and I have marked this coming weekend as the one to finally get the old baby clothes out of the garage, dust off the bassinet, and face the idea of meeting this new addition quite soon.

Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot to prepare for. The hospital bag is packed and names are picked out. Greg’s parents are booked to arrive two days before my due date (on Vera’s third birthday, no less), and some very sweet friends of ours are throwing us a baby shower in about ten days. As for Veronica, I’m not sure there’s much more to do to prepare her for the coming changes. We’ve read several books over and over about becoming a big sister, and we talk about the baby every day, if not hourly. She still goes back and forth all day long about whether she wants a baby brother or sister and I’m just glad she’s not stuck on one or the other. Glad that I’m not either. At this point I actually feel really exited about having either a boy or a girl.

Also, I’m feeling much better about giving birth. There were a couple of weeks last month when I experienced some serious anxiety about going through the experience again, but something has shifted and I’m actually starting to look forward to it. I had a fantastic birth with Veronica. I had been very focused on having as natural a birth as possible (i.e., laboring without pain medication and birthing without serious medical intervention) and I achieved that goal. I just started to read Vera’s birth story and couldn’t make it through without welling up with tears, so I’ll just let you read it instead.

I’ve been reading that French parenting book, Bringing Up Bebe, which I find totally fascinating and great. The way American parenting looks from the standpoint of this book comes across as pretty silly, and I really agree with a lot of the author’s viewpoints, even realizing that they were some I already shared previous to reading. One paragraph stuck with me the other day though, and it was about how in France women generally welcome an easy, relaxed and medicated birth. For the very first time I saw how working so hard for a natural birth might be a little dramatic. Or at least the book made it seem that way for a brief moment.

However, I still stand by my intention to labor and birth naturally. The experience I had the first time around was profoundly hard and wonderful, and I don’t think I’ve ever been proud of anything else I’ve done (aside from writing a book, maybe). Just in the last week I’ve felt this renewed sense of bravery and ferocity well up in me — perhaps it’s just part of the normal stages of pregnancy that prepare us to do these things — and I’m feeling ready to take on this experience once more.

It’s such a tricky subject though. Natural birth, that is. I want to be clear that I would never look down upon a woman’s decision to go a different route. Giving birth is an extremely personal and individual process and all woman should feel good about how they choose to go about it. We all know what’s best for us and how we need to work with our own bodies. This is just how I want to go about things on my end.

On that note, are you excited to hear my news? Feels like I’ve been blogging about this pregnancy FOREVER. What do you think I’m having?

The Hardest Job I’ve Ever Had, an essay I wrote on being a caregiver, for Maria Shriver’s website

Did you get my Letter in the Mail from The Rumpus this week? What did you think?

Upcoming Events:

May 15 at 7pm, Pen on Fire Writers Salon: An Evening with Memoirists Claire Bidwell Smith, James Brown & Dinah Lenney

May 31 at 7pm, Reading & Launch Party for Wedding Cake for Breakfast at the Santa Monica Barnes & Noble

Powell's Books Penguin Indie Bound
Amazon Barnes & Noble
Want to buy my book? Do so at any of the above!


  1. Yes, absolutely, I am excited to hear about the birth of your baby.

    My husband and I didn’t find out the gender of either of our boys prior to their births. Most people couldn’t understand why we didn’t want to know. And I didn’t really have much of an explanation; it’s just what felt right for us.

    So appreciate your blog and just devoured your book. It was a very visceral experience for me. I have so much to say about it, but for now will just say thank you for writing it. Thank you. Thank you.

    Comment by Kirsten on May 8, 2012 at 11:46 am

  2. What a nice comment, Kirsten. Thank you. So glad you liked the book so much! And I think it’s really so much fun to wait to find out about the baby. Although, to each his own…

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on May 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

  3. Just read your letter in the mail. Loved it.

    Comment by Emily on May 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

  4. Thank you, Emily!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on May 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm

  5. I think you are having…

    …another incredibly fortunate baby who will be born into one of the most wonderful families on the planet. There will be an excited big sister, two completely exhausted parents (but only for a little while — it does get easier, I promise — like in about, oh, eighteen years) ((Muahahahaha)) and suddenly so much more love than you can possibly begin to imagine. Happy day’s a’comin’, oh yes it is. Here’s to no horrendous SoCal hot spells between now and D-day — thank goodness for all that blessed June Gloom!

    Comment by Carroll on May 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm

  6. I’m still not positive I feel either way for you, but I’m leaning more toward girl. But that may be because I had 2 girls in a row and then went on to adopt a third girl. Either way, I’m super excited for you and happy to hear about the birth and see pictures. Also, can’t wait to hear your names! I love names! :)

    Comment by Vanessa on May 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm

  7. Aw, thanks Carroll! What a sweet comment. xo

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on May 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

  8. Thanks, Vanessa! We’ll see soon enough!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on May 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

  9. hi claire! i was just reading this morning one of my favorite bloggers writing about being at a baby shower when the “sex” of the baby was announced to everyone. the blogger has a gender non-conforming boy, and she noticed how basically we can only know if a baby has a penis or a vagina, but the rest has yet to develop, including their gender expression. you know this, as a therapist, but i mention it anyway! i also appreciate your willingness to go through natural births, which, at one time, were the only way women had children!

    Comment by Tony Davis on May 10, 2012 at 6:20 am

  10. Thanks, Tony! So interesting to think about how gender truly develops. Miss you!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on May 10, 2012 at 11:55 am

  11. Claire,
    I read your book and was struck by it’s honesty and by your ability to share your innermost thoughts. My Father died of lung Cancer at the age of 48 leaving my Mother with 6 children to raise alone.I was 11 at that time. My Mother died of Fallopian tube Cancer when she was 67. I was not close to her growing up but was growing closer after by 3 children were born.(My oldest is Sean who is one of Greg’s friends) At any rate, I identified closely with your feelings & fears and it helped me to read your book. I lived in Norwalk for 26 years and now live in Tampa very close to Sean and Carey and my 2 wonderful Grandchildren.
    I wish you the best with the birth of your next child.
    Please tell Greg “Hi”!!

    Comment by Judy Widman on May 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

  12. Thank you so much, Judy! Nice to hear from you. I’m so sorry for all of your loss, but so glad the book was resonant for you.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on May 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm

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