If you are not against epidurals... take it! You will be much more relaxed when it's over and able to better enjoy the first moments with your baby. If the hospital staff takes the baby right after birth for a checkup, do not be heartbroken. There is plenty of time to bond, and contrary to popular belief it does not have to happen immediately after labor.

Be careful, but don't be scared. Babies will not spontaneously combust or break. You have to always be gentle, but not worried about handling them.

You will be better as a mother than you think you will. The first 6 weeks are the worst; you will make it. The first year is the sweetest time because you get to hold your child so much; try to remember that though the sleep deprivation and nausea of diaper changing.

The first year is scary, it will pass. Do not let some other person make you feel like a bad mother; accept advice and ignore the people who are just trying to make you feel bad. You will find that your child ends up being the most important, most loved person in your life. Cherish it.

Do not lose your cool when your child starts being assertive and uncooperative. It is bound to happen, and is an important part of their development. Keep that in mind through the teeth grinding. Do not be pulled into an argument with your two year old. There is no dignified way to win.

I have found that at three and a half, we are finally to the point of understandable conversation. This age may be different for your child. I have never learned how to speak so politely while angry, as much as I have over the past two years. Patience, and the memory that this is just a little child for whom you are responsible for, will go a long way. Counting to ten really does help; no really, try it before speaking.

Children seem to respond better to positive reinforcement than negative. Make up a reward system, and give them attention for good behavior instead of bad. This is my best secret to at least decent behavior.

Good luck.

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