Congrats to Carla Bruni, first lady of France, who is officially expecting a child with tres unpopulaire French president Nicolas Sarkozy. The pregnancy has everybody wondering: Why now? Bruni, 43, already has a son who was born in 2001 (more on that later), and some are speculating that her second go at motherhood is an attempt to boost Sarkozy's approval rating. But I know the truth: Bruni wants another shot at being a mom.
I totally get it. I had my first baby rather unexpectedly at 24, and I can't help think I would make a better expectant/new mom now, ten years later. The first and most obvious reason is that I simply would've had more time to prepare myself (financially, professionally, emotionally) for pregnancy and motherhood.
I bet Bruni has a laundry list of things she plans to do differently this time around; I know I would. If there was some way I could sneak back in time and whisper into the ear of my 24-year-old pregnant self, these are the two main tips I would pass along;
Yes, you have to make changes; no, you don't have to change who you are. As a typical irresponsible twenty-something (obviously I was irresponsible, I got knocked up), I went into panic mode when I found out I was pregnant: Oh my god! I have to give up each and every vice RIGHT NOW! Okay, true that I had to give up the vodka tonics, but I didn't have to stop listening to Led Zeppelin and start watching The Discovery Channel. In my quest to become a responsible-enough type to raise a child, I temporarily rendered myself unrecognizable, and it took awhile to get myself back.
Trust your instincts. As the youngest mom at Prenatal Yoga, it's easy to doubt yourself. Learn what you can from older moms, but go with your gut: If you're sure you want to have that all-natural childbirth, do it! (Failing all else, it's a great story to tell later, trust me.)
And, if I could go back and whisper something to the young pre-pregnant me, it would have been this: Plan on parenthood. My first pregnancy was a surprise, as I assume Bruni's was: Her son Aurelien was conceived during an affair Bruni was having with Raphael Enthoven, the son of the man she was living with at the time, who also happened to be married (the son, not the father. Are you following me?). And all this after romancing Eric Clapton and breaking up Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall. Whew! That's a busy few years.
To jump from swinging single to mom-to-be with no advance warning is a pretty big leap. Motherhood is a big leap to take anyway, but at least if it's planned it might feel like there's a safety net.
Were you a young mom? What would you tell yourself if you could go back?
Image via David Paire/Flickr