What Was in All Those Bags?


Preparing to pack my hospital bag was almost as exciting to me as a baby shower or that moment when you leave for the hospital; it symbolized our new beginning and the future. I carefully wrote out my list of what I would bring and was convinced that I really needed all the items I was packing. Who doesn’t need a stereo player with speakers, a body pillow and a stack of books?

Three days later, with a newborn in my arms, I realized that I had brought all the wrong things for my maternity stay — and then some!

My mistake was that I treated the trip to the hospital like a vacation. I packed as if I were going away for a week, but I didn’t need most of the items I brought. In fact, the luggage became a nuisance when it came time to leave. Extra bags meant extra trips to the car for my husband, while the baby and I sat around, waiting to go home. And trust me, we were ready to get home!

So what was in all those bags? A bunch of clothes that didn’t fit comfortably, my entire bathroom and all my products, several books, pillows and a CD player, including homemade CDs picked especially for the big moment. My husband and I had a blast making the CDs and thought we’d be playing them as our son was born. But it didn’t happen that way. Turns out, we never played the stereo, and I had no desire to listen to music.

And those books I brought? Didn’t touch a single one. Any extra time I had to myself I spent sleeping or attempting to rest.

Sure, it was nice having my own shampoo, body wash and facial products, but lugging my entire bathroom with me? Not necessary. Before heading to the hospital, I had in my mind that I would dress up each day I was there. Put on cute jeans, blow dry my hair and look my best. Nobody warned me those jeans wouldn’t fit — for a long time! Of course, it did feel good to shower, but I was certainly in no mood to look my best. I was tired, my body felt worn and I just wanted to be comfortable.

Fast-forward two years later to the birth of my second child when I wised up. This time I kept minimalism in mind because I knew I would be putting away all the items I brought. I ditched the cute jeans for a couple pairs of comfortable lounging pants, two loose-fitting tops made for breastfeeding and warm socks because those floors are cold. I cut the bathroom supplies in half and left the pillows at home because I knew I could rely on the hospital for those. I traded in my stack of books for a journal so I could document feedings and any other notes. I also brought a huge water bottle and vitamin waters to quench the constant thirst I seem to have after childbirth.

And as for the music? I knew I would be enjoying the gurgles and coos of my newborn child, which was all I needed.

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