Support: Who's Gonna Mama The Mama (and the difference between Spock and Landing Parties)

By J.K. Mahal

My best friend asked me to contribute to this blog because I recently spent more than a month in Texas with my twin sister, helping her through the birth of her first baby.

A couple of things you should know about me: 1) I have no children, 2) Most of my close friends have had a baby in the last three years and 3) My husband and I do want to have kids in the near future.

With the number of stories I'd heard about childbirth and the amount of reading I'd done (Thank you Mayo Clinic), I thought I was pretty prepared for the birth of Maggie Mae. And for the most part I was. Yes, it was messy. Yes, it was painful for her before the epidural. And yes, it was scary -- especially because there were some complications during the birth and several days after. But it was mostly what I expected.

Okay, maybe the first major poop wasn't what I expected, but it was at 2 a.m. and I was on diaper duty, spelling for the father. Never knew such a small creature could create so much Kirk. (My sister's husband calls No. 1 Spock, No. 2 Kirk and both a full Landing Party.) The wipe companies made some money that night.

What I was less prepared for was what a difference hormones make to the mother. My usually rational, take-charge, kick-ass sister was not at her most rational in the weeks prior to and just after the birth. I found myself counting to ten and then twenty and then a hundred a lot. I just imagined the Count on Sesame Street and life got a little better.

I also didn't know how deeply new mothers need an advocate in the delivery room and the days right after. Regardless of whether it's a doula or a parent or a sister or a husband or a friend, new moms need someone who is just there for them. After all, everyone is interested in the baby ... but who's caring for the mother? And believe me, new moms need someone who will watch out for them, get them lunch or ask if they need anything. Someone who will clean their house or at least do a load of laundry.

The experience didn't change how I feel about wanting to become a parent, but it did make me aware of a few things. First off, I'm apologizing to my husband now for the crazy person I will be in the last few months before birth and the first few months after. Second, I'm designating someone, probably my sister, to be the designated taker-carer of the mother. It's a needed job.

I can't say I survived my sister's baby because, really, the process was a joy. Seeing my sister and her husband bring my niece into this world and watching how in love they all are with one another was and is indescribably beautiful. Even if it has meant changing a number of Landing Parties.