Read below for an open letter to my pregnant self:

Hey you. Yea you. It’s me. Right about now you’re staring at a pregnancy test and debating over whether to celebrate your butt off or crawl into the fetal position and panic. You will choose the latter. But you’ll get over that. Soon, you’ll be going to that first appointment, witnessing that first grainy ultrasound, and trying to discern a baby from that kidney bean-shaped blob floating around. It doesn’t look like much yet; even to you, but God do you love it already.

It won’t be long until you’re starting to swell up. Everyone already knows your news. And, secretly, you’re quite the fan of all the doting and attention, although you’d never tell anyone that. You’ve heard the heartbeat now, maybe even a few times. It’s the best sound that you’ve ever heard.

You’ll beg your husband for one of those heart-beat Doppler’s you can use at home. He thinks it’s a bad idea because it will only make you panic if you can’t figure out how to use it right. Truth be told, you panic about this baby enough as it is. You’ll decide that he’s right. But, pregnancy will allow you to stay just a little bit mad at him for a while.

Check out: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

By now you should be feeling them kick. It’ll happen when you’re sitting in your recliner working your fingers off on a quilt that you thought you’d try to make for them. (You’ll get it done. But it will take FOREVER.) For a moment or two, you will think it’s just gas. It’s not the most spectacular moment, but it is the most spectacular feeling.

Gender reveal is FINALLY here. IT’S A GIRL! Your husband really wanted a boy, so he will look like he ate slugs for a few hours. Don’t worry. He gets over that. She’s got him wrapped around her finger now. You decide to take pink cupcakes to everyone of importance because you’re not big on parties.

This was a bad idea. It will take you until 11 P.M. to get all of them delivered. But, on the other hand, getting to witness all the individual reactions was wonderful. Scratch that, it wasn’t that bad an idea.

Nothing fits you now. You dodged the elastic panel maternity pants as long as you could. You’ve succumbed to the stretchy pants after all. It’s the middle of June and hotter than Hell’s kitchen. Spandex doesn’t mix well with hot weather and sweat. You’ll invest in Soffee shorts and your husband’s t-shirts and hope for the best.

You’re beginning to feel like you’re the size of a house or a small beached whale and you wish you had a dump truck to get up the stairs to your house. I’m sorry to tell you, this will only get worse.

Check out: Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Just when you didn’t think you could get any bigger, you get a lot bigger. Like I told you, you now have to pause in the middle of the stairs just to catch your breath and propel yourself the rest of the way up. It’s embarrassing and it will make you mad. Actually, most anything will make you mad at this point. You’re hot, sweaty, and huge and your husband breathes way too loud.

You get through your (outdoor) baby shower in one piece; although, you did wonder if you’d have a heat stroke once or twice. You will cry when you get home. A lot. It’s a mixture of the outpouring of love at your shower, panic at the fact that you have nowhere to put anything, and just a general overcoming of pregnancy emotions. You’ll be okay. Everyone loves you, and you will eventually find a spot for all that crap.

I want to warn you that you will drop a handful of changes in the gas station. You are 9 months pregnant and officially humongous. Let that nice guy in line beside you pick the changeup. Instead of being stubborn, nearly toppling over on your head and leaving the chance to sit on the floor out of sheer hard-headedness. This will make you cry. Terribly. You already cry about everything, and that poor man was just trying to be helpful.

Check out: The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People

At this point, you are super pregnant, you are a week past your due date; a ticking time bomb if you will. You have never been more miserable in your life. No one will induce you, none of the “tricks” are working and you wonder why everyone hates you. You’ve been having contractions all day, but they’re 10 minutes apart. Refuse to go to the hospital (again) for them to tell you it’s not time yet.

You will go to bed tonight tell your husband that you’re calling the OB tomorrow to tell her that she has to get this baby out ASAP, you’re about to lose your mind. Will wake up at 10 after midnight with the show on the road. It happens FAST. You will yell at your mom because she wants to take a shower and pack a bag before she leaves for the hospital. You’d never be caught dead yelling at your momma, but this is an exception, and she doesn’t take it personally. I promise.

Here comes the hard part. All together you’ve been in labor for 36 hours. Turns out, those contractions were not Braxton hicks like you thought, they were the real deal. You’re tired. So very tired. Fair warning, your epidural will not work. You will push with all you’ve got for two hours straight.

There will come a time that things get scary, and your doctor will tell you it’s all or nothing. Get this baby out if you want to take it home. Somewhere out of the clear blue sky, you will muster the strength of a thousand suns. With the help of your mom and husband, it’s finally over. She’s here.

You’ll hear the tiniest of little cries from the corner. She sounds just like a kitten. They will lay her on your chest. She won’t be entirely clean, still sporting a spot or two of gunk, but you won’t even care. She will stop crying and snuggle into your chest. You’re home. Everything before now no longer matters. Your life has finally begun.

Read more tips on the links below.

6 Things That Become Difficult With A Baby Bump

5 Unique Baby Shower Gifts For Every Mum To Be

Seven Tricks To Getting Your Fussy Baby Down To Sleep

Ways To Improve Your Baby’s Sleep Routine

Soothe A Teething Baby At Night With Our 6 Top Tips