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Mommy friends full of insights

Fortunately, I'm not the first in my circle of friends to have a baby, and my new-mommy friends have clued me in on all the things "they" never tell you.

Fortunately, I'm not the first in my circle of friends to have a baby, and my new-mommy friends have clued me in on all the things "they" never tell you.

That morning sickness is not exclusive to the morning.

That pregnancy really lasts closer to 10 months.

That my once-sharp memory would dull, I'd be more klutzy than ever, and the vocabulary I once possessed would go right out the ... you know, the clear glass thing on the wall that you can look out.

Thankfully, my mommy friends know exactly what I'm talking about. We seem to speak a common language.

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As I visited my friend Jenny in December, the week after her son was born, she told me about a feature on her new digital camera. Each photo is color-coded based on its quality, warning you if it's blurry or low-lit.

"You know, like a stoplight," she said, "red, yellow and blue."

Yep, I knew.

Our conversation didn't skip a beat until her befuddled husband questioned our knowledge of traffic control devices.

Unfortunately, my mommy friends also share things I don't want to hear.

About two weeks after I learned I was pregnant, my husband's cousin welcomed a little girl. I went to see the new parents and their bundle of joy in the hospital. We were keeping mum about our own bundle.

Perhaps still a bit disoriented from a long, hard labor, the new mom began regaling me with tales of vacuum extraction, episiotomies and tearing. It was more than I could stand to hear. I covered my ears and told her to stop but couldn't say why.

Regardless, these new-mom experiences and insights have provided a good education during my pregnancy, and I know they will aid me after the baby has arrived.

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They've prepared me for sleepless nights, and introduced me to the wonders of swaddling. They're how I know that my recently luxurious mane will rapidly thin post-partum. (I watched in horror as a co-worker fresh from maternity leave finger-combed her hair and removed several strands at a time.)

More of those things "they" never tell you ... probably because the birth rate would drop too drastically if women knew this stuff in advance.

Some friends - including several of these mommies - recently hosted a baby shower for me. I was given adorable outfits, educational toys and cuddly blankets.

But the real gifts they have given me haven't come in pretty pastel packages.

They're plastic grocery bags filled with post-birth necessities: leftover infant diapers, nursing pads and a half-used container of Tucks.

("Trust me," Jenny said about the witch-hazel pads. She joked they were also a present for my husband, so he wouldn't have to go on the embarrassing search for them like her spouse did.)

But, mostly, these real gifts are empathetic ears and words of wisdom.

They more than make up for all the words my pregnant brain tends to forget.

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Sherri Richards, a reporter for The Forum, is expecting her first child in March. Readers can reach her at srichards@forumcomm.com

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