Full disclosure: my hospital bag had very little impact on my birth experience. In fact, I‘m even tempted to say it made no difference at all, but since there’s a good chance I’m not remembering certain details (childbirth is distracting), I could be forgetting a crucial moment with socks or lip balm or something. That said, while it’s certainly not the only indicator, or even a very scientific one, there are some key things hospital bags say about your parenting.
For example, I was wooed during the tour I took of my hospital’s birthing wing, essentially awe-struck by that the rooms that had TVs and DVD players. So, I packed some movies in my hospital bag. I mean, I worked up until my 39th week of pregnancy, so the thought of having a few extra hours to catch up on TV before my son arrived was downright luxurious. However, as you may have guessed, at no point did I watch any TV, and never did the DVDs I optimistically packed come out of the bag.
Of course, every mom and every birth experience is different, so I have zero doubt that there are other moms who’ve used those TVs and used them well, just like there are other moms who’ve surely enjoyed a little more use out of their hospital bag than I did. I imagine underlying factors — such as the type of birth experience, the length of the labor, and the duration of the hospital stay — can all influence a great deal. However, regardless of how it’s used, the contents of a hospital bag can tell us quite a bit about one’s parenting, including but not limited to:
How Prepared You Are
Do you have multiple outfits for yourself and your new baby? Did you listen to advice about bringing a breastfeeding pillow and nipple ointment? What about flip-flops and slippers? Did you have either (or both) in your bag? Or, did you have a change of clothes for yourself, some adorable pajamas for your baby, and a whole lot of faith that everything would still be fine, like the rest of us?
Whether Or Not You're More Realistic…
Did you opt to leave your DVDs at home, settling for a simple playlist instead? Was a toothbrush your most extravagant beauty item? You might be preparing yourself for a birthing experience on par with the reality I happened to face.
...Or More Idealistic
Did you have all eight Harry Potter movies in tow? Did you include a flat iron and hair conditioner? If so, I’m impressed and I’d like us to be friends.
Whether Or Not You're Flexible
Did you need to dig through your bag to find a certain hairband before you’d even push? Or did you not even know in which corner of the room your bag was in?
Whether Or Not You're Experienced
Are the contents of your bag dictated by what your first birthing experience entailed? For example, should I find myself packing a hospital bag again, I’ll add some clothes that I think I’ll feel good being photographed in since the shots of my with my newborn while I'm in a pajama shirt aren’t exactly my best.
Whether Or Not You Follow Instructions
Did you save multiple hospital packing lists from Pinterest? OK, spoiler alert: I did this, but rarely used any of them. Still, you might, and you might be a little better with instructions than me.
Whether Or Not You Prioritize Self-Care
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your lips can still get chapped after you give birth. Your hands still need lotion, and you will still need to take care of yourself in various other ways. Remembering the aforementioned facts when packing your hospital bag means you're off to a good start, in my humble opinion.
How Stocked Your Diaper Bag Is Going To Be
Flash forward a few months, when you’re out and about with your baby. Will your diaper bag be a treasure trove of helpful items, or will it be a barren wasteland with a few dried out wipes and diapers that are already too small? My guess? Your hospital bag will tell you.