Dear ——,

Thanks for writing. It’s always good to hear good news, especially good news in the family.

So, you’re pregnant. Mazel tov! I’m flattered to be asked, and please, feel free to call or write anytime for advice. You might not get any, but call anyway. If I don’t have any to give, I’ll probably just make up something that sounds good. If nothing else, I’ll probably make you laugh a little, and everybody knows that laughter is the best thing for babies in the tum-tum. Actually, laughter is about the best thing I know for just about anything.

You can go to bed and think to yourself: “I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing this for the baby”

Anyway, all blessings for an easy pregnancy, with lots of cozy moments. One piece of advice I’m sure about: Give in to being tired. It’s always good to have a good excuse to go to bed, and now, finally, you can do it without feeling guilty. You can go to bed and think to yourself: “I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing this for the baby.”

Right? Right.

So, now that you’re cozy, you’ll need good things to read. (Have you ever tried a little daily dose of Tehillim? Very soothing.) And comfy blankets for cold winter nights. I suggest a little incense, or one of those little burner things for essential smelly oils.

Of course, none of this is for you. It’s all for the unborn. So there is no self-indulgence going on. Just good pre-parenting. Right? Right.

Now, for practical advice:

Don’t: Look at anything ugly. Read about anything unpleasant. (And leave heavy social and political issues for others.)

Do: Look out the window a lot, especially at clouds, new blooming trees and flowers in springtime, and the sun glistening off freshly fallen snow or ice-coated branches.

Music: Lots of it. Many times a day. And don’t forget to sing. Singing is essential. Do it anytime, but really go for it. Some people say you should pick out a couple of your favorites and perfect them to the point that you can imagine belting them out in your favorite nightclub (which you don’t have and would never do, but you get the point).

Prayer: Some people seem to think it helps. I’m one of them. He, as I’m sure you know, plays quite a role in this whole conception, pregnancy and birth process (some say He’s a third partner in the deal), so I wouldn’t ignore Him if I were you. I’m told that He likes to be remembered, and remembers those who remember Him.

What you do with your eyes during pregnancy is directly communicated to Mr. or Miss Unborn

In addition to some regular prayer times, as prescribed by the sages, I recommend trying to keep an ever-present awareness of G‑d in our life at all times. You may even find yourself having some spontaneous sorts of conversations with the Big Guy (but don’t tell anyone if you do, ’cause you don’t want any men in little white coats showing up at your door). In these conversations, give yourself permission to complain, if you feel like it, or even whine (but again, keep it just between you and Him; you don’t have to broadcast it anywhere). And when you sincerely feel it, make sure to express your thankfulness to the Holy One above. You may find that when you think of Him, a smile comes over your face, or even a giggle. And, well, there are just lots of moments to be had with Mr. Ever-Present, if you’re willing to be present with Him.

Anyway, I’m sure you have your own ways of dialoguing with the divine. I’m just here to remind you to do it as often as possible, formally or informally.

You may want to have some holy objects about the house—mezuzahs, pushka boxes, and holy books—to serve as receptacles for any stray blessings floating about and needing something to attach themselves to.

I also happen to believe that what you do with your eyes during pregnancy (what you look at) is directly communicated to Mr. or Miss Unborn, as are sounds and the vibrations of others. So stay around positive-thinking people, and definitely avoid anyone who is negative or who fills you with worry or anxiety. And, always follow your heart when it comes to the welfare of you and the little one.

Learning to love and to give to each other is just another form of pre-parenting preparation

I promise you that all will go well. You will have easy, happy months ahead. Your birth will be a breeze. And your baby will be healthy and beautiful. You and your husband will have wonderful times ahead, with all those marvelous movements and sounds emerging. And the mutual caring between you and your husband during these unbelievably special months will last forever, and are a preparation for what’s to come. Don’t be shy or hesitant to ask him for what you need to be happier or more comfortable. Don’t feel selfish about it. Remember: it’s all for the unborn. The whole thing of having children, as far as I’m concerned, is selflessness. Learning to give. Learning that loving is giving. So, why not start with the two of you? Then, when the unborn turns into the baby, you’ll both be used to leaving yourselves behind in order to be there for each other, and for him or her.

Learning to love and to give to each other is just another form of pre-parenting preparation.

Well, I gotta go now. I hope to hear from you. And, if I don’t, know that I’m thinking of you, praying for you, and sending you, your hubby and the baby lots of love.

All the best.