I’m a little late in joining this, but since I just started blogging, I figured I would pick up with Week 10 and make up the additional posts on the back-end. Becky, from From Mrs. to Mama, started this amazing project. Each Monday, Becky posts a different writing prompt with various themes, from motherhood and parenting to marriage and childhood ! I have enjoyed following Becky for quite some time now and am excited to join in on the fun!
This week’s topic is fitting since we just celebrated my sister-in-laws this past weekend. Erin is due in October and I can’t wait to be an Aunt for the first time! Many of these topics came up this weekend, but here they are in a concise list…10 Survival Tip to the Expecting Mom
1. Write down everything about your pregnancy – I was really great about this in the beginning. I wrote down everything I felt, experienced, worried about, and ate. Then the fatigue kicked in and I stopped. I swore I would remember it, because at that time, it was so important to me. I still have some of the major dates – the first time I felt McKenzie kick, the first time Brian felt her kick, all the dates of our doctor appointments, etc., but I am missing out on the day-to-day details. Write them down. You will want to remember them when you are pregnant again or at the very least when your daughter asks you what it was like when you were pregnant.
2. Take pictures – I was awful with this. I felt beautiful pregnant, but refused to get my picture taken. I never wanted maternity pictures thanks to my very swollen ankles. I regret all of that now. I honestly probably have about 4 pictures of me throughout my entire pregnancy. Many of them are from my Baby Shower. I just did not want to be photographed. At the very least, I wish I would have taken weekly belly pictures. Even if no one ever saw them, I could have them and look back on them to see the changes in me, as my baby grew and changed.
3. Stop reading – Although it’s great to be informed, stop reading! Seriously…stop Googling things. It only makes thing worse. You can Google something as simple as heartburn during pregnancy. Even researching a pregnancy concern that is completely normal and most women experience, you will inevitably stumble upon the site that shares some woman’s tragic story about how her heartburn was a serious medical condition in which the baby and the mother’s life was in jeopardy. Honestly, it will create more anxiety and stress. Listen to your gut instinct as to whether something is wrong, ask your family and friends, or better yet your doctor! The reading part goes for once the baby is here as well. Children all reach milestones at different points. Reading about this milestones and timelines will have you convinced that there is an issue with your child. Know the milestones but don’t worry if your child isn’t at the milestone exactly on time.
4. Stop worrying about how your relationship with your significant other will change – I don’t know if it was hormones or me being insecure, but I worried a lot about what our marriage would be like after the baby arrived. I worried that we wouldn’t have time for each other or that somehow things would be different. It was one of those worries that I never voiced to anyone, because I was worried that I was the only one feeling this way. At that time, I had started following Melissa at Honey Do’s and I Love Yous. She was expecting her first child and was due right around the time I was. She posted this and I cried. Someone else was feeling that same way I was! I could have written this post myself.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to worry about it a little less. Yes, you and your significant others relationship will change, but in the best way possible. There will be difficult days, but your marriage will become stronger. Brian and I have always been close, but having McKenzie made us even closer. We were now an official family. We love each other more and have a new-found respect for one another for the parents that we are to McKenzie. Although our parenting styles may be different, we each have our own strengths that we bring to the parenting table. So worry a little less. Your relationship will change, but it will be a change that you won’t mind.
5. Minimal Hospital Bags – Don’t over pack! I was completely guilty of this! I packed way more than I would have ever used in our few short days at the hospital. Leave your pre-maternity clothes at home. You still won’t fit in them when you leave the hospital. Don’t even bring a ton of maternity clothes. You will stay in your maternity pajamas until you are ready to be discharged. The bare necessities will be more than enough. Promise.
And if you’re like me, you may have a friend who had a perfect labor and delivery. She posted pictures of her and her husband playing UNO throughout her labor. I had hopes that I would have a delivery like her. I ran out and bought a pack of UNO cards. The only thing I thought about using those cards for was to throw them across the room at Brian as I was in labor and told that I had progressed too quickly and couldn’t have an epidural. Thank goodness I only labored for three hours from the time of the first contraction until McKenzie was born. There was never a moment that I wanted to play cards though!
6. Limited Birth Plan – Don’t take this so seriously. Everything that you have planned and everything that you envisioned your labor to be, won’t be like that at all. There is no way to control what’s happening and how your delivery will go. The less firm you are on your birth plan, the better. Roll with the punches and know that no birth plan is perfect. Nothing will go exactly as planned. Go in with the ideas that you are firm on – pain medication or not (and even this is open to change at any point), breastfeeding or formula, pacifier or no pacifier, skin to skin immediately, if you want the baby to stay in your room at night or go to the nursery, etc. Be firm on the basics, but know that there may never be a moment to play your birthing playlist, to get into a birthing tub, to use a yoga ball, to walk the halls, or to even breathe the way you had envisioned.
7. #2 – Stop worrying about whether or not you will during delivery. I know this may seem a little blunt, but honestly, it was one of my biggest fears leading up to delivery. When you are in that moment, you won’t even care about it or know if it happens. You will want your baby to born so badly that you don’t care what happens in order to make this goal possible. Pooping and all. And if it does happen…know you won’t be the first and you won’t be the last. Not that big of a deal. Promise.
8. Breastfeeding – If you are planning on breastfeeding, know that it’s hard. I wish someone would have told me how hard it was and how much it would hurt. Although it doesn’t always work out for everyone, know that it can be done. There were many nights I cried and wanted to give up. Keep trying. Find a support system. Use your hospital’s lactation consultant. Just know that it’s harder than anyone will ever tell you. Early on, it’s not the picture perfect moment of a mother cradling her young baby. With work, you can get there, but it takes work while you and the baby get used to one another. Even if it doesn’t work out, know that you gave it your all and did the best for your baby, even if you only breastfed for a day.
9. Your After Baby Body – It took 9 months to build that baby and it will take that long to get your body back. Even then, it will never be the same. There is always something that will remind you of the baby you once carried. Wear it as a badge of honor. That stretch mark on your stomach is beautiful. Don’t expect to feel 100% right after the baby is born. For me, it took months before I felt like myself again – body image, energy level, hormones and all. Give it time. It’s all normal!
10. Enjoy Every Second – Savor every moment of being pregnant. Even the tough parts. You will reach a moment in your pregnancy when you just want the baby here. You are tired, swollen, and uncomfortable. You will do everything in your power to jump-start labor. It’s an uneasy time because you feel like a walking time bomb – not knowing when you will go into labor. Take that time to spend a few extra minutes with your husband. Take that time to enjoy a quiet moment reading or getting a pedicure. Enjoy the little kicks from the inside. There are a few fleeting moments left with just and your little person. And before you know it, they go from this…
A walking, babbling beautiful toddler!
Because, once this baby is here…time goes so quickly!