Congratulations, you’re having a baby! In the excitement of making the announcement, medical appointments and shopping for maternity wear, it’s so easy to overlook some of the most important things about being pregnant.
Only in retrospect after three babies can I look back with some regret and say, “I wish I had ….” So, don’t you make the same mistake! Here are five things that you might like to do, or do more of, while that bun is still in the oven.
1. Take photos
I have only a handful of photos of my pregnancies and I wish I had more to help me remember the wonderful experience and to capture forever my glowing joy at being knocked up. If only I had been as systematic in documenting my pregnancies as I have been with photographing the growth and development of my children!!
Looking back at photos of your expanding bump allows you to remember the little things that mean so much when your incredible body is doing what it is designed to do – nurture your baby inside.
The other regret is not having a pregnancy portrait taken. Friends have shared theirs and what a lovely idea they are to formally acknowledge the event, in the same way that other milestone photos do – for weddings, birthdays and anniversaries.
2. Stop working
I worked right up to the last minute up to the arrival of each of my babies. Somehow, meeting those work deadlines seemed more important than getting more ready for baby or taking some time for myself.
I realise now (too late!) that’s not the case and that the few days, weeks or whatever time you make away from your paid work and for yourself is absolutely essential.
Time strangely evaporates after baby arrives. It’s weird how it happens, but all the time you had BC disappears into a vortex and there’s no time after the birth to reorganise your undie drawer, paint that feature wall or clean out under the kitchen sink. Do it now, while you are motivated and energised to do so!
3. Keep a journal
From the morning sickness to the full gory details of the birth, believe me that you will want to press replay in your head more than once. A journal is a great way to prompt your memory about how you feel, the reactions of others, future plans and how you are managing each of the aspects of your new bumpy existence.
When I was pregnant the second and thirds time round, it was interesting to compare those pregnancies with the earlier ones to see that I was “on-track”. This was particularly pertinent for the start and end dates of T1’s nausea (virtually identical in each pregnancy), my hormonally fueled emotions (that too was consistent, alas) and good old baby brain.
I also kept a record of my weight gain during pregnancy (all 18-20kg for each one) and then the weight loss after them. It was motivating to see it decrease following each birth (eventually) to the original start number.
4. Take time for you.
Being a mum is a selfless act with lots of sacrifice (especially in the sleep stakes) for your new arrival.
So, being pregnant is probably the last time you get to be a little bit selfish. Do it! Take some time to do exactly what you want to do while you still can – sleep in, see a movie, get away by yourself. What ever you want.
When I was pregnant with my third, I took myself off to the beach for the weekend to get some decent sleep as my second, still a baby, kept night-waking. I must have really needed it – I woke up at 9.30am the first morning, something I haven’t done since my hang-over days!
Taking time for you is not a treat. It is essential fuel to get you through those first few months of baby’s arrival when your world is turned up side down (and inside out!).
5. Have a shower for all your babies
A baby shower is just one of the loveliest events – a bunch of girlfriends, eating, drinking, playing silly games and all sharing in the excitement of the arrival of the babe inside.
And the love-filled focus is on you. It’s a bit like your wedding day, but without the groom!
I didn’t have a shower for babies 2 and 3, thinking it was a bit rude to ask friends to buy more gifts. What I didn’t quite get back then was that it’s not about the gifts, but the feeling in the room that can only be created by a group of friends who care about you. A simple request not to bring presents would have solved it. Doh! Isn’t retrospect a wonderful thing!
These are my five, but what else shouldn’t we girls forget to do while we are pregnant?