Being able to have a baby can be an incredible experience not everyone has. As someone who has a few children and comes from a large family, here are the things I want my daughters to know.
1. Your body will change and that’s ok
The changes your body goes through will be extreme. Growing an entire human takes a lot of effort and while you might not notice it at first your body will spread, you’ll get stretch marks, your boobs will become sensitive, your hair is likely to stop falling out and you will possibly have that amazing pregnancy glow happening. Your hips widen to enable you to give birth and not everything snaps back into place after the birth.
2. Everyone will want to tell you their horror story, you don’t have to listen
Nothing brings moms together like comparing horrific labor stories. Avoid it at all costs. The fear of labor can actually make things go slower and every birth is different.Plan for your own, be mindful and relax as much as you can when thinking about the birth. For anyone about to launch into their labor story, have some ready made conversation diversions to avoid hearing it.
3. It’s ok to ask for help and to set boundaries
Don’t like the idea of every stranger rubbing your belly or having random people drop over whenever they want? That is totally fine.It is still your body and your home so you can set the boundaries which work for you and let everyone know. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you need.
4. Pregnancy is not an excuse to eat whatever you want
During pregnancy some weight gain is healthy because you’re body needs extra nutrients to help your baby develop. However, pregnancy is not an excuse to gorge yourself on everything in sight or indulge every little craving. By all means, treat yourself but be mindful about it. Your baby and your body need nutrients, not a never ending supply of chocolate and ice cream.
5. Your due date is unlikely to be when you give birth
Having a date you can expect your bundle of joy is wonderful but it’s unlikely you’ll give birth then. In fact, less than 5% of women give birth on their due dates. Don’t let this stop you from planning though. You can calculate your due date as soon as you do a pregnancy test, then plan accordingly. Simply be aware babies can be extremely premature or up to 2 weeks late (at which point, doctors will assist the birth to happen).
6. Tell those close to you before the second trimester
The general consensus is to not tell people you are pregnant until your second trimester due to the risk of miscarrying. Tell those close to you, whom you would want to support you should the worst happen, but don’t plaster it all over social media. Having those close to you to help will be valuable though.
7. All the planning in the world won’t always help
You have your birth plan, your hospital bag is packed, you’ve done the classes and decided on a natural birth. Then you go into labor early, there are complications and you end up having a c-section. Or you go into labor at your baby shower causing it to end rather quickly. By all means plan, be prepared to be flexible though because pregnancy and birth can be unpredictable!
8. Maintain your own identity
Many moms talk about how they lost their own identity once pregnant and throughout the early years of motherhood. Keep your hobbies as much as you can. Maintain your own interests and be your own person. Yes, you are now a mom and creating life, you are also a whole person outside of that. Be yourself!
Rest as much as you want! Sleep will become harder at different stages of the pregnancy (and even harder after birth), so rest when you need. Nap, lay down, sit down, whatever it is you need at that time, do it.