The Ultimate Guide for Expecting Mothers
posted on September 01 2018
Pregnant & Waiting
11 Easy Steps to Enjoying Your Pregnancy
Share this with someone you know is expecting, they'll thank you for it.
So it's confirmed a little life is growing inside you. There are so many questions that arise around this time, we've tried to distil what's important. Being in the business of helping young families as they start out in life, we're so privileged to watch as women become pregnant and babies are born. Families expand and life changes. We have gleamed an awful lot of insight from our customers, thank you for all the amazing stories and conversations, we are grateful to have shared. We also are voracious readers of studies and in the hope of helping pregnant ladies on their journey, we want to share some essentials with you.
Please do keep in mind that in no way are we medical experts and of course there are times when a doctor's opinion and a mother's intuition trumps everything, please get professional help if you have questions about you and your baby's health during pregnancy. While we wish everyone a healthy and happy journey, we also want to acknowledge the strength and heart needed overcome obstacles and sleepless nights, more mom power to you.
We put together The Ultimate Guide for Expecting Mothers
10 Easy Steps to Enjoying Your Pregnancy
Sign up immediately and marvel at the miracle of life with What to Expect When you are Expecting's free email newsletter, every week they'll send you a breakdown of how the foetus develops. Want to know when the baby is the size of a pea and when it's little hands form... this was the highlight of my pregnancy. Then when your baby is born they continue with a child's development and it is fascinating. I promise.
It's very easy to be overwhelmed, people love to share their war wounds. "My delivery room looked like a battlefield," someone told me. Great. But as my mother always said to me, "Stay Positive". You can believe the worst is going to happen to you or you can believe all will go well. It's a choice. And it makes next to no difference to the true outcome. The framing of this positive attitude should start while you are pregnant, because it will be essential when the baby is born. Repeat after me, yes the baby will sleep better tonight. And if you can say it in a way that you believe it, then according to the rules of the Law of Attraction the universe will return what you put out. Research has also been done on this and studies demonstrate that baby's pick up on vibes from their mum, so if you are relaxed it is likely they will be too.
Simplify What You Need
Ask any mother who's baby came early and they didn't have their hospital bag packed and their labour plan wasn't written down. Well guess what? Everything turned out okay. Babies come, as they say in Spanish, "con un pan bajo el brazo" that means with a baguette under their arm. The idea is that you will be able to look after them, you will always find a way. And the good news is that if they take to breastfeeding, it's free food and you don't have to carry any supplies!! If you have problems with latching on or your milk doesn't come in and want to persevere, there are wonderful organisations out there with amazing help for new mums. I highly recommend La Leche League a breastfeeding support network. Try and make your life easy. Babies need love, food and shelter but other than that they're quite resilient little things.
Be careful you don't fill your house with a bunch of junk. People will try to sell you more than you need. The jury's out on sterilisation, after 10 seconds of exposure to air a bottle ceases to be sterilised so I used the dishwasher and didn't waste money on those sterilising machines and tablets. Pretty much all you really need before your baby is born is 1. nappies and you might like to have 2. a lovely blanket, the baby will spend so much time nudie and you'll want to wrap them in something sumptuous. When you buy 3. bottles, can I also recommend buying ones that eco, safe and don't have a million bits to them. These ones by lifefactory are a total joy and simple. 4. A Changing Bag is also not essential you probably have many bags at home that will do, but we love this Cub Bag which also bring a changing mat and doubles as support to help you take the weight of your growing baby. 5. A car seat. And 6. A pram or pushchair. That's six essentials that we can think of. Some cute outfits and a handful of toys that the baby can hold or put in it's mouth are great too. But these will come later.
Take pictures, go on take a selfie, take seventeen! Your body is going through extraordinary changes, you won't believe the elasticity. Beautiful bumps and all their stages deserve to be photographed. Enjoy watching and noticing the cravings, pains and changes. Believe me when I say they are short lived. A great tool for journaling is a dedicated notebook like this one. A place to write down your thoughts, brainstorm your baby names, take down observations, hopes and fears. You will treasure all of this documentation in the future. And your little one will absolutely love hearing stories and seeing photos of their first days on earth.
It's not easy, your identity will have all kind of existential crisis. But the best way to do this is to give everything to your baby, all the love and the best listening skills you have ever mustered while you are with them. This means you HAVE to take time to yourself. Don't forget you are a living breathing beautiful being not just because you are a mom but also because you have a great sense of humour, you love getting your nails done, having drinks, seeing theatre, dancing... When you take time to yourself, there shouldn't be any guilt because you know your child is loved, as per previous you gave them your everything and when you get back them later you'll do it again. This time regenerated, full of love and wisfom for the world which you can bring back and filter in bite size pieces for your growing little one. There is a bonus in being a mom who remembers herself you also give your baby a chance to relate with others, whether it's carers, grandparents, babysitters... it's a chance for the baby to get acquainted with the world. It takes a village to raise a child, start building that community of trusted people around you.
Make Space for Partners
Men or partners won't be going through exactly the same thing. Their efforts can at time seem laughable but really it's up to the pregnee-- that's you oh pregnant one to make space. Encourage them to be a part of the journey and give lots of room for them to be present, have a role and make mistakes. That's how we learn is through our mistakes. You trusted this person enough to get intimate so it's like they'll do a good job as parents too. You will be grateful, when you need some me time and they can take over. Also because they haven't carried the baby in their tummy, they might and you might not feel like they know what to do. Well the only way they'll learn is if they are left to their own devices. Best thing that ever happened in my family is that I had to work on Saturdays. My husband at first did not know what to do... what should we do? He would ask me. Then he would over schedule the day, a market visit, a swim, a trip to the library. After a dozen or so Saturdays I would ask him what are you guys up to today? And he would say, I am not sure we'll see. That's when I knew. He had learned to love to the role of looking after someone.
Dress for the Occassion
Embrace the bump, get comfy and stay stylish. A few good pregnancy outfits go a long way to sustaining self-love even as you um... balloon out. I can't recommend the Hatch collection enough. So chic, so gorgeous. I love their style so much that I even shop there when I am not pregnant. The maternity section at Topshop is also ace. Don't overdo it though. You just need two or three dresses or tops along with a couple of leggings and don't be afraid to wear the same outfit often. Such a sign of female strength.
Join Forces & Make Friends
Even before you come out of hospital with your baby, you'll notice people looking at you. The weird thing is there is an intimacy in the look, it's called solidarity. They have been there. Suddenly you are a part of a secret members club that knows what it is to feel explosive love and be exacerbated all at the same time. Embrace this new stage. People will be friendlier, weirdly everyone loves babies (even the grumpy clerk at the post office I found out). We always recommend taking part in classes, from antenatal to pregnancy yoga. The National Children's Trust or NCT is a wonderful resource for finding classes close to home. It is so important to meet people who are on the same journey with you so that you can compare notes. There will be a lot of notes to compare. And when the baby is born look for Carers and Tot mornings. No matter how tired you are take you and your new bundle down there, you will enjoy a cup of tea and some new mum banter. It is invaluable. Be a friend to someone and make a friend. This second wave of friendship is one of the biggest treats of motherhood. It's a special kind of friend when you've seen each other go through pregnancy to early education. Cherish these relationships.
Remember Everyone Does it Differently
One of my favourite things about being pregnant and being a mom was noticing how one thing that is a dead cert in the UK is a big no no in France or Mexico for example. While in the US they recommend weaning babies with pureed vegetables in Portugal they start with pureed fish. This means there are many right ways to raise a family. We did some research and wrote this piece about Mothering Around the World, you won't believe the cultural differences. It's so fascinating.
Remember you are lucky to be alive and lucky to bring another life into this world. There are few things as beautiful as watching your baby grow. There will be moments that seem exhausting, impossible and frustrating. I missed reading, exercise and movies soooo much. Mummy brain is real and while you are making new synapsis and turning old one's off, it does eventually lift. That they grow quickly is a cliche for good reason, before you know it this stage will be over so try and be present and enjoy it. Celebrate these little rockets of life.
Congratulations beautiful people on your pregnancies.
Please know that under no circumstances do we claim to be correct or thorough, we would love to hear what we have forgotten or missed out or gotten wrong. So make sure to leave a comment below. And thanks for being a part of the Little Citizens tribe.