If you can master these while pregnant, we promise, they will serve you well for all of your parenting years...so, yeah, basically, forever!!.
1. Let go of expectations.
What to expect when you’re expecting? Ha! Nothing that you thought!
Expected to feel tired. Yeah, but, not like that! Expected to be nauseous? Yeah, but, not like that! We have yet to meet anyone who said that it was exactly, or even remotely, like what they expected.
So, expect to be surprised and learn to enjoy the moment. Go ahead, find your inner zen. Experience has already taught you that you can't really know what the next stage of this parenting thing is going to feel like-so best is to say bye-bye to expectations.
What's at the end of the yellow brick road? You,the mom in you, the babe in you, and home.
2. Listen to your body.
There's a lot going on in there!
If your body tells you “I’m hungry”, then feed it! “I have to pee” Again?!? Ooookay, go again. If your body says “I need a donut every morning” you might want to counter offer. Sometimes we get to parent ourselves- your body needs healthy foods, which doesn’t mean you can’t slip a donut in there every now and again, but, here’s your chance to start discovering some easy to grab healthy snacks. This skill will serve you really well in about 18 months-because toddlers will definitely not hold back letting you know when they’re hungry! Ditto teens.
3. Listen to your mind.
But don't forget to talk to others.
We know, you’re smart, you can have entire conversations with your doctor/spouse/etc without even opening your mouth or having them in the room-you just have the conversation in your head, you check online and you talk yourself down. Not actually helpful.
Find people you trust, talk to them. If you are nervous or scared, let people know-your spouse, a therapist, your doctor, midwife, doula, someone on the other end of a hotline. Find more than one of these. Having a support system is important and will become even more so when you've had the baby. Build the system. Does not matter who. Does not. Mental health is a real thing-get healthy, it will serve you and your child well.
4. Don’t compare. It can be a direct line to despair.
Everyone carries differently-what someone else looks like? Doesn't matter. Let it go. You are perfect. Don't compare. Learn this now and parenting will be a whole lot better for you and your child. Trust us.
Pregnancy and parenting come easy to some. And, it can appear that even the ones who struggle do it with humor-and look pretty good in the next post.
Find yourself some real life humans-relatives, friends with kids, neighbors. And if you don’t have any of those, find a parenting group, find an app to find you other local you-can-meet-them-at-a-coffeehouse-or-playground moms. IRL is a real thing. Don't believe everything you read on twitter or see on Instagram. We love Instagram. But. Getting out of the house is important.
5. Speak up.
No one listening? Say it again, nicely. Still no one? Find someone else willing to listen. Knowing who you can trust is important. Figuring out your go-to people before baby is born helps. And, again, more than one.
Advocating for our children is our job as parents, we can only do it if we know how to advocate for ourselves. No time like the present too start trying it. "I need..." "Would you please..." "I don't feel heard..." Talk to Serena Williams if you need a crash course on this one.
6. Sleep when you can.
Getting 8 hours for the next...oh, let's not go there, it might be a while!
Sleeping gets harder and harder when you’re pregnant. And then you have the baby, and whoa! You know that all that “I can’t get comfy” lack of sleep? That's just nature’s way of preparing you for real combat. Get as may pillows as you need to try and be comfy while pregnant. The dishes and laundry can wait. If you run out, you can wash what you need.
Find some sheets and covers that make you happy-even if they're not perfectly made.
Sleep deprivation is a legitimate form of torture. Your baby deserves a mother who has not been tortured.
7. Pamper yourself.
It doesn't have too be fancy and this means different things to different people.
A mani pedi? A bath? A new necklace? A massage? A new top? Treat yourself as you want others to treat you. Model exception self care for your child. We see mothers all the time who struggle with this, but the truth is how do we expect our children to learn self care if we don't know how to model it? Hmmm.
Use these 9 months to get to know what little things you can do for you. Expecting someone else to do it all for you? That’s not going to be helpful. (Refer back to number 1 above. We promise, expecting anyone else to take care of you can end not well. Doesn't mean you can't hope that they do or ask them to-number 5.)
8. Dress for success.
…and success here means that you feel good when you look in the mirror.
You are making a human being! Your body is, let's just say it, f*ing amazing!!
That first impression that you make, on yourself, matters. Just like healthy snacks, get some instant easy outfits that make you feel good. Get as many as you can. If that’s just two, that’s cool, alternate them, find mix and match pieces. We find that even women who aren’t used to dressing to look and feel good say “I dress better pregnant than I did before I was pregnant-and it feels great!” Keep it up, even after the baby is born. There’s some balance-cute baby, cute clothes on mom-they may not notice the tired:)
9. You can get through anything - when you know it will end.
The first trimester? It ends. The third trimester? It ends. Labor? It ends. Baby’s first 3 months? They end. Teething? It ends. Potty training? You get the point here.
Pregnancy is a perfect opportunity to start practicing taking care of yourself as a mother-because, you are a mother and your baby’s mama deserves the best!!
Got questions or suggestions? We'd love to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org