Now that my belly makes it hard to deny the fact that I'm pregnant, I get questions even from strangers asking if I'm ready for the baby. I'm not exactly sure what response they're looking for when they ask this, should I run away screaming, burst into tears, or act like I have it all together? It seems to me, anyone who thinks they have it all together and everything perfectly prepared for their first child is probably lying. It's nearly impossible to be completely ready for something so life changing and uncharted, which is why the planner in me is freaking out a little. So as I spend every evening sitting in the nursery wondering what changes lie ahead, I let the planner take over a little and put together lists of things I can do to feel a little more prepared for the unknown. These tips and this post are as much for me as they are for anyone else. Hopefully by writing this all down, I'll feel a bit less anxious and it will help me prepare for our little one to arrive.
Do Your Research:
Read books, blogs, articles and whatever else you can find about labor, postpartum tips, going home with your newborn, and must haves after baby. Those links are just a few of the favorite blog posts I've found. Some of this can be helpful and some can be downright scary, but for me it helps to have an idea of what to expect. Many times books and blog posts sugar coat what to expect during labor or the weeks following. I love how each of those blog posts helps prepare you for the reality ahead in a way that's informative but comforting at the same time. I try to stick to one topic at a time so as not to overwhelm myself more and take things in the order that they come. There's no sense in reading all about what foods to feed your baby once they can have solids when that's months away, so stick to things that will help you in the near future.
Talk To People:
Lucky for me, I have several close friends who have had kids within the last year so I have a plethora of options when it comes to getting advice. I also happen to have several friends who work in labor and delivery, one of them being my Mom so whenever I have a random question or freak out moment, I have someone to turn to. I'm sure the advice nurse at my Drs office also appreciates this, since I've only had to call and bother her once. Having friends and family who I can take to coffee or go on a walk with and chat about what to expect or things they found useful has really helped calm my nerves. While talking to people won't change or effect some of the crazy things that will soon happen to my body, it makes me feel a little more prepared having some idea what lies ahead.
So often when people have a baby, people offer to bring you meals, but that only lasts for so long. After the rush of visitors have slowed down and you're still left exhausted and out of creative meal plans, having something you can pull out of the freezer and pop into the crock pot for an easy meal is key! Plus, you're never really sure that the people who bring you meals will bring something you like, so this way you always have a backup plan. I've got several pins with ideas posted to my pinterest page that you can check out HERE for a place to start. I plan to make a dozen or so freezer meals that I can use once the baby is here for an easy dinner or leftovers to have in the fridge.
I'm a firm believer that carrying and growing that little one for 40 weeks is tough work and you should treat yourself for doing just that! Whether it's a pedicure when you start having a tough time reaching those toes without getting out of breath (seriously it's a struggle) or a prenatal massage to help you relax and release some stress, take some time for you. It will be all about baby for a while once he/she is here, so taking some time before they arrive to relax and rest can only help prepare you for what's ahead.
You can only read and prepare so much. Give yourself time to breath and take it all in. My goal is to prepare things like my hospital bag, have freezer meals made, get the car seat installed and have things around then house cleaned and organized in the next couple weeks and give myself time to breathe and enjoy the last few weeks of it being just the two of us in the house. Take time you soak it all in and reflect on everything that's happening.