Can I just start by saying, ladies, you’re not alone! Pregnancy, although brilliantly awesome and the most precious, joyous time of your life, is utterly overwhelming and daunting. It’s glorious and ghastly in equal measures, and that’s ok. No one ever said it was going to be a walk in the park, right? Over the next few months I’m joining forces with Alex and Alexa to bring you a collaborative series from bump to newborn.
I’ll be sharing my tips and honest advice as a thirty-something woman embarking on the madness that is motherhood for the very first time. We’re kicking things off with some pregnancy survival motivation and life hacks, to make the first to third trimester rollercoaster as smooth as possible. I’d love to hear from you guys too, so please do keep in touch and let me know your own pregnancy survival tricks.
Everything Is A Milestone
You know those baby milestone cards? Well, us pregnant ladies deserve our very own set to celebrate all the tiny achievements and landmarks we hit over those crazy nine months. Managed to endure the commute into work without nearly being sick on the passenger next to you? A mighty victory! Getting yourself up off the sofa with no help from your partner? Pass that shiny gold medal! From morning sickness to weird cravings and strange smells turning your stomach (it was aftershave and city pollution for me) there are a lot of challenges to overcome. So focusing on the mini milestones will give you little feel-good boosts along the way. Bring it on.
We’re All Winging It
The first thing I did when I found out I was pregnant, other than going into a haze of shock and happiness? I hit the supermarket and cleared the shelves of every baby and parenting magazine I laid my eyes on. I just wanted information. I also spent a lot of time Googling ‘pregnancy this’ and ‘pregnancy that’, but in all honesty the masses of info out there overwhelmed me. Word of warning: Dr. Google and mummy forum opinionistas, however informative, don’t always do much to help settle early pregnancy nerves! I figured that at the end of the day, we’re all winging and we’re not supposed to know everything right away. So give yourself a break and enjoy gathering first-hand advice from health professionals, your mum, sister, best friend, anyone who’s been through it really. It’ll put your mind at rest and confirm that yes, those weird feelings you’ve been having are totally normal. And remember, if you want to stalk the mums of Instagram and download all the baby apps going, then go for it.
Ask For Help
Whether it’s asking your other half to do the shopping or joining a local NCT group, you’ll find there’s help out there for the taking, you just had to ask for it. People are happy to readily dish out their advice. I left my first midwife appointment feeling totally interrogated – they wanted to know the in’s and out’s, warts and all – and it wasn’t until later on it dawned on me they were only trying to help. In reality, I left that first meeting with 1000 questions I wanted answers to and by having my back up, had missed the opportunity to ask them. Write questions on your phone notes as you go and you’ll have them to hand for the next visit. I also found great comfort in buying a mum-to-be journal to note down my findings along the way. Keeping all the things-to-do lists, baby shopping lists and nuggets of advice all organised in one place, made me feel a whole lot better. My fave by far is The New Mum’s Notebook by Surviving Motherhood blogger Amy Ransom.
Some days you’ll be wiped. Some days you’ll feel like running a marathon. Your body is in turmoil and your energy levels will peak and trough like there’s no tomorrow. (Thanks, hormones!) So it’s important to take some time out and focus on your wellbeing. Address that aching back with some pregnancy yoga and combat sleepless nights with a soothing sleep spray and a maternity pillow. Tackle those body changes head on otherwise lose the fight, ladies. Now in my third trimester, my fingers have swollen like sausages and my achy feet have gone up a whole size, so I’m now wearing my wedding rings on a necklace and bought some new trainers to see me through. You’ve got to see the funny side in it all! On the plus, get ready for hair that’s never looked better and yes, you will get that glow. I’ve tried to tell myself that nothing stays the same for long and that taking time out is ok. If someone asks me what I’ve been doing today, I simply reply: “Growing a human being.”
Instead of focusing on all the things you can’t have – wine, oysters and blue cheese being some of the particularly frustrating on the avoid-list – focus on the things you can have. This is probably the best excuse you’ll every have to buy some new clothes. Snap up a maternity bra from the get go, indulge in some new roomy comfies and invest in a great pair of maternity jeans. In the first trimester it was under the bump for me, I just couldn’t stand anything touching my waist, but now, I’m into the over the bump styles. They seem to make everything feel much more snug and secure. Experiment and get ready to try on lots of different styles Get the low-down on maternity jeans shopping and best buys over on my maternity jeans edit.
Shop My Pregnancy Survival Edit
Embrace Premature Nesting Syndrome
You’ll want to gut the house, will go on a decluttering rampage and will turn into a neat freak before you know it. That nesting they talk of? It kicks in earlier than you think! It’s a good idea to get a head start on things and make the most of the periods where you don’t feel so tired. The further along the pregnancy, the harder it is to bend, lift and move things, so getting ahead won’t hurt. Everything in moderation though – it’s probably unrealistic to demand you have the bathroom done and redecorate the entire house when there’s a nursery to get on with! Just don’t overdo it. When you feel like curling up with a cuppa and a good book, do.