No matter how much you read about pregnancy, there are things that you just don’t know until you experience it for yourself. I was thinking this morning about some of the things I’ve learned over the last 5 months…
1. Everyone’s pregnancy experience is different. Maybe this shouldn’t be such a surprise but it can be! For example, morning sickness for some means barfing up everything they eat.. for others it means feeling nauseated all day every day.. and then there are the lucky few who say “what’s morning sickness?!” I had the nausea all day, every day and threw up only once.. oh joy. But the differences go far beyond morning sickness. Reflux, pregnancy sinusitis, fatigue… the list is endless! Just know that what happens to your friend may not be what happens to you. And that it is completely normal.
2. You will worry, and you need to calm down. I know this seems to contradict what I said in number 1, but I have yet to meet an expectant mommy who had no worries at all during pregnancy. Since there is conflicting information out there about what you should and shouldn’t avoid during pregnancy it can start there. Is it ok to: color my hair, use hairspray, use non-mineral makeup, eat fish/sushi, drink coffee, eat Jersey Mike’s? These are just a few of the things that have raced through my brain in the last few days! During the first 2 months I had bleeding and worried every time I went to the bathroom. I worried that walking around Disney World for 4 days on the family trip had worsened the bleeding/caused a miscarriage. Since feeling her move, I worry that its been too long since I’ve felt the last kick. I worry that I’ve gained too much/too little weight. I worry our remodeling project won’t get done and we won’t be able to move into the new house in time for Maddie’s arrival. I worry that my enlarged lymph nodes means my cancer is back and has spread.. and how that may impact my family. I worry in my dreams… I worry, worry, worry. And then I stop and realize that I am not in control of most of these things, that I can give those worries up to God, and I can be more at peace which is healthier for me and for baby. And as for the things I can control that I listed above… they have all shown up on various “no-no” lists rampant on the internets and you know what? All of them have been broken by one or more momma-to-be’s at one point or another and their babies turned out just fine. You can do your best for baby, but you don’t have to live in a bubble while pregnant.
3. It’s never too early to start planning for baby’s arrival. It should be no surprise to anyone that babies are expensive.. diapers anyone? What may come as a surprise is just how fast the months can fly by! It was just yesterday I was staring at that little stick with a slight feeling of shock… of course by yesterday I mean almost 5 months ago! So start the financial planning from the day you find out you are pregnant.. healthy financials never hurt anyone! Plan where the baby will sleep, what the baby will eat, how you will diaper them… plan, plan, plan! And do your research. How much does an average pack of diapers go for at the various stores? And notice that diapers come in different sizes with differing amounts of diapers per package.. how much is the cost per diaper per pack at each store? It may seem silly to go to such extremes but most of us will be pinching pennies when income goes from 2 to 1 even if for a short 6 weeks.
4. Your momma friends and family are your greatest asset! From the second you find out you are pregnant, advice comes flying from every direction. While this can get mildly annoying, it is helpful to actually listen too. Who better to give you helpful hints and tricks than someone who has been there, done that? After going to 2 major stores to start baby registries where I was given 4 page lists of what I should register for, I decided there was no way on earth every baby needs every item on those pages. So I asked my cousins who have kiddos what they found indispensible during the baby stage. To my not-so-surprise their lists were much shorter… and I found that certain specific items appeared on several different lists. I trust these women and if they say XYZ breast pump is the best, I believe them! After all, they have used them and I have zero experience on those. Besides after you have 1, 2, 3 kiddos I firmly believe you have worked out what products you would never spend money on again and what things you can’t get enough of!
5. Its “gently loved,” “recycled/upcycled,” “tried and true” not “used” and “cheap”. Speaking of momma friends and family… they can be your greatest asset when it comes to saving some pennies too! You can start asking every momma you know if you can grab their gently loved baby items now that their babies are into their toddler years, but chances are you won’t have to. We are getting a breast pump, stroller, car seat, baby swing, baby jungle gym, shopping cart cover… for literally pennies compared to the cost of purchasing new! I’ve also gone to a couple consignment sales in the area and have gotten never-been-worn-still-have-tags-on outfits in sizes newborn-1yr and other baby items for Maddie for $2-3/each! These are brand name, quality items! Babies grow so fast and often are spoiled rotten by grandmas and aunties so its no surprise you just don’t have time to put them in every cutie pie outfit you were gifted. And for the nursery? Look around your home or family basements to see what you might be able to repurpose. Since we are remodeling the home my hubs inherited when his grandma passed, we have also inherited a ton of furniture. I found a rocker that I’m reupholstering to fit the nursery décor, a shelf I’m painting white and adding a seat pad for a bench seat/storage piece, and an old dresser that I’m painting white that will be Maddies dresser/changing table combo… total cost? A can of paint, a can of primer, some foam/batting/stuffing and some fabric. MUCH less than purchasing those items new, and they have family roots which make them all the more special.
and a little extra bonus… you know, because 6 months is just around the corner!
6. At some point you will cry about something completely ridiculous and/or unexpected. Today for me it was talking with my husband about his leave request for next week that has yet to be approved by management. We met for lunch and were talking about it and suddenly I’m bursting into tears in the middle of Panera Bread. We plan to drive to Michigan to visit my family and to celebrate my birthday, my sister’s birthday, and my grandpa’s 89th birthday and I haven’t been home since December so I guess the thought of getting a “no you can’t go” at the last minute is a little emotional… my husband just looked at me funny and said “why are you crying about this right now?” All I could say to that was “because I’m pregnant!” It really was the only explanation I had! I’ve cried at commercials and TV shows, books, internet articles, songs, baby items, my own thoughts… it comes out of nowhere and can be completely embarrassing. But I think that most women who have been through pregnancy will just smile and hand you a tissue because they get it. Your hormones are out of control and you can cry or start yelling at the drop of a hat, you just have to go with the flow and enjoy.