ASOS non-maternity dress (under $50 and so cute; I’m wearing a size 2 for reference) // new fave gray sneakers (so so comfortable) // shades (same color, diff silhouette) // Ora Delphine bag (similar purse)
Are you a first time-expectant mom? Then this post is written for you. Actually, it’s written for anyone who’s pregnant (because even us soon-to-be second and third-time mamas need to be reminded of these things!).
This list is by no means comprehensive (and I’m sure I could write another post just about things I wish I had known post-partum), but without further ado…
10 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Was Pregnant (The First Time Around)
Along with a few words of advice from other amazing blogger moms at the end!
SLEEP IN. Whenever and wherever you can. I know it’s not easy with that growing basketball on your abdomen, but do try. Heck, buy a body pillow if you need to! Because you won’t have the luxury of doing much of that once the baby arrives. I know the weekends are for productivity, but take advantage of this time, sans sleep schedules, crying babies, night feedings, a husband who needs a break, etc.
2. Trust your gut.
Regardless of when it is (first, second or third trimester) and of what your friend or Baby Center or Web MD says about it, if something doesn’t seem or feel right, go with your instinct. A quick call to your OBGYN (or nurse practitioner) can give you peace of mind and often lead to more clarity. I truly believe that we know our bodies better than almost anyone. Even if your doctor sends you home, but something still doesn’t feel right- head to urgent care or the ER. It can be life-saving.
3. For all of the things you have to say “no” to (I’m looking at YOU, wine), find something you can say “yes” to!
Can’t have that glass of wine with dinner that you used to enjoy every night pre-pregnancy? Find a non-alcoholic drink that you can get excited about! During my first pregnancy, I was all about the lime Lacroix + cranberry juice combo. Most bars and restaurants have both (well, not Lacroix, but they do have club soda) on hand, so it was an easy substitute that I knew I could enjoy wherever I was, when the rest of my company was enjoying a real drink. This second pregnancy? I have been crazy about Fever Tree Tonic Water. This advice doesn’t just apply to alcoholic drinks – it can apply to foods you can’t eat (sushi, deli meat, etc), activities you can’t partake (hot tubs, horse back riding, etc) and clothing you can’t wear. Find a replacement that you can enjoy and get exciting about!
And while we’re on the topic of drinks…
4. Just drink the freaking coffee (in moderation).
If your doctor has advised against it for health reasons (yours or the baby’s), then obviously listen to your doctor. Otherwise, JUST DRINK IT.
5. Work on building core strength during your pregnancy, so you aren’t starting from scratch post-delivery.
I was pretty good about working on my core and doing strengthening exersizes during my first pregnancy, but could have done a lot more than I did. Thankfully, I didn’t get diatsis recti once I had Johanna, but let’s just say it took me a good 8 months of barre, pilates and strength training to rebuild my core after she was born.
6. Just buy it. Especially if it’s going to make your pregnancy more bearable and comfortable.
Need a quality pair of maternity jeans? Just buy them. Stuffing three pillows in between your hips and legs so that you can attempt to sleep (somewhat) comfortably? Just buy a damn body pillow. Workout leggings cutting off your circulation, but you “don’t want to buy a pair that I’m only going to wear for 3 months!” Just buy them. Bra not fitting properly? Buy one that has a little bit of extra room (trust me, the ladies will grow even more post-delivery)… but buy one. Same applies to underwear (no joke, buying larger underwear was a tiny luxury I enjoyed in my third trimester).
I know, believe me I know. I am one the cheapest people around. I don’t like to spend money on things I know I won’t get much use out of, but I wish I hadn’t waited until my third trimester to finally give in to buying some of the things that I actually needed (and could have spent more time enjoying) during my first and second.
7. Spend quality one-on-one time with your significant other.
Go see a movie (and stay for the entire thing). Go out to dinner at a nice restaurant. Attend a late-night concert. These moments between just the two of you will be few and far between during the first few months of your baby’s life, so try to enjoy a meal with your significant other without having to worry about bedtime, a crying baby, the diaper bag, highchairs, kid-friendly atmospheres, etc.
8. It’s okay not to love your new, pregnant body.
It’s changing so much, and probably not how you thought. Did I love my pregnant body the first time, and do I love it the second time around? NO. No, I don’t. But that’s okay! I think there is so much pressure on women (from other women) to LOVE everything about pregnancy and the insane changes that come with it.
Also, don’t compare your pregnant body to someone else’s. I struggled with this a lot during my first pregnancy. I had a friend with a similar body type who, during her pregnancy, looked (amazing and) completely different than I did. I didn’t understand why we didn’t carry our weight the same during pregnancy, as we had pre-pregnancy. I still don’t know the answer, but I do know this: your body will take on the shape, form and weight (if you eat in moderation) that your baby needs.
9. Don’t freak out when it comes to the baby registry.
In the beginning, all your baby really needs is food (breastfed or formula), diapers, and a safe place to sleep. That’s it! And mayyyybe a pacifier. Okay, and a car seat and stroller. But hopefully you get what I’m saying? I promise, you will look back on some of the things you registered for a few months into this baby’s life and realize that you didn’t need (nor use) half of them. One thing I regret buying: a sterilizer. You can sterilize bottles and pacifiers in a pot on the stove (and most dishwashers have a sterilize feature)… I’m not sure why I felt the need to buy a separate device for this. It just took up more counter space.
Each mom has a different list of favorites and must-haves of what they used during those first few months- so poll others (that’s what I did) before going crazy on Amazon. By the same token, have the freedom to know that should you miss something on your registry… you can always have it shipped to your house within two days time via Amazon Prime- so don’t sweat it!
10. It’s okay to do things your way once the baby comes.
Ahh, I saved this one for last because it hits most closely to home. I was so hard on myself when Johanna was born. I wanted to do the “right” thing (don’t we all?). But many times, there isn’t a “right” way to do things: sleep-training, breastfeeding, pacifier or no pacifier, nap schedules, to babywear or not, homemade vs. packaged baby food, the list goes on. But, and the end of the day, make your own informed decision… and then, don’t feel badly about it! It doesn’t matter what your friends, family members, or your next door neighbor who never had children say! Please take this to heart.
Something that I struggled with after Johanna was born was breastfeeding. I went to lactation consultants, had three different breast pumps, froze my milk, spent HOURS a day pumping to get my supply up, brought my frozen milk in coolers on trips, had 5 yeast infections… and I hated every minute of it. To be honest, it was the source of a lot of anxiety and depression. I breastfed for 4 months longer than I would have liked (for 6 months total), simply because I had read (and had been told) that it was the best thing for me and my baby. But honestly? I don’t think that’s true. There are many “best” ways to feed your baby.
I wish I had allowed myself the freedom to stop when I wanted, simply because I wanted to. I plan on breastfeeding my second child, but this time, I’m going to access my emotional and physical health along the way and stop when I want to, because I want to.
Lastly, before hitting “publish” on this post, I polled some of my fellow blogger moms and asked what they would tell their pregnant selves if they could. Handsdown, the number one response I got was that they wish they could have told themselves was…
11) Satisfy your cravings (in moderation).
+ “Don’t eat as much as you want to. LOL. I once ate an entire tray of Rice Krispie Treats in one sitting. And let’s not talk about all the candy.” – Shannon, Mom Without Labels
+ “Eat healthy, exercise, and CHILL OUT. Everything will be fine!” – Lindsey, Life Lutzurious
+ “Lay off the Chick-Fil-A.” – Mallory, Style Your Senses
In summary, indulge in some of those cravings, but don’t, say, make 3 trips to Braum’s in one night. Or mayybeee don’t eat Cheetos every day (like I did, cough cough).
Some other words of wisdom that I got that are so worth sharing:
+ “You might as well tear up your birth plan… and don’t hate yourself for it!” – Erin, Hi Lovely
+ “Count your kicks.” – Jessica, This Season’s Gold
+ “It’s ok to NOT like being pregnant.” – Mallory, Style Your Senses
+ “Be present and enjoy the moments [post-pregnancy] (but don’t be embarrassed if you need a break or have plenty of moments when you feel like you have no clue what you’re doing)- we are all learning as we go.” – Alyson, The Modern Savvy
+ “I wish I had taken more pictures of my belly the first time. Also, get the epidural (I had my first epidural with my third child and it was life changing). LMAO.” – Megan, TF Diaries
+ “Don’t sweat the small things! The grey wall color isn’t perfect? Who cares! Didn’t get to splurge on the Tory Burch diaper bag? Not a big deal! Didn’t get everything from the registry? It will still be fine!! Once that tiny, sweet baby is here- none of it matters anymore!” – Kelssey, Styled Blonde
+ “Be prepared to let go. If you were type A… prepare to roll with the punches. You will basically never be on time again and that’s ok. Life happens, enjoy every moment!” – Heather, My Life Well Loved
+ “When I was pregnant with my first, everyone was SO nice to me!! My friends and everyone would always ask how I was feeling and I’d be like…. ‘Umm, the same as I was 5 minutes ago when you asked!!!’ Then baby comes and all the focus and attention goes to the baby. People just assume you’re good and holding yourself together. Even if you don’t technically have post-partum depression, your body is going through major physical and emotional changes, so just know that it’s okay to reach out to a friend and be honest about you’re feelings. Also, anything you say to your husband in the first 6 months of baby’s life does not count. It magically gets erased!” – Jaime Cittadino, Sunflowers And Stilettos
+ “Gosh, so many things. Don’t worry about unsolicited advice, although you’ll hear it nonstop. Have a birth plan, but don’t get too caught up in it because it most likely won’t go according to plan. And HAVE A DOULA.” – Lauren, Lauren McBride Blog
+ “Take advantage of the nursery while you’re in the hospital. It’s ok to not have the baby sleep in your room with you. You’ve got lots of sleepless nights ahead of you, so rest as much as you can. Also, people are as*holes and have no filter when you’re pregnant, so don’t take things people say personally (like ‘You’re huge! Sure you’re not having twins!?’). Also, take pictures of your growing belly, if not for you, for your baby for when they’re older!” – Rebecca, Mommy In Heels
+ “Don’t wait until the last minute for birth and baby prep, because that baby of yours might have an earlier arrival than your planned due date. My son was almost 3 weeks early and we were in Yountville (Napa Valley) on our babymoon! Thankfully, I was a psycho and packed my overnight bag early so my parents were able to bring it to the hospital since we had to rush back to San Fransisco. I literally gave birth 3 hours after we got admitted.” – Sylvia, Sylvie In The Sky
+”Mine would be to do what works for you and don’t worry about what people have to say. Trust your body. You have to choose a provider and a place to birth your baby that you feel comfortable with!” – Lindsay, Middle Of Somewhere Blog
A special thanks to ASOS for partnering with me on this post!