I felt like I was going a little bit crazy in the final two weeks of pregnancy. Tired easily, always hungry, in some pain/body stress, but unable to concentrate on anything work related….
In retrospect, here are the things I would recommend women do in the days/weeks before giving birth:
- Check the levels of your shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent and make sure to replace anything close to being done. Check on the TP, paper towels, and other household items as well.
- Schedule maternity leave notices on any blogs, set up email vacation autoresponders, and update voicemail messages to let people know what to expect from you communication-wise.
- Set up a comfortable nursing station, with reading material, snacks, comfortable pillows, remote controls, and a little table nearby.
- Clean up your media queues! Check your Pandora and Spotify stations, your Hulu and Netflix subscriptions, and in general put lighthearted stuff at the top for easy access.
- Decide what level of Facebook and twitter interaction you welcome in your life around birth and in the first weeks. What information do you want to share with people? What information do you want your parents to share? Let it be known.
- Pick out a baby announcement (I like the designs at minted.com)
- Read Amazon reviews for baby products you’re considering and throw them in a baby registry or saved items in your cart to buy later as needed.
- Find information for a good local lactation consultant. You might need it.
- Set up (or ask a friend to set up) a meal train schedule for friends to bring you delicious food!
I also like this list from a reference book:
Enjoy this quiet time before your baby’s birth!
- Visit a new or elegant restaurant
- Enjoy a walk every day
- make a couple of stews or casseroles, and freeze them for after the baby is born.
- Have lunch with a friend.
- Treat yourself to a massage.
- Make a list of numbers to call when the baby is born.
- Spend a romantic night or weekend in a hotel with your partner.
- Take a bubble bath.
- Shop for yourself, not the baby.
- Buy some fresh flowers.
- Bake cookies or bread.
- Visit a local museum.
- Read a good book that’s not about birth or babies.
- Write a letter to someone you don’t see often enough.
- Go to a concert.
- Go dancing with your partner.
- Have your partner take some sexy and silly photos of your pregnant body.
- Look at your baby pictures and your partner’s.
- Savor being two before you become three!
From “The Joy of Pregnancy” by Tori Kropp
- Bathrobe and slippers
- Basic toiletry items (toothbrush, hairbrush, hair clip)
- Favorite socks
- Lip balm
- Massage oil
- Tennis ball or other massage aid
- Comfortable pillow (with a case that isn’t white so you don’t forget to bring it home)
- Frozen ice or juice bars, or your favorite juice or other cold drink
- Small cooler (if no refrigerator will be available)
- MP3 player with your favorite music
- Reading material or a deck of cards
- Nursing bra
- Extra pair of underpants
- Loose, comfortable clothes for going home
- Address book or list of phone numbers to share the good news
From “The Joy of Pregnancy” by Tori Kropp
So today is the “official” due date but our son seems pretty snug in there for awhile. So until further notice, in answer to your question HAVE YOU HAD THAT KID YET? answer.
I’m going about life as normally as possible for someone with a squashed bladder, and planning without commitment to easy social and business outings to keep my mind off the anxiety of waiting. The overnight bag is packed, the diapers are ready to be filled, and we have everything as ready as possible… today I am looking forward to getting lunch at my new favorite thai restaurant around the corner, having tea with some other Portland business owners, and possibly doing in some final maternity self-portraits at the studio.
Here are a couple of links that I’ve recently enjoyed:
Pregnancy Etiquette: Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman
I’m generally a social over-sharer, so I don’t mind giving people personal information within reason. BUT: I have been appalled by the autopilot questions people ask a pregnant woman, often in a social situation that makes it extra uncomfortable not to answer — “was this planned?” “were you guys trying for long?” are among the worst offenders, and people don’t think twice about asking that (REALLY?).
I think this one is specific to me, but I also get really annoyed when strangers and acquaintances ask what we’re going to name our son (we’re keeping it secret). I’m fine with friends asking this question as it can be relevant to other baby conversation, but when the Macy’s saleslady fired it off in a series of five other logistic questions I just wanted to punch her in the face. I don’t care to explain my choices to her because she’s bored on the sales floor, I just wanted to browse their nursing tank tops in silence.
While we’re on the topic of pregnancy etiquette, let’s talk about people who have had kids. I understand that many of the choices we’re making may seem naïve and we’ll probably learn the hard way on some things (ok, we’re probably not going to be able to get away with a plastic-free home…) but don’t you dare roll your eyes at me when YOU ASK and I tell you we’re at a birth center with midwives not doctors, and are choosing a more natural birth plan. The typical response is “good luck with that honey.” It’s basically exactly like the women share in this post: People’s Reactions to Natural Birth.
I picked up a paper at the library that talks about the Multnomah County Library zine program. If you have a new zine or minicomic, send a note about the publication to email@example.com or mail a sample to:
801 SW 10th Ave
Portland OR 97205
“please include contact information, prices and distros/vendors!”
I’m notorious for being a little bit late to just about everything.
My friend Arnold Santos once named it “time optimism” – which means that I always think I can get [a lot more done than realistically possible] in a short amount of time, AND I also act in ways that suggest my commute to whatever location will be hassle-free and devoid of traffic. Sound familiar?
Awhile back I was given the suggestion to “just put on your shoes” (source: Marla Cilley via hp) — when you’re dragging your feet on getting ready or just keep procrastinating leaving the house, the small act of putting on your shoes is committing yourself psychologically to the reality of the situation. This works if you’re supposed to be headed out to the gym, or a social event, or a business meeting. Something about suiting up with the right shoes for the task is enough subtle trigger to get the rest of you going.
I have some other tricks I have used since I was young, like putting together my gear bag and picking out the clothes I will want – the night before. As a non-morning adult, if I have a meeting before my preferred rise-and-shine time (10am is about the earliest I can preferentially be clean and hold a decent conversation) I sometimes put out everything from socks to scarf for the next day’s activity. Limiting morning fashion decisions for my not-yet-functioning brain is a smart choice all around.
Here’s some smart advice from Gretchin Rubin of The Happiness Project.
I think she’s the source of the “put on your shoes” trick, too.
I was going to try not to buy m/any maternity clothing items and just see what I needed as time went by. It didn’t last long. I gave in at about five months due to a combination of clearance sales and discomfort in daily life.
Basic maternity items I recommend:
- Maternity underwear. You could just buy a size up and wear ‘em low for awhile, but as soon as I put on a pair of trial undies my entire body said “AHHHHH.” I bought two colors (black and tan) and several of each after using a trial pair. Would NOT recommend the synthetic-y stuff put out by GAP/Old Navy. Go for cotton if you can.
- Maternity tank tops. I have been squeaking by with just two (one black, one white) which go with everything but I have to do a lot of laundry because I wear them almost every single day as a base layer. As soon as I tried these out I was amazed – I had gotten used to being drafty in the clothing gap between my pants and shirt. NO MORE DRAFTS!
- One good pair of dressy pants. This is where I recommend investing more money because you pay more for better fit. I chose black to match with everything, but I could have alternately gone with navy or brown to match my preferred wardrobe colors. I read the reviews and went with a GAP customer favorite that happened to be on sale at the time. GAP Full panel modern boot pants #761852. Since I was mail-ordering the bulk of these items I was super happy to use information from the user reviews which informed me on fit and pant length. Expect off-the-rack maternity pants in most stores to fit terribly, especially in the under-$30 range. Pony up for the tailored fit of one nicer pair!
- I did end up wanting one more pair of full panel jeans so I could comfortably roll around on the floor of my photo studio. I originally picked up a clearance pair from Target that was supposed to sit below the belly but didn’t have a panel, and that didn’t work out very well. I went with some random pair from Motherhood Maternity. The dark blue goes with everything. It’s fantastic for everyday wear and looks a lot more fashionable than the Lululemon yoga pants my husband cringes about!
- The biggest surprise to me: I ended up keeping 4-5 tops (I actually ordered a lot more but returned the ones that didn’t look right or fit correctly). If I could choose only ONE item for fashion purposes it would probably be a cute, flattering top. Stripes are pretty adorable on the pregnant belly, and I enjoy wearing soft fabrics with a couple of sweaters thrown in. Around the house I tend to default to a couple of cozy knits but when I go out I bust out the trendier stuff. DEFINITELY USE CUSTOMER REVIEWS to guess on sizing for tops.
Believe me, when you pair a cute maternity top with a tank top, the undies, and pants that fit for the first time… you feel like a new woman who can conquer the world.
- MISCELLANEOUS: I also got one pair of black leggings for layering (not used often), one dress specific to maternity for a holiday party (most regular dresses will accommodate a belly anyway), and a pair of maternity tights I have not yet worn (regular nylons are NOT fun to try when you have more than 6 months of belly on you).
Maternity items I say skip:
- Belly bands. They’re $20 at Target. I didn’t think they were worth the trouble. I was able to get away with stretchy pants and skirts until transitioning to full belly-accommodating pieces. The bands just rolled around uncomfortably all day when I tried them out.
- Sweaters. If I worked in a cold office, I might invest in one basic layering cardigan, but for the most part you can either go up a size or just wear regular sweaters unbuttoned.
- I feel torn on maternity-specific tights. I am tempted to just go way upsize on an opaque pair and wear them low if I ever need to wear them again.
- Synthetic materials. Stretchy is good, but I was sad about the tank tops and undies I got that were 90% synthetics. They’re just icky on the skin and cause a bunch of static electricity. Go cotton!