Pregnancy can be like a roller coaster ride, mark by lots of nausea, jarring pain, sleepless nights, mood swings, and new food cravings. Add to that, having to wait through what seems like an eternity to greet your tiny human, the squishy-faced, miniature version of yourself can make you wish you had a time machine and could fast forward to the part where you have a beautiful, healthy baby. Yet, despite the discomforts, pain, sleeplessness, and other things which can come along with the pregnancy territory, many mothers finding themselves looking back on their pregnancies with a nostalgic longing. They wish that they could go back and do things differently. Outlining these things and sharing them with other mothers may be just what is needed to help mothers who are pregnant (or will be) to really enjoy their pregnancy. But, since hindsight is 20/20, the insights gathered are from mothers who missed the boat the first time around, but wish they hadn’t on some particular things.
There are many factors which come into play when it comes to not being able to enjoy pregnancy. The age that you get pregnant, who you partner with to have a child (if you choose a partner at all, where you choose to live, what access you have to healthcare, your diet, your general health, and other factors can influence the quality of your pregnancy. There is a lot to be said for environment, as well, in influences physical and emotional health, which is necessary to grow a developing child. But, if there was any advice that moms could give their pregnant selves, there are some key points which stand out.
15 Don’t Worry About Having All The “Stuff”
Many pregnant mothers, especially first time mothers, remember being consumed by the feeling that there were just so many things that they would need for their baby. Any trip around the baby section of a local department store might overwhelm even the most seasoned of parents. For families where finances are an issue, never forget the power of a gift registry. This way, family and friends can help offset costs for some of these cool items.But, the thing to keep in mind is that, even the mothers who had many of the different gadgets and gizmos on the market noted that they rarely used them and had their few go-to items that they used. In fact, many items that they got were never even taken out the box! Rather than stressing out over which bouncer to get or which bathtub to get, focus on making sure that you have the basic necessities for the baby and everything else will work itself out.
Although the misconception is that hypnobirthing is all about being prepared for labor and delivery, there are many benefits gained while pregnant. In fact, a hynobirth cannot happen unless a mother begins practicing while pregnant. Some of the benefits to hynobirth is being able to control the threshold of pain experienced, being more connected and centered with your baby, learning how to communicate with your birthing partner, and learning to work with your baby rather than against it, as can be encouraged by traditional methods. Mothers who have reaped the benefits of hynobirthing remark that the chances of them needing medical interventions, such as anesthesia or c-sections likely would have been increased had they not learned the principles taught by a good hynobirthing coach, such as proper breathing and focusing the mind. Hypnobirthing can add joy to a pregnancy by allowing a mother the space to encourage her body to work the way that it was intended to, without adding stress and anxiety to the situation.
13 Hire A Doula
The world of midwifery is often uncharted territory when it comes to new moms since so much information is passed around. What many mothers don’t know is that to have a doula, you do not necessarily need to partner with a midwife. A doula’s role is to ensure that the pregnancy is as safe and comfortable as possible for the pregnant mother as well as her partner. The thing that many don’t realize is that a pregnant mother has specific needs that may be overlooked when the excitement of the pregnancy, and then the labor and delivery, on the horizon. A good doula will serve as a liaison to give the pregnant mother the space to care for, not just the needs of her growing baby, but to make sure that her own needs are being met, physically and emotionally. Having a third party who serves as a listening ear can go a long way when it comes to navigating the route toward bringing the baby into a peaceful and loving environment.
12 Get Plenty Of Sleep
Many mothers admit that this was advice that was passed along, but often times is taken for granted. Soon will come the days of midnight feedings, diaper changes, and nursing a sick baby back to health. Many mothers note that they do not sleep through the night even years after they give birth and the baby has been on a regular sleep schedule. Getting enough sleep while pregnant can help prepare (to some degree, anyway) a new mother to handle the shift in her sleep schedule.
Also, sleep helps to replenish the body and keep its natural functions regulated. So, getting enough sleep helps to encourage healthy development of the baby. While there are never any guarantees when it comes to having a healthy pregnancy, this is one area which can substantially help to increase the chances of having a great pregnancy, labor, and delivery, all worthy goals for any soon-to-be mothers.
11 Don't Overdo It
It seems never-ending when preparing for the arrival of a new addition to the family. Many times, mothers are so worried about recovering from being pregnant that they put unnecessary stress on their bodies and minds by doing strenuous physical labor or by constantly adding to the list of things that they feel need to be done.
Take moments to breathe and relax. It’s OK to spend the entire day in bed sometimes, doing nothing but simply existing. Bask in the moment of being pregnant. The more calm and peaceful that a mother can remain while pregnant sets the tone for the temperament of the child and the manner in which parenting occurs.
There is nothing worse than looking back and realizing that you wasting time and energy on something that you didn’t have to. And since most mothers want to look back on their pregnancy with fondness, learning how to gauge activity level is important.
10 Involve The Family
Because of all of the changes happening in a woman’s body during pregnancy, it can be easy to self-contain and just “get through it”, especially if the pregnancy is marked by discomforts such as morning sickness or aches and pains. But, there are many joys which can come from involving family members in the pregnancy process. Letting your birthing partner interact with your pregnant body can help them to have a better understanding of the challenges which you may be facing. Also, other children are able to form a better bond with their mother and their new sibling before the child is born. These are memories that they will remember and will be able to share later in life. Creating these happy memories are ones that will bring lasting joy.
Allowing your family to enjoy the process of pregnancy can help a pregnant mother to get outside of her own body, so to speak, and see things from the eyes of others. Beholding the beauty that is creating life should be cherished and having supportive and loving family around during this time can do much to increase the emotional satisfaction that a mother can have while pregnant.
9 Eat Better Foods
One of the trademarks of pregnancy is the food cravings. They seem to come out of nowhere and can be the strangest of foods. Giving into these cravings can be the most satisfying experience, especially when they keep a pregnant mother up late and night.
It is important to remember, though, that even though it may be something that the pregnant body craves, it may not always be the best things to eat while pregnant. Therefore, paying attention to the types of food that a mother eats can help to provide mother and baby the vitamins needed for healthy development. Since the majority of nutrients which a mother intakes during pregnancy are passed along to her child, maintaining a healthy diet is important to replace the vitamins needed in the mother’s body to keep her healthy. For instance, many mothers note developing dental issues due to a vitamin D deficiency developed during pregnancy. Be aware and proactively picking foods which keep a mother strong can help to prevent these negative outcomes.
8 Be More Intimate
Body image issues and general feelings of malaise can cloud the way that a pregnant mother feels about herself. Sometimes, new mothers decide that they are not interested in sex and go without it. Or some mothers have issue with having sex, unsure if the baby can be affected by such intrusion.
However, sex can be just the physical activity needed to keep the body moving and flexible, which are helpful in facilitating a peaceful and safe delivery. Also, having sex with your partner can increase the bond that you have with them, deepening your connection and creating a more loving environment for the child to be born into.
At the very least, many women note an increase in libido and get more enjoyment out of sex, likely due to increases in hormones. Finding time to have sex with a new baby can be a challenge, so it’s a good idea to strike while the iron is hot!
7 Keep A Journal
Writing can be very therapeutic. Given the hormones which can govern a pregnant woman’s life, having an outlet to express ones feelings would be helpful. Many pregnant women have gotten a lot of relief from keeping a daily journal of their feelings. It can be a place where a pregnant mother can keep record of her thoughts, even ones that she might not want to share with others. Being able to process any feelings can help to smooth out the pregnancy, labor, and delivery process. Holding onto any emotions can disrupt the birthing process and cause complications. Writing things down and then releasing them can help to avoid these trapped emotions interrupting the miracle of life.
At the very least, it would be interesting to view the musings of the pregnant brain. Year later, long after the child is grown, it can be fun to look back and have a good laugh or reflect joyfully on a time in life where an unpredictable change happened.
6 Get A Belly Cast
Belly casts are made by artists who create a mold by wrapping the pregnant mother’s belly and covering it with some sort of hardening substance. Once the mold hardens, the artist then decorates the belly mold. This mold is one that the mother can keep and display as a piece of art.
This helps the pregnant mother to truly celebrate her body at the stage of development that the cast is done. Long after the pains have subsided and life gets back to normal, it can be easy to forget what being pregnant was like. Having a beautiful artifact from this time can help to remind the new mother of the bright moments from being pregnant. Also, this can be something that crystallizes the pregnancy in the mind of the child once born. Pictures can only convey so much, but having an exact replica of the pregnant belly can help the child to appreciate the sacrifice that his or her mother made in carrying them.
5 Use Fewer Chemicals
So many studies are always surfacing about the dangers of manmade products while pregnant. In fact, many products put a general disclaimer that discourages the use of them by pregnant mothers. The reason for this is that many products have chemicals which can cause a lot of damage to a growing baby.
But, because of the overload of information and not knowing what to avoid all of the time, some mothers look back on their pregnancy with regret because they came to realize that some of the products that they were using could have caused marked harm to their child. For instance, some mothers dyed their hair all during their pregnancy only to find out that these dangerous chemicals actually can seep through their pores and affect the development of their baby. Some of these products have been listed in class action suits, but the general rule of thumb should be to avoid any product or substance that is not naturally occurring.
4 Set Clear Boundaries
No two pregnant women are created equal. So, what might be acceptable to one might be unacceptable to others. In the age where popular opinion seems to win out over personal preference, setting clear boundaries about your body and emotions are very important. Some pregnant mothers encourage people, even strangers, to touch their pregnant belly, excited to share their joy with any passerby. Other mothers are very uncomfortable with the prospect of having so much attention during their pregnancy. Whatever the case, speaking up about what makes a pregnant mother comfortable can help to ensure that she avoids situations which she may find uncomfortable.
It might not be easy, especially when people feel that all mothers should allow people to enjoy their pregnancy, but learning to properly express feelings is an important trait to have for any expecting mother. How else will she be able to advocate for her child if she cannot do this for herself? It is about more than developing confidence than anything else.
3 Connect With Other Pregnant Mothers
Talking to other mothers who have had babies is helpful in gaining insights on an experience which may be new. But, talking to mothers who are going through it at the same time have unparalleled benefits. It creates a kind of solidarity and support to know that they are going through the exact things that you are, not speaking from a place of “been there, done that”.
A pregnant mother might feel more comfortable sharing her thoughts and feelings about things with another pregnant mother. Sometimes, after having gone through pregnancy, women take on this air as though they are pros, which may appear judgmental or condescending to an inexperienced mother. Asking a peer “dumb” questions or sharing fears may be more likely to take place depending on the maturity level of the pregnant woman and the level of support that she has in her life. Pregnant mothers can find this support in online communities as well as support groups within local communities.
2 Don't Rush It
Forums and chat rooms are filled with questions from eager soon-to-be mothers asking what they can do to speed along the process of having their baby. There are all types of advice offered, ranging from yucky tonics to membrane sweeps which start the process of labor. Mothers who have looked for such advice or who have taken them say that they wished that they had just waited and allowed things to progress naturally.
The reason that most say that they wished that they had waited was because they were not ready. Most mothers would admit that they are never as prepared as they would like to be when the baby comes, but this can be especially true of mothers who intervened to rush the process.
Some babies have experienced negative side affects from this such as developmental delays or illnesses which came from disrupting their natural process. Any good mother would do all that she could to avoid causing undue strain on her child, so caution should be taken when considering any methods of intervention.
1 Plan For A Better Pregnancy
While most women learn to embrace the joys of pregnancy, some women wish that they had planned their pregnancy better. Some women realize that they were not ready to be mothers when they decided to get pregnant, so they wish that they had waited until they were more established financially and in maturity as a woman before stepping into their role as a mother.
Also, as mentioned before, there are many things which can complicate a pregnancy. Proper planning can help to prevent many of these complications and help to make the pregnancy more enjoyable.
Considering things like what type of birth you would like to have, what type of provider you would like to have care for you, and your lifestyle should all be taken into consideration before becoming pregnant. Those still hoping to become pregnant are in an incredible position to have more forethought and plan for a better pregnancy.
Of course, it’s easier to see things more clearly after the fact. So, stopping to smell the roses, so to speak, while pregnant can help to drive home the meaning of this important phase of life. As time goes on, mothers note that they forget so much about being pregnant. The best way to make sure that you remember the wonderful joys of pregnancies is to make sure that you create a beautiful pregnancy possible. By always learning new things and being open to new possibilities, pregnancy can be enjoyed the first time, with no regrets.