I’ve seen a fair few lists of suggestions for things to do when you find out you’re pregnant. And I can honestly say I have no idea what any of them say because I just skip right over them. I’m sure they have some great ideas, especially for first-time moms, but I just never felt I needed to read them.
But I’ve been thinking about the first few weeks of pregnancy the last few nights. It seems to me that that’s when the first gung-ho excitement hits. And in that excitement many articles are read about all aspects of pregnancy – good, bad, and ugly. While I think that reading a lot is better than just reading a couple things, it can overwhelm you and make you second guess your own abilities – to carry your babe to term (I think that’s about 38 weeks) and to have some form of your ideal birth. So as you’re reading everything you can find I want to share five things I think are important to keep in mind as you are going through those pivotal weeks after discovering just what your body will be doing over the next 9 months.
1. Find time to relax
This, in my opinion, is the most important thing you can do when you’re pregnant. The first trimester is often the toughest part of the whole process (from my one previous experience) because of morning sickness, exhaustion, being hungry but nothing sounds good, keeping hydrated when water sounds awful, insomnia. It can be an endless list of roughness and resting and relaxing at some point every day can help you get through. Whether it’s a few minutes in the morning, a break mid-day at work, laying down before dinner, (whatever works best for your schedule) making time to relax each and every day is super important. Your body is working double or triple time, often on not enough food or liquids, trying to create your baby as well as the placenta that won’t start working toward the beginning of the second trimester.
Find a hobby that lets you spend some mindless time – coloring (they make great adult coloring books now), cross-stitching, writing, binge-watching Netflix – lay down and close your eyes or take a nap. It can be hard to find the time when you’re rushing off to work or to the bathroom, but I promise it can help you make it to the end of the day.
2. Know that you can’t do it all – & that’s OK
This is definitely one I’m learning the hard way, and fast, this time around. Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom taking care of the house has fallen to me. It’s actually something I get a lot of enjoyment out of. Problem is, I spend most of my time now dry-heaving when I’m vertical or when I’m dealing with disgusting dishes. I feel so bad that it is all falling to BJ to take care of when he gets home from work or on the weekends. But I’m slowly getting to the point where I can be ok with not being able to do everything I was doing before. And this point leads nicely into the next one.
3. Ask for help and ACCEPT help when offered
This is another thing I have a really hard time with. I am a very independent person and have always had a hard time accepting help when it’s offered, whether by family or friends. During the four trimesters (three in pregnancy and the first 3 months of the newborn stage) knowing when you need help is crucial. Your body is going through an incredible number of changes – hormones are out of whack, creating life, and then sustaining that life – that you just can’t do it all.
Ask for help with freezer meals or cleaning, laundry, watching your older kids for a couple hours. Whatever it is that just keeps piling up or falling behind, ask someone to help you take care of it. I have been so blessed to have family nearby and a wonderful ward family that has pitched in with cleaning and taking Sweet Girl for a couple hours here and there. Having those things taken care of for you every now and then will help you feel so much more relaxed.
4. Eat & drink what you can, when you can
Everyone is going to ask you if you are eating enough (some with even say you’re eating too much). Just tell them to stuff it, unless it’s your doctor, of course. When you’re growing another person it can be hard to eat healthy let alone eat at all sometimes. I’m no professional, but I think that if you’re struggling to get anything in and keep it in just eat what you can. Cereal the only thing that sounds good? Eat that. Junk food and fast food the only things that will stay down? Eat that. You know that it’s important to eat healthy during this time. Just do what you can to get the calories you need until you are feeling a little better and can eat that well-balanced diet you’re being told left and right to eat.
And keeping the fluids in? When water sounds and tastes disgusting (why is that?) it can be hard to think of what you should drink to keep hydrated. For a few weeks I was definitely struggling to stay hydrated. But I’ve since thought up some decent ways that will hopefully help you avoid dehydration. Herbal teas (just make sure the ones you want are safe for pregnancy, some aren’t), fruit juice popsicles, fruit-infused water, fruit juice, electrolyte drinks (homemade or store-bought). I’m sure there are a million more things that you could be drinking or sucking on that will help. Just do what you can to stay hydrated, especially in the first trimester when it seems to be the hardest.
5. Find the joy in your pregnancy
This is probably the hardest part for a lot of women in the first trimester of pregnancy. Just check out my post about the “joys” of the first trimester and you’ll get the picture. But there are good things about being pregnant. Your fabulous body is creating new life. You are doing everything in your power to do everything you need to do every day. You are doing the basics – eating, drinking fluids, and resting. Soon enough you will be able to hear that little one’s heartbeat. You’ll be able to see that growing person in a sonogram soon. You’ll be able to feel those little flutters and kicks. Pregnancy is a wonderful, exciting time. Just like in life you sometimes have to look for the positives, but you won’t have to look far to find them during this time of your life.
Looking back on this list now that it’s all written out these things are hard to do sometimes. You’re working hard, even when you’re sitting around doing nothing, and trying to do any of these things may seem insurmountable. I honestly don’t follow my own advice most days, but when I do I notice that that day goes just a little bit more smoothly. Pregnancy is hard. But there are things you can do to lessen the load a little.