1st Pregnancy? Here’s some Crazy Advice You Won’t Find in Your Baby Books

To all my Friends who are Pregnant for the First Time,

Sit down, lie down, relax and rest as much as you can.  Take advantage of the help and offers to pick up the food you crave in the middle of the night.  Seriously.  Take full advantage.  Because not only does the novelty wear off but it also becomes harder to rest and just look after YOU after the first baby.  You do have a baby to care for after all!

So, when your significant other/parent/friend/co-worker offers to go and grab you that slushie, icecream, burger, popcorn or smoothie you are craving, TAKE IT!  Don’t worry about inconveniencing them.  They want to help and chances are, if you plan on having a second baby, the offers won’t come quite as often with your next pregnancy.  Take advantage while you can.  Even if you are not craving that item now.  Take it and keep it for 5 minutes from now when you will desperately want it and need it.

If you have a friend or family member who offers to help you put all of your new baby gear away and wash and fold all of your baby laundry for you, don’t insist on doing it yourself.  Sure it’s exciting now to fold every new sleeper, onesie and match each pair of teeny, tiny baby socks.  The novelty wears off.  And when you have 18 loads of baby laundry to do while bouncing a baby on your hip, you will wish you took advantage of that offer and hope that someone offers again when they see your mountain of laundry.  While insisting on doing all of the baby laundry but never getting to it, I sat on my fat preggo bum in the rocking chair in our nursery while my sister folded every single newborn baby outfit, blanket, sleeper, onesie, hat, etc.  I am so thankful she insisted on doing this because our first baby came a week early and I would have been screwed.  I think of this day often when I’m buried in laundry and wonder if she will insist on doing this again?  (Hint! Hint! If you’re reading this!)

If your significant other offers to give you a massage to ease the achiness and pain of your back and shoulders or your swollen feet from carrying around your massive load of a belly, take it.  Do NOT hesitate.  Take the offer immediately.  Do not think even for a second that he is tired too so he doesn’t have to because he does!  I was the worst for saying “No, it’s okay.  You’re tired too!”  Then I would regret this as I tossed and turned struggling to get comfortable while listening to Hubby snore his face off all night.  Sometimes I even flipped him the bird while he was sleeping because I was so mad that he was sleeping and I wasn’t when I needed the sleep more than he did.  (Sleep deprivation is a terrifying thing!)  Anyways, after the first pregnancy, the massages and pampering are less and less likely to happen.  Again, you will have a baby.  So if you are going to get any rest, someone else has to watch the baby.  Take the massages and pampering now while you can get them.

Stock up on paper towels, toilet paper, Kleenex, bottled water, laundry detergent, cat food and cat litter now.  These things are so much harder to purchase with a stroller.  If you do the “carry baby in infant carseat and place inside cart” thing, you are limited for space for groceries.  If you do the “push the stroller with one hand and carry a shopping basket in the other” thing, it’s tough to find a place to carry the big stuff.  Stock pile now. I would tell you to stock pile diapers now as well since they also fit into the “big, bulky” category but you probably think you already have more than enough and won’t believe me if I told you that you will need waaaay more until you are rapidly changing diapers and going through what seems like a case each day.

While on the topic of stockpiling, buy anything from anywhere that has narrow aisles or is a tight space now.  Where a stroller can’t fit and maneuver, you can’t go.  I usually buy all of my spices at a bulk store but find it hard to maneuver with a stroller and even harder now with a double stroller and little Miss 16 Months’ hands reaching out and grabbing everything.  Let’s just say my cooking is getting blander and blander by the day and I have come up with all sorts of creative and resourceful ways to marinate and flavour food as my spices have run out one by one.  Why don’t I just run out to the store when the babies are sleeping?  Because I’m just too damn tired.  If my babies are actually sleeping at the same time and I have an hour or two before bedtime, I’m thinking sitting and relaxing and enjoying some adult conversation with Hubby while watching a show that doesn’t have an animated, singing Spanish girl or purple dinosaur as the main character.  I’m not thinking about spices.

Allow other people to do your yard work.  Last year, I remember having my daughter outside all bundled up playing in the exersaucer while I raked leaves.  I was 4 or 5 months pregnant at the time.  This task almost killed me.  I was so exhausted but it needed to be done.  This year I am watching the leaves start to change colour and fall to the ground and I don’t want to rake them.  I really don’t.  I have no excuse.  Why the hell did I rake them last year?  Why didn’t I take advantage while I could?  Again, take advantage of any offer to help with anything.

Has someone offered to cook meals for you but you are so organized and particular about what you eat that you insist on cooking yourself and possibly even freezing a bunch of meals for once baby is born?  Take the food.  Especially if it is freezable.  These offers don’t come around forever.  Some day, not too far down the road you are going to wish you had something home-cooked to throw in the oven without having to start from scratch and cook it yourself.  Especially if you have been busy with baby and haven’t had a chance to do the stroller/shopping basket juggle in order to get groceries after a good 7 hours of packing and preparing to leave the house.  The same goes for offers to help clean your house.  Take them.  Take them right now or send the person offering to my house.

You know all of those reasons that you “just jump in the car” and go anywhere.  Do them now.  Get them out of your system.  Just “running to the bank” or just “running to grab a loaf of bread” or just “running to grab a coffee” from your favourite takeout place are not impossible once baby is here but it is soooo much harder and takes soooo much more effort that it is rarely worth it.  Grabbing a takeout coffee from a drive-thru is hardly a treat when you have had to time it out between baby’s feedings, get baby dressed, bundled up if it’s cold, fastened into a car seat, pack a diaper bag and load up your car in order to get there.  Learn to love coffee you can make at home.  It was a tough adjustment for me.  Takeout coffee is my weakness and man, does it taste better on the odd occasion that I do drink it. I definitely didn’t appreciate it nearly enough when it was so easy to go grab it.

Get your haircut.  Get your nails done.  Do anything for you that makes YOU feel great.  Don’t say you’re not going to because you’re too tired.  As tired as you are, you don’t actually know what “tired” is yet.  Do it now.  I just got my hair cut yesterday for the first time in 6 months.  Yikes!  And that’s not even the longest stretch between hair cuts I have had  over the past 16 months.  I run into people when I do escape from time to time and they say “Wow! You’ve grown your hair out!  It’s so long!”  My hair being long is not so much of a choice as much as it just happened because I don’t have the  time or energy to get my hair cut.  Do it now before ponytails and frizzy split ends become your best friends.

Take long, hot, quiet showers any time you can.  You won’t appreciate how amazing a long, hot, shower feels until baby arrives.  Some days you will be so busy with baby that it will be the afternoon before you even get dressed or brush your teeth.  If you have no one around to hold baby while you hit the shower, your entire shower will be spent peeking through the curtain to where baby is sitting in a bassinet, playpen or some other contraption to make sure he is okay and make sure he knows you still exist since you are out of sight, so in his mind, you are gone forever.  If he isn’t happy, you will also spend your shower time jumping in and out of the shower to look after his needs.  It gets a little easier once baby is old enough to sit up and play on the floor of the shower while you quickly take care of business.  However, kiss HOT showers goodbye because while it is easier to have baby in plain sight while you shower, you will have to embrace the lukewarm water temperature that is safest for baby.  While staying at my sister’s house a couple of months ago, she was watching my babies while I had a shower.  When I walked out of the bathroom in a cloud of hot steam, she commented “Woah! How do you have showers THAT hot?”  An opportunity for hot water presented itself so I took full advantage.  This doesn’t happen nearly often enough. The same goes for bubble baths. I had forgotten what those were when I started writing this section.

Go out and see your friends.  Even if you don’t stay long.  Sure you are tired and of course you need your sleep but it will be much harder to go out and see other people when baby arrives.  The same goes for spending time with your significant other.  Go to a movie, enjoy a long and leisurely dinner out, go away for a weekend.  Enjoy each other.  It will be harder to create these experiences once baby is here. 

Take or leave this advice.  It’s just my own 2 cents.  At the end of the day, you are going to be overwhelmed with advice coming from every direction from family members to random strangers you run into in the checkout line at the grocery store.  Take the advice you like and leave the rest. All I’m saying is that looking back, there are definitely situations I wish I would have taken full advantage of and I also wish I would have milked the preggo thing a little more while I could.  Ah well.

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