Dear pregnant (and future pregnant) women everywhere,
You’re beautiful. Stunning, actually. Isn’t it amazing what our bodies are capable of? God really knew what He was doing when He made us in charge of carrying babies. I’m almost positive men could never handle it.
After receiving both solicited and unsolicited advice over the past ten months, I would like to share my two cents with you. Take it or leave it—I’m no expert by any means, and most of these lessons were learned the hard way.
First of all, please embrace your body. Wear clothes that make you feel pretty and have your husband take pictures of your growing belly. He will be just as amazed that your skin can stretch that far. Don’t wait until your third trimester to buy maternity clothes, specifically pants and shorts. Get a belly band. Actually, get two. Maxi skirts, skinny belts, and wedges are your friends. Use them wisely.
Treat yourself. To an extra cookie, a deluxe pedicure, a nice pair of maternity jeans, and some new makeup. You deserve it. Keep change in your car at all times and do not hesitate to visit the McDonalds drive-through for a vanilla ice cream cone. It costs $1.08 and they will take that in a combination of nickels and pennies. I speak from experience.
Don’t listen to strangers. They will try to give you advice in the middle of Lowes about stretch marks and 99% of the time it is completely unhelpful. On a related note, you do not have to let anyone touch your stomach if you don’t want to. Seriously.
Yes, it’s normal. Whatever you’re wondering about, I promise you another pregnant women has dealt with the same issue, whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have a right to feel a certain way. Whatever you’re feeling—fear, guilt, disappointment, resentment—it’s normal, and it’s okay. How you process and deal with those feelings is up to you, but know that you have every right to feel them in the first place.
Listen to your body. If it asks for an orange, don’t give it pizza instead. Taking care of a baby inside the womb is much easier than caring for a baby outside the womb. All we need to do is take care of ourselves and we’re automatically taking care of our babies. So, be good to yourself. Sleep when you need to sleep and walk when you need to walk. Speaking of which, put the scale away. Your doctor will tell you if you’re getting out of control. Agonizing over your weight is not doing your body or your baby any favors.
Let your husband help. Let him make dinner and do the dishes and fold the towels. He might not do any of those things the “right” way (see: our way), but it doesn’t matter. We need to let go of the control and they need to feel confident in their abilities to help us do so.
It’s totally acceptable to occasionally spend five straight hours on the couch watching television. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Nap. As often as you’d like. Pregnant sleep is not good sleep so anytime you can sleep, do it.
Take time to enjoy the baby kicks. Sometimes that means stopping what you’re doing to be completely still and place your hands on your tummy. You and your baby are the only ones who know what that feels like, and that’s pretty damn special.
Skip the pregnancy books. Ask your doctor and your girlfriends instead. The books will make you paranoid. And speaking of paranoid, avoid paranoid mothers, even if they’re your friends. You know the type—they’re the ones who read ALL the pregnancy books.
Cry. Hard. Every day if you want to. Let it all out, happy and sad tears alike.
Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your labor and delivery classes. Also, don’t wait until the last minute to buy your crib. And speaking of buying, don’t buy a used glider. Some things are better bought new.
Love yourself. Write letters to your baby. Go on dates with your husband. Thank God every day for the miracle He’s created inside of you.
We are blessed, so don’t complain too much.
Be grateful. Be joyous. Be the mother you were made to be.
From one pregnant woman to another, I have every ounce of faith that you will be.