Making it through the last month of pregnancy
My due date is officially 2 days away. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the last month of pregnancy has proved to be the most difficult. For me, it's been a combination of dealing with extreme sadness, raging hormones, anxiety about wanting to be a good mom, fear of loosing myself, difficultly accepting my body, and all the life changes happening at once. There are so many reasons why women have difficulty and every woman's experience is different, but I found several things extremely helpful in getting through the last month. So I thought I would share with you!! :) They are, of course, from my experience and so they may not work for you. But, I hope they can help in some small way or be that dose of encouragement you need! :) Also, be sure to share in the comments what things helped you cope with the last month of pregnancy. I'd love to hear!
10 WAYS THAT I'VE MADE IT THROUGH THIS LAST MONTH:
1 // Make a list of things you're thankful for
Whether it's about pregnancy or just about life, making a list of things you are grateful for can help you out of your pity party or impatient mood. At the very least, it can distract you from your constant obsession with wanting this baby out of you and give you something else to appreciate and think positively about. :D
2 // Do something you won't be able to do once baby comes
There are so many things that will be more difficult to do or that just won't be an option for a few months after baby is born. Think about all those things you love to do and try to go out and do some of them! Appreciate these last days without baby - whether it's just you or whether it's you and your partner - appreciate time alone as well as time just the two of you. For me, I went almost everyday and worked remotely from a coffee shop or outside because I knew that would be much more difficult once Rowan was born. I also took several leisurely walks around Target and browsed bookstores - quietly enjoying taking my time to look through things.
3 // Make plans for something fun every day
My husband had a wonderful idea one night when I was having a meltdown that we should plan something fun every day together during the last week before my due date. Whether it was to rent a movie and make a fort in the living room, take a walk at the park, get Krispy Kreme doughnuts, go out to dinner, paint artwork together, or make a music playlist of our favorite songs. It was really nice and special to have things to look forward to every day besides the one thing you can't seem to wait for. :) There were moments when I actually wanted to make it to my due date (WHAT?!?!) because I was enjoying spending this special time together so much. Seriously, though.
4 // Remind yourself of the beauty of pregnancy
It's very good to be reminded that there are plenty of women who would love to be in your shoes. Whether it's the woman whose baby came early and would have liked to make it to full term. Or the woman who would love to be pregnant and is having difficulty conceiving. Or the woman who lost her baby before giving birth. I know completely how frustrating the last month can be, how sick and tired you can feel of being pregnant. But just remember how many women would love to be in your shoes right now. You are blessed and each moment with that baby alive and healthy should be treasured.
5 // Slow down
This one is difficult. Especially when you get that last burst of "nesting energy" or, if you're like me and are going to take maternity leave and need to wrap up work beforehand. Knowing I could go into labor at any point didn't help either since that could send me into even more of a panic to get things done. But, the truth is, most likely you're going to go to your due date. And even if you don't, it's not worth it to spend all your energy making other people happy just to be completely exhausted and worn out before delivery. Besides, you're probably not sleeping well already. Why add to that exhaustion? Others will understand if you need to step back a little bit and take care of yourself. You will feel much better and your body will be more prepared for the marathon it's about to endure.
6 // Take a bath every night
I've found that a relaxing bubble bath at the end of the day not only helped to relieve sore muscles and swollen feet, but it helped me to mentally cope and emotionally unwind. Since taking a bath every night isn't something I regularly do (at least not since I was 5 years old), it was really special to create a new nightly tradition. Sometimes the smallest routines make the biggest difference.
7 // Pick out postpartum clothes
Just the idea of not being pregnant anymore can be encouraging. :) Organize your closet with the clothes you'll be able to wear postpartum at the front and then make a list of items of clothing you'd like to purchase. On my list is a pair of elastic-waist shorts, some wedge sandals, a few flowy tank tops, and some drapy cardigans. If you want to buy them beforehand just because you need to motivate yourself, go ahead and buy a size larger than what you would have worn before you got pregnant. If you can wait until after baby is born, that's even better! But, sometimes a girl's gotta go shopping :)
8 // Remind yourself of the facts
The truth is, we all get really excited towards the end to finally meet our babe and sometimes that excitement and just being done with being pregnant makes us hope and wish that they would show up early. But, I have to remind myself that he has a "due date" for a reason - and most likely he will show up within a few days of that date or even after that date. It can seem discouraging to go past your due date, but statistically, it's very common. Especially if you have a longer-than-28-days menstrual cycle. I say this just because it helped me to not get too disappointed when he didn't magically appear at 38 weeks - even when everyone around me was hoping and telling me he would. Besides, I think it's better to be happily surprised than constantly discouraged.
9 // Resist the urge to try out all the home remedies
It's tempting to try to make your baby come out when you want them to. And I completely understand how uncomfortable or discouraged you can feel. In my opinion, though, the home remedies of "inducing" labor just make you feel more discouraged. And there is no scientific proof for any of them. My doctor actually told me that they don't work and you can cause yourself a lot of grief and frustration trying them out. From what I've read and heard, that baby is going to come out when it wants to. There is no rhyme or reason except for when it is ready. If you go past your due date, your doctor will help you figure out if you need to be medically induced, etc. so my two cents would be to just let it be and try the things I've listed above to help cope in the meantime :) You can do this!
10 // Allow yourself to have breakdowns
This is a hard journey full of emotional ups and downs and raging hormones. It's physically demanding and sometimes you just need to cry about it. That's okay. A good cry can help you deal with all the things going on inside of you. I found it really helpful to have Drew nearby to listen to me and hear out all of my thoughts, feelings, fears, and hormones - no matter how ridiculous they seemed. Once he heard me out and let me cry it out, he was an ear of wisdom and reason for me to be reminded of the truth. Make sure you let your partner, significant other, or support person know what you need and the expectations you have. If you do, it will help so much to get through the last leg of the journey.