A letter to your pregnant self

 

I asked some mums what they would tell their pregnant selves…

 

Look after yourself as your child needs you well; that love and time are the most precious  things you can give your baby; that you really don’t need half the stuff you think you do; to enjoy the time with your partner before baby arrives; and that birthing is mostly about being flexible in your plans and educated about your options.”

“I had the most amazing births so mine is very positive…Listen to your body and have faith that it will do what it needs to do. And most of all enjoy it, and remember how privileged you are to be giving birth.”

“Give yourself plenty of rest before hand and don’t try and be superwoman!”

“Don’t wish it all away and hope this baby will come soon. You may never do this again and you will miss it when it’s gone and you will never sleep again. Rest up, conserve your strength and stick to the birth plan – know what you want, how you want it and let ya body do it’s thing. Yes it will hurt but you already knew that. Don’t be frightened, all will be well ! Ps. Don’t hold ya breath, breathe woman breathe!!”

“Enjoy being pregnant, don’t waste the experience focusing on the negatives. Please don’t spend all day/night on Google driving yourself crazy with worry and fear – stressing won’t change anything. Bio oil will not prevent stretch marks, if you’re going to get them looking like an expensive chip won’t help. You will be better off not eating half a chocolate fudge cake every day instead. Stay away from Mamas and Papas! You do not need a million newborn unisex babygros, as soon as beanie arrives you’ll want gender specific clothes to stop the ‘what is it?’ question. Please try to sleep as much as you can, lay on the sofa in your free time instead of steam cleaning it, it will only get covered in baby sick.”

“Spend time with your husband – go on dates and enjoy the time alone lying on the sofa. Don’t try to micromanage your labour, what will be will be, have the epidural if you need it – it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Remember to breathe in the amazing gas and air- you will want it installed in your house afterwards! Oh and finally- you’re actually having a baby and seeing it for the first time will be the most amazing thing you’ve ever experienced and life will never be the same again!”

“Look after yourself! Don’t focus on proving to others that you still do everything. Don’t  work until the week before giving birth and don’t refuse to rest because you don’t want to be seen as weak or getting preferential treatment. Don’t go crazy or follow the so called ‘essentials’ lists in magazines when buying. Be proud to buy 2nd hand or accept hand me downs from friends. Don’t compare yourself to others, look after yourself, listen to your body and enjoy the experience.”

“Enjoy every last minute and don’t expect too much of yourself, things don’t always go to plan and it’s not weakness to ask for help. Eat well, rest lots and enjoy those kicks and shoves in the tummy! The rest of your life is about to change forever and in the loveliest way!”

“Stop having a panic attack about it not being possible to get a baby out of that seemingly small hole! I cried all the way home after my first birth and baby session – So much worry over ‘Its never going to come out of there, it’s just not possible!’ Totally ridiculous looking back but I was really stressed about it.”

“Don’t put pressure on yourself to be instantly the best mum. It’s ok to learn as you go and don’t feel bad about it. And you MUST rest after giving birth.”

“Don’t expect your birth to go to plan, you will make mistakes – everyone does and that’s ok. Don’t feel guilty for not always feeling overjoyed – exhaustion and hormones will cause you to feel down at times but that doesn’t mean you’re not a good mammy. You won’t get the chance to clean your house for the first three months nor will you be able to be on time but you will have the most perfect baby that you love more than you knew possible.”

“Take time for yourself before baby arrives and cherish the pregnancy. You will miss your bump and the feeling of your baby moving. Prepare yourself for the biggest change ever but not to be scared because it’s the most amazing feeling to wake up every morning and see your baby happy and smiling back at you. Embrace every experience pregnancy throws at you. You will feel so lucky to have been blessed with becoming a mam -words just won’t be able to describe how proud you are of your baby girl and how much you love your family.”

“The non western approach is fine –  sleep with your baby and breast feed until whenever.”

“Go out with your partner for dinner and conversations before the birth.”

“Make a list of baby places to go and groups to join before the birth.”

“Imagine the sea while in labour! When the wave crashes back down so does your pain!! It works and Janine told me that one!”

“Go find an independent midwife or at least a doula. Book a homebirth. Avoid discussing birth plans with anyone except other homebirthers. Do not under any circumstances listen to your mother or anyone with hideous birth stories. Find the name and phone number of your nearest breastfeeding counsellor and USE it. Tell someone if you think you have PND. Find out about bedsharing, babywearing and baby massage – otherwise you’ll wait until your fourth baby to become the mother you wanted to be. Go to mother and baby groups, they really aren’t as bad as you think they are. Borrow some money and don’t go back to work at 12 weeks, you will NEVER get that time back.”

“Accept the unexpected. Go with it and do your best. Communicate your needs to your partner if you have one or your friends if not. Accept help. Do what you can when you can. Sleep when your baby sleeps. Love unconditionally both your baby and yourself. Trust your instinct.”

“You will forget the 9 months of sickness and you should never have felt inadequate or a failure for having to take drugs to stop throwing up so much! You can do labour, learn about it then tackle it with everything you have. Stop reading those books and listening to those stories. You are not taking an exam, there are no right answers. It’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it. When you see him (yes he is a him!) it will feel like you knew him all along.”

“In terms of preparing for birth, be hugely flexible when it comes to birth plans. It’s really lovely to have an ideas of how you’d like things to go in an ideal world, but birthing can sometimes be not what you wanted or planned but in the end it’s about getting your baby out in a way that is safe for both of you. You will still have your beautiful baby in the end no matter how he/she comes. Lots of mothers seem to put a lot of pressure on themselves to do things in the right/best way e.g. Home births, water births, staying calm relaxed, no painkillers, breast feeding all of which are fabulous if they happen with no complications and according to plan, but from what I’ve learned this isn’t always possible and it’s very important not to put pressure on yourself if it doesn’t quite happen in the way you expected. Oh and it does hurt no matter how it happens but it’s totally worth it all in the end so much so you’d do it all again in a heartbeat!”

“Forget about a birth plan and don’t stress about the ‘what ifs’ or whether or not you’ll get what you want – it will more than likely go out of the window anyway! Sleep. Enjoy your maternity leave pre birth as you’ll never get the time and freedom back until retirement! Realise that being a mum is the hardest job you will ever, EVER do, but by far the BEST job you’ll ever, ever have. Rest after the birth, don’t be afraid to ask for help, or cry, or break down – it’s natural and it happens to all in the first few weeks. Write off the first three months – it’s a total blur and a complete learning curve. Routine is non-existent until you’re into the fourth month. Be kind to yourself and your mistakes.”

“Believe in yourself and your body’s ability to birth this baby. It has done a fantastic job of growing this little person and it can do a fantastic job of birthing as well – regardless of how it all happens. You are the product of thousands of years of evolution, of generations of mothers who birthed before you and those to come after. If I could talk to my pregnant self of 25 years ago it would be to say “Dont be scared, it will be ok, you can do this, it wont be perfect, but it will be ok. You can and will be the best mother you can be – not perfect, but good enough and your children will love and respect you for who you are.”

“Keep trusting your body and your instincts – not fearing birth really helped. Try not to ‘eat for two’ – although you’ll love for your body stretchmarks and all for the amazing job it has done, it would be nice not to have to fork out for a whole new wardrobe a size bigger. Also consider breastfeeding when buying maternity clothes. Get on ebay. Go out for lots of meals and even a dance or two whilst you can. Enjoy it, but don’t worry about missing pregnancy – having your little girl will be the best thing ever!”

“Let go, let it happen, you can do it – in fact you can’t not do it because your body will just take you…”

“Stay in the pool to give birth because you will lose control when get out.”

“Tell everyone to stop and to step back when he is born because you need those few
minutes together”.

What would you write to your pregnant self?

About Janine 560 Articles
I am an antenatal teacher, doula, baby massage instructor, postnatal educator, life coach, writer, mum, wife, friend and, sometimes, just me. As an experienced and qualified practitioner, I specialise in pregnancy, birth and early parenting - my aim is to listen, inform, support and reassure when needed. I have worked with parents since 2002 and I set up Birth, Baby & Family in 2011 to provide good information, a different perspective and links to the best products and services for families. I set up the Birth, Baby & Family Centre in 2014 to provide a welcoming, friendly and supportive space for parents across Tyneside.

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