I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website www.sarahsays.com.au or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Published October 8th 2013
Getting to Grips with Your Bump
I found out in April I was pregnant, it wasn't planned but being in a good, although new, relationship, we decided the world was telling us we were ready, even if we weren't quite sure.
There have been so many adjustments, changes and challenges and I have truly learnt a great deal about myself, pregnancy, my body, stereotypes, projections and ultimately what is important.
Finding myself unexpectedly expecting has been a real journey. As I head into the home straight, I share with you my top eight tips for surviving first time pregnancy:
1/ Do It Your Way This was the best bit of advice I have been given, and it was from my boyfriend (shock). We know our own minds pretty well, although we may not listen enough, so you will know deep down what is right for you. You will find that everyone has an opinion, comment, story and expectation of you, this can be tiring as you feel that you have to be, act and do things a certain way, and if you don't, you are not doing it right. Your mind and body will tell you what is right for you, and what you can manage. You are unique and every woman is different, only you know what is best for you. It is your body and your experience; so don't allow people to hijack your special time.
2/ Eating For Two Is A Myth (Sob) Yes it is true I am afraid. It isn't until the last couple of months that your baby needs additional calories, so although the temptation may be there to just eat what you want, you will just make the inevitable weight loss struggle after, that much harder. It varies for each woman, some will put on loads of weight, some won't - your body will put on what it needs. The key is eating relatively healthy, doing your pregnancy exercises and keeping as active as possible, this will help keep you supple and aid recovery. Also make sure you take pregnancy vitamins, they are fairly expensive but it ensures you and baby get what is needed. My tip would be to take them before you go to bed, some have an awful aftertaste, so taking before bed eliminates this.
3/ Have A Baby Break Struggling with the fact that my life will soon be changed forever (yikes), and being someone who enjoys time alone, I decided to book some time away. I took myself off for three nights to a spa hotel, not abroad but far enough to get the feeling of "getting away". Yes of course there is a cost aspect, and at a time you should be saving I did feel guilty, but I put that aside and grabbed the opportunity to have some me time. I booked treatments, ordered room service and had some much needed early nights reading a book and having a long bath. Also ensure that where possible, you switch off, so no emails, no calls and certainly no work.
4/ Don't Commit Research Overload When entering the unknown of pregnancy and with information so readily available online you can potentially - in your search to be better informed - end up being highly misinformed. When I first found out I took to the Internet and searched a number of things, however many of this information is circumstantial, inaccurate and often quite scary, so I highly recommend avoiding it. Listen to your doctor and midwife, trusted friends and to yourself. Information is important, of course, so I suggest you find one book (the Pregnancy Bible) or an App that is on your wave length and use that as your guide - I went for the "Baby Centre" app which was informative, interesting, useful and written in a really practical, none fluffy, way. It has been invaluable in making the process real, and keeping me informed.
Baby Centre - My Pregnancy App
5/ Ask For Help For me this has been the hardest aspect, being independent and some may say, a slight control freak, having to admit I wasn't coping and feeling so weak and exhausted at times, was the biggest adjustment. This is a tough emotional time, full of changes and scary doubts - for even when planned – so don't feel guilty for feeling overwhelmed and needing someone to talk to, help with chores, take your shoes off or whatever it may be. You are growing a human, and this takes a lot from you, so inevitably there will be things you can no longer do or manage by yourself. Ask for help, you will need it, and it will be a relief when you do.
6/ Don't Spend, Spend ,Spend
This is highly tempting, especially when you are having a girl (I am) with so many cute clothes and gorgeous items to buy. But, it is also expensive and quite often you may end up with clothes that don't fit (you wont know size of baby until he/she arrives), or items that you don't really need, you will also be surprised how much stuff people will give to you. Prepare an essentials checklist, you midwife, doctor and chosen book will also guide you. Remember that the baby will be with you for the first few months so a fully kitted room and toys and clothes are unnecessary at this stage, so be patient.
7/ Embrace The Now I have found that since being pregnant much of my thought process has been looking backwards and forwards - feelings of loss or lack from my past and scary predictions for my future. This is highly damaging as one simply cannot be changed, and the other is just fiction, so to spend much of your time in either means you are missing out on what is happening right now. The most important thing is you and the babies health & wellbeing and developing a connection. Feeling calm and relaxed is vital, so if you are struggling with all the emotions and changes before you, then I suggest taking up meditation or attending pregnancy yoga classes to get some much needed tranquillity and "now" time.
If I am honest it has taken me a while to get to this stage, as the shock and adjustment has been so huge. I wish I had stopped fighting and let go sooner, as I will potentially look back at my pregnancy in a fairly negative light. So I highly encourage you to embrace and enjoy everything about it; enjoy the fuss made of you, enjoy your new body, enjoy the new adventure, value time with your partner, enjoy some me time, enjoy being pampered and looked after and mostly enjoy this private special time you have with your baby, that no one else gets to experience.