That last month of being pregnant is the absolute worst part of it in my opinion… If you are anything like I was with either of my pregnancies, your baby is at the point where you are not sure if there is anymore internal organs they could potentially push on… You feel huge and uncomfortable and that last bit of waiting is so, so drawn out..
My cousin is at that point on her first pregnancy at the moment and while I keep reminding her it will soon be a distant memory, I am acutely aware, at this moment in time, that’s not really at all any help! So I was thinking, here’s five things that did kind of help me, retrospectively thinking, when I was a snappy, grumpy, well and truly over it pregnant lady, which with Jai happened well before a month prior to his birth…
Get your cook on!
So obviously you have probably already been in “nesting” mode to some degree in the processes of getting ready for baby I imagine.. Sometimes it can be hard to know if you’ve got everything you need ready but honestly, tiny babies need very little “stuff” but they do need food, like you will, especially if you are breastfeeding..
Having stuff you have prepared to chuck in a slow cooker in the morning while the baby isn’t losing it or stuff you have precooked and frozen that is good to reheat when it’s witching hour and your baby just wants to cluster feed and you just need to eat or you may pass out or eat one of your own limbs, that helped me… I don’t think you can do enough of that. If your freezer is full, fill a friends or a family members and get them to bring it over to you when yours is empty.. It’s like a present to your future self from your present self, or at the very least it’s a few more easy dinners… That helps…
Stock up on “self care” and pamper yourself.
While tiny babies don’t need much “stuff”, they do need lots of you.. Your own self care will likely be low on the list of your priorities for the next few months at least… (look up the “fourth trimester” if you are not familiar with the concept..). So get a haircut, get your eyebrows done, have a massage… Whatever those things are that make you feel good, make you feel like you are caring and nurturing yourself-do that. It will help you feel more equipped to nurture someone else, for little while at least..
If you do all those things and bubba is still comfortable and not going anywhere, do them again. Keep doing them over and over. Soon most of your energy and attention will be on caring and nurturing someone else, be a “loving parent” to yourself first.. It’s good practice, it’s good for you and the little person inside you and once you have your beautiful baby in your arms you will be totally focused on nurturing them, so do some self nurturing in the meantime… That helped…
Try some visualisation and relaxation techniques.
You don’t have to buy into the concept of hypnobirthing as I have blogged about before, but for any case scenario how your labour works out to be, being relaxed and calm as much as you can in totally going to help you and baby both.
Remember, fear is the enemy of birth. On a really basic level, when we are stressed or fearful, we admit adrenaline, the fight or flight hormone… If you think about it from caveman times, if a woman was “labouring” and something scary or stressful presented itself, like a saber toothed tiger at the mouth of the cave, just to throw a visual in there, labour would halt. We would have the protection and guidance of our tribe to decide of we would fight or flee the tiger, establish safety, and sometime later labour would begin again…
Oxytocin is the “love hormone”, the one you want to progress and have no interruptions to natures process, unless obviously it is needed and aren’t we lucky in this day and age that in those situations, medical interventions are available to us… But even still in those case, the more relaxed and calm you can be, the better..
Practising visual relaxation techniques, mindfulness, there are even some apps you can download that will help you practise these techniques, either for specifically for birth or just in general. And the benefits of practising that won’t just help with birth, I can assure you, even if not in those first initial period, there will be times the baby is crying and you don’t know what to do, staying calm will help you but that is bloody hard. If you are lucky and never experience that scenario, I can assure you there will be times your toddler is pushing your buttons, maybe because they have emptied the same bloody bucket of toys you have already picked up 200 times that day, in those times too staying calm will help you.
And if you are even luckier and never have to deal with that, I can assure you there will be a time, probably after 100 other times, that your three year old will have a tantrum, maybe about not getting the right coloured lid on his cup say…. Again, being able to be calm is really, really going to help you. But that’s also really, really f#cken hard sometimes… Having techniques you have practised and can draw on will really help you in those times. Learn and practise them now. That will help…
Connect to bubba
Make something for your baby, write them a letter, sing them songs, paint pictures, make scrapbooks… Whatever your thing is, do something that you will get to keep and give to your baby you are yet to hold in your arms much later down the track. I wrote letters lots to my babies in my puku, especialy at the end of their time there.. I wrote about my dreams and aspirations for them, I wrote about all the love and anticipation I felt about meeting them for the first time and after a while, I wrote about how I am ready and they are nearly cooked and soon they will be served an eviction notice by doctors who would make them come out, even if they didn’t want to 😉
When I was pregnant with my youngest son, my eldest son and I made things for him together. One of the things my then 2.5 year old spent months working on was a mobile he made for Jai. He made it from drift wood and pumice and shells we found at the beach. He drilled holes in the pumice and I helped him thread and them and tie the shells on string. When he finished, like a true artist, he stood back and admired his work and said, “baby will look at it and say wow!” 😳
And that hangs proudly in Jai’s room and he does indeed look at it and say “wow”… But the reason I suggest this is for more than “making something” for baby… It’s more about truely connecting with that little person inside you. For the smoothest labour possible, you and your baby will work together, feeling connected and in touch with your baby is going to put you in a better position to do this.
Plus remember, your baby has been able to hear your voice for a long time now, they can feel you touch them, they can even see now! Think about the experience from their perspective though, they are warm and comfortable and safe inside your tummy. They have never know anything else, the experience of making their way into the world outside is, I imagine, just as unsure and full of the unknown to them, as it will be for you. Talk to them, tell them you will keep them safe and warm and feed… Reassure them, the process in turn should help to reassure you… At least that’s what I found. And that helped…
Embrace being pregnant
You’re baby will really only truely come when it is ready (or when medical interventions make it) so none of the old wives you can try or suggestions you may hear are going to make baby more ready to arrive and encouraging or trying to force labour before that point is not going to have a positive outcome for either of you. Your body is doing some amazing shit, it’s growing a whole new person!
Even if you don’t feel it (trust me, I don’t think I ever felt it!), what your body is doing is beautiful.. Honour it. However you feel comfortable. Take a belly mould, get your belly painted, have a blessing ceremony (I always loved that idea), do a photo shoot… Just honour it.
For me I did photoshoots while pregnant with both my kids. I had hair and make up done both times, I had studio lighting and great photographers in an effort to make myself feel more glamorous and beautiful.. I did not, for even a second feel either of those things for even a moment during either of those shoots.. I was 36 weeks pregnant in both of them, I felt huge and uncomfortable and cumbersome, generally just awkward..
But both of those photos now hang proudly in our lounge above the kids play area. And they are beautiful, even if when I look at them I see flaws and imperfections.. They are beautiful, striking images of a beautiful and special time and both of the kids have a special affiliation with “their” picture.. They have significance and meaning beyond any kind of intention that could have been planned for them.
Yes it’s uncomfortable, awkward and drawn out but also in retrospect it is such a short period of your journey and soon you will have that beautiful baby in your arms and it truely will be like a distant memory… I promise x