- Read up on pregnancy and child birth. I mean it. It will help you understand what's going on. It will also keep you from calling your Doctor 1,538 times during your pregnancy. Of course, What to Expect When You're Expecting is always a good choice, though dismiss the flippant liberal views that pop up occasionally (it's a BABY, not a fetus). I also recommend Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn which has wonderful medical information and tips on how to labor and deliver both naturally and with medicine. If God blesses me with another baby, next time I am going to buy and read Redeeming Childbirth: Experiencing His Presence in Pregnancy, Labor, Childbirth, and Beyond. It has gotten great reviews, and I am looking forward to reading it. I'm sure it will not be a disappointing purchase for you.
- Eat healthy. Duh, right? Everybody says this. But you really should eat as healthy as possible. You will most likely experience really weird cravings and it IS okay to indulge yourself. However, if you crave chocolate, eat a bit of chocolate but DON'T eat a whole gallon of chocolate ice cream. Fruit is awesome. Eat good protein and fiber. Drink water liberally. You'll feel a lot better in the long run if you do this. Oh but don't be wierded out if your dinner consists of pinto beans and pecan ice cream.
- Be wise with your supplements. Get yourself a good Prenatal vitamin. I was hit and miss with my prenatals in my first pregnancy. I didn't really take anything at all. I used the Rainbow Light Prenatal Multivitamin in my second pregnancy. Also with #2, I took Vitamin C, Calcium supplements and, near the end, I religiously took Red Raspberry Leaf and Evening Primrose Oil. I am a firm believer in the power of Red Raspberry Leaves, especially if you are planning a natural birth. My post here explains what I took, why I took it, and the results. *** Note: This is information about what I chose to do. I am not your doctor, so always consult with your OB/GYN and do your own research before taking anything in pregnancy.
- Don't be afraid to exercise. When I was pregnant with Nathan, I bought this Denise Austin prenatal workout and I really like it. There is a 20-minute Cardio workout, a 2nd Trimester toning workout, and a 3rd Trimester toning workout that gets your core ready for delivery. There's also a 10-minute post-partum workout at the end.With Selah, I was a lot more adamant about being healthy and I used this a lot more and I was better because of it. ***Note: I also really recommend the Bounce Back post-partum DVD. It is gentle and effective and really easy to use.
- Prepare your spirit. They don't call it labor for nothing. It's WORK. And it will give you peace if you meditate on Scripture and listen to music that points you the One who has it all under control. I made a list of Bible verses that I dwelt on in the weeks leading up to labor. I also had a labor and delivery playlist with music that helped keep me calm and relaxed. Just like marital intimacy, birth is spiritual. There is nothing like watching a miracle happen and coming face-to-face with a tiny little life that God created with parts of you and parts of your husband. Get your mind and spirit in gear and on track with this beautiful process and you will experience it in all its glory.
- Don't expect labor to be like the movies. We have all seen the woman on screen suddenly yell, "Ah! The baby's coming!" and there's this mad dash to the hospital. It's not like that. You might miss the first contraction. Labor can take days. Now, not every woman is the same. For example, my water broke with my first (when your water breaks, go to the hospital. Don't lollygag around). With my second, I was in labor a grand total of 3 hours and 54 minutes, and we barely made it to the hospital on time. Listen to your doctor and listen to your body! When you feel a contraction, start timing it. It can mean the baby is coming soon, or it can mean the baby is coming soon-ish. Don't assume you will scream at the first contraction and go running to the door.
- Before your due date, make some meals. It will help you if you prepare some meals and freeze them in advance so once you're home from the hospital, you won't feel pressured to cook. You will have to eat. Soups, chili's, burritos, casseroles, pancakes, and smoothies are easy to prepare and freeze. Go online and search for freezer meals and you will come up with lots of options. Stock your fridge and pantry too so you won't be stressed out about grocery shopping.
- Expect sleepless nights. I'm not going to sugarcoat it, the first few weeks after delivery are rough. Your hormones and emotions are all over the place. And you will feel exhausted. It takes lots of adjusting, going from only a wife to a mommy. Everyone always says, Sleep when the baby sleeps. Listen to me: DO THIS. With baby #1, you can do this! With baby #2, and #3 and #4, it's not so easy. So take it while it's there and get as much rest as you are able to. Also, in those middle of the night feedings, use the time to pray. I got a lot of prayer time in the stillness of those night feedings. It became really special.
- Don't over-commit yourself. Girl, you just grew a life and then pushed a small little life out of your body. Don't overdo it. Don't push yourself to get things done. Don't feel bad for putting a sign on your front door telling visitors to come another time. Relax and let your body (and your mind!) heal and get used to the new normal.
- Don't be afraid. Remember when I said your emotions will be all over the place? Yeah, they will be. And you may feel down. Most likely overwhelmed. Maybe terrified. Make sure you don't hold it all inside. Talk to your husband. Seek out an older woman who has sweet, Godly wisdom. Bond with a fellow young mommy. Make sure you pray! Journal. Go on a walk and think. Whichever way you feel led, make sure you have an outlet for the feelings you will have. And don't worry about it. Don't be afraid. Trust the Lord and soak up this amazing time.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
"First-Time Mommy" Tips from a Mommy of 2
Are you a first-time mommy? Did you see those two little pink lines on the pregnancy test? I was asked recently if I had some tips and advice for you all. And I do. :) So I would like to share with you all the things that I think are important to know if you are entering this whole new world of motherhood for the first time. :) So let's get started!