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In this post, you’ll learn 12 things to do while pregnant, all the things I wish I did, so you can look back on your pregnancy with fond memories and no regrets!
Maybe it’s because my sweet baby is about to turn two. Maybe it’s because everywhere I look someone else is announcing a pregnancy. But lately, I’ve been reflecting on my own pregnancy and sadly feeling regretful.
Every Pregnancy is Different
Every pregnancy is different and every woman handles their pregnancy differently. Some women can breeze through their pregnancy feeling confident, clear-headed, and ready to take on the world. For others, like me, pregnancy is a bit more complicated.
In my specific situation, my pregnancy was unplanned. I was completely unprepared for all that comes with not just having a baby but pregnancy itself. I was so caught up just trying to keep my head above water, working 6 days week, not handing the hormonal changes well, feeling really shitty about my ever-growing and changing body, and feeling an immense amount of shame about the fact that I was going through all of this without a partner or husband.
I couldn’t handle too many thoughts roaming around in my head. Instead, I focused on the health of my growing baby and pretty much zombie-walked through my entire pregnancy.
I don’t wish this type of pregnancy experience on any soon-to-be mama!
Now don’t get me wrong, I do have some fond memories of being pregnant too. Feeling my baby girl moving around inside my belly was the most magical feeling and one that I will never forget. It gave me so much comfort to feel her wiggling around throughout those long hard days. I even welcomed the constant elbow and knee jabs to my right rib cage while I was trying to work. And I will always remember the glorious feeling of getting to eat as much as I wanted and never having to worry about looking bloated! In all seriousness…
Pregnancy Should be Embraced
What I want for all you soon-to-be mamas, and the reason why I am writing this post is for you to completely embrace your pregnancy for all that it is. No matter what your circumstances may be, you owe it to yourself and your sweet baby to look back on these 9 months without any regrets. Own the fact that you’re pregnant. Be grateful you get to experience such an incredible miracle. And do the 12 things listed below!
12 Things To Do While Pregnant: All the things I wish I did
One of the things I wish I did during my pregnancy was keeping a journal. Even though in those last few weeks you really feel like you’ll be pregnant for the rest of your life, 9 months fly by so quickly. You are going through so many changes physically, emotionally, and mentally. You’re bound to forget a lot of what happens. Keeping a journal is a simple way to document your journey and be able to revisit it for years and years.
Once a day, just take 5 minutes to put your thoughts down on paper. Write about how you’re feeling good or bad. The foods you crave, a great song you listened to that day, or how often you went pee. The smaller the details the better. You are most likely going to remember the big stuff, like when you found out the gender of your baby, but a lot of little things will slip through the cracks. I promise you’ll love looking back and knowing the exact moment you realized you felt your baby move and it wasn’t just gas.
2. Take professional maternity photos
If you’re anything like me, during your pregnancy you’re going to feel like a big swollen whale who just gained 30 pounds and got stung in the face by a bee. You’re also going to think you look like that as well. The last thing you’ll want to do is try to get all pretty and take glowing pregnancy photos when you feel anything but beautiful. I am here to tell you, and I can say this because I’ve been there…GET OVER IT.
It really doesn’t matter how you’ll feel looking back at your maternity photos. The point is that you’ll be able to look back on something. My talented photographer cousin begged me to let her take maternity photos for me and I refused. Remember when I told you all I had the mental space for was the health of my baby? Well, feeling self-conscious and vulnerable at a photo shoot was just something knew would be too much for me to handle. However, it’s one of the things I regret not doing the most looking back on my pregnancy.
The way I look at it is that you’ll either look back at those photos and think holy crap I did look like a whale and have a good laugh. Or you’ll look back and think, “oh wow I actually didn’t look that awful after all. I am so glad I got over myself and now have these photos to keep as precious memories of the time I grew the human being I love most in this world inside my body!”
3. Embrace and love your pregnant body
Speaking of your pregnant body…let’s talk about that. I was always one those girls with horrible body image issues, so I knew I was primed for a tough mental journey when it came to pregnancy. I just knew was going to get huge and I knew I was going to hate it. Which if I am being honest, there were a few moments of standing in a dressing room trying on dress after dress that didn’t fit all highlighted by that awful fluorescent lighting, that I truly did hate my pregnant body. It was only after I gave birth to the most amazing little creature in the world that I looked back on my preggo bod with love and appreciation.
Take it from me and don’t go through your pregnancy hating your body. Embrace every extra roll, every curve, every stretch mark, and every single swollen finger. Take comfort in knowing that all those things are serving a purpose and will most likely be temporary. Don’t waste any of your limited energy worrying about your weight, what people are thinking about you, or comparing yourself to other pregnant women. Embrace and love YOUR pregnant body because it is creating YOUR child.
4. Take monthly belly pics
One of the most exciting points in pregnancy is when your belly goes from looking like you probably shouldn’t have finished that entire Chipotle burrito to it’s obvious now that there’s actually a real-life baby growing in your belly. Lately, I have seen so many women post photos on Instagram showing their belly growth from month one to month nine and I am so jealous. I wish I had the forethought and discipline to take monthly photos of my belly!
I am here to tell you to do it before it’s too late. Choose an outfit, choose a spot in your house, choose a way to display which month or week you’re on, choose the date you’ll take the photo every month, and just do it.
5. Say goodbye to shame
There are so many reasons you might feel shame while being pregnant. Maybe your ashamed of your body, the way you got pregnant, when you got pregnant, etc. In my case, I felt so much shame throughout my entire pregnancy. I was embarrassed that I got pregnant on accident because I knew better than that and ashamed that the father of my child chose not to be a part of the picture. And I was also humiliated that I couldn’t afford to live on my own let alone raise a baby. Who did I think I was having a child under these circumstances? I was basically walking around like a big, swollen ball of shame.
Now, looking my amazing, innocent, sweet baby girl — I feel guilt. I feel so very guilty that I ever felt ashamed of the fact that I was bringing her into this world. She did not deserve that, and frankly, neither did I. My shame was completely a result of what I thought other people were thinking about me. Because honestly, I knew in my heart what I was doing was right.
So please, if you listen to any of these tips, let it be this one. Say goodbye to shame. You are bringing life into the world. Which means for some reason the child you are carrying was meant to be. There is nothing to feel shame about. Whatever your circumstances are and however this child came to be is not important. If you are committed to being the best mother you can be and providing the best life for your child despite your situation, that’s all that matters.
6. Have fun announcing your pregnancy
Another thing I really wish I did was to have fun announcing the fact that I was pregnant. My pregnancy announcement consisted of a group text to my family and a subtle Instagram bump post where I said something along the lines of, “I think there’s a baby in there.” The fact the I was not having a baby in the traditional sense was probably the reason it went down that way.
In hindsight, I really wish I would’ve had more fun with it. Now I am here to inspire you not to let the moment slip by. Head on over to Pinterest, get some ideas, and have fun with it! Having a baby is exciting and sharing the news with family and friends should be too.
We all know, or at least we should because our doctors love telling us, exercising during pregnancy is highly encouraged. Well, exercising during pregnancy is also really freaking hard. In the beginning, you’re incredibly exhausted. Toward the end, you can barely get yourself off a chair let alone get yourself to do squats. So, not maintaining a fitness routine while pregnant is basically effortless.
However, not forcing yourself to workout during your pregnancy is not only unhealthy, but it also creates a bad habit that stays with you postpartum. I blew off every workout I planned to do while I was pregnant. I’m just now getting myself back into a workout routine — almost two years later!
If you don’t exercise during your pregnancy, you will also have a longer and tougher recovery after giving birth because you didn’t give your body the extra support it needed during those nine months. I am finally on the road to a healthy fitness routine and it is really challenging. Listen to my advice and don’t put exercise on the back burner.
8. Email your baby
When I was pregnant I read an awesome idea somewhere that suggested creating an email address for your baby. Then, start writing to them every week or so until their 18th birthday. When they log into their account for the first time, they’ll have a bunch of letters waiting for them. The emails could include pictures, talk about new milestones they reached, funny things they did, etc.
What I love about sending emails instead of writing actual letters is that it saves paper and space, it will be dated and chronologically in order, you can give the email to friends and family and they can send emails too, and you can attach photos or even videos.
Now you might be questioning me thinking, “Didn’t you already tell me to start a journal? Isn’t this kind of a duplicate task?” And my answer would be, no. The journal is for you and can include your own thoughts and feelings, including things you probably don’t want your child reading. The emails are you talking to your child and letting them know only the good things, like when you felt them kick in your belly for the first time or your hopes and dreams for them.
Also, it’s never too late to start an email if you let it slip through the cracks as I did. I just created one for my daughter as I was writing this and realizing no matter when you start it’s still a great idea. I just think it would’ve been cool to have been doing it this whole time, but now you can! Go. Now. Make the email!
9. Have sex
I debated adding this to the list, because you know, TMI. But whatever, we’re all friends here right? One of the things I think you should take advantage of doing while pregnant, that I never got to experience, is having sex! Being that I was single throughout my pregnancy and was obviously not looking for new prospects, I did not get to partake in the oh-so-incredible-mind blowing pregnancy sex that EVERYONE was telling me I was missing out on. So this is me being a good friend and telling you to go for it. If you are lucky enough to have a partner and your feeling up to it, have sex. And lots of it. It’ll be incredible…or so I’ve heard.
10. Buy maternity clothes
For some reason, I was hell-bent on not buying or wearing any maternity clothes for the entire duration of my pregnancy. I honestly thought that buying clothes I would only be able to wear for a few months was such waste of money. I met my goal and made it through the whole nine months without purchasing one piece of maternity clothing. However, I traded in that saved money for discomfort and frustration. Big regret!
I am here to tell you to do yourself a favor and buy maternity clothes. If anything, at least a pair of maternity jeans. As soon as I could no longer fit my jeans under my bump, I wore the same two stretchy waist slacks and dresses for the rest of my pregnancy. I can’t tell you how many times I was too lazy to shave my legs and wished I could throw on a freaking pair of jeans. Maternity clothes are your friend — buy them, wear them, love them!
11. Prepare for labor and breastfeeding
When I was pregnant, my way of preparing for labor was not thinking about it. If I didn’t even think about it, I wouldn’t worry about it, right? As far as breastfeeding, every woman in my family successfully breastfed their babies. Surely there was nothing more I needed to know about that (5 Things I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding). Looking back now I see how absolutely dumb I was being. Still, I forgive myself because, well, I was just doing my best.
However, I’m taking this opportunity to save you from having to realize that your best was really not that good at all and tell you to please PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE. Prepare for labor and breastfeeding like your about to take the most important test of your life. Study and read books, ask friends and family for advice and tips, makes checklists, do research, watch videos, and whatever else you can do to prepare yourself for what’s to come. Oh, and there’s this little thing called a birth plan, you’re going to probably want one of those. Just trust me.
12. Research trendy baby stuff
There is some really cool baby stuff out in the world. Once you’re on the mama train you’re going to want it all, trust me. Before you buy or register for anything just for the sake of it, do some research (Pinterest and Instagram are your best friends) and see what products and brands other mamas are loving.
I’m not saying to only buy things for your baby just because every other mama has it, but yeah, I am kind of saying that. If every mama is saying this rock’n play was their favorite baby item ever, then it’s probably a safe bet that you’ll love it too. Seeing what clothes, diapers, car seats, etc are popular amongst real moms will give you a better idea of things you want to add to your baby registry or in the very least help you narrow down your newborn checklist.
Look Back on Your Pregnancy with Fond Memories
I might not personally know you, so I hope this sounds kind and not creepy…I want you to look back on your pregnancy with fond memories and no regrets. I know how it feels to look in hindsight at all the things I wish I did and feel less than wonderful about it. If you’re reading this post, then yay! You don’t ever have to feel that way. Please see your pregnancy for what it really is — a total blessing and privilege deserving of endless amounts of pride and excitement!
If you are a mom who has multiple children, please share in the comments below anything you think every mama has to do while pregnant that you wish you did or you’re glad you did. Then we can all get some more ideas!