So here we are. 36 weeks pregnant, meaning I am just a week off from this baby being full term – cooked, ready, a fully formed cute baba.
I made the decision at Christmas that come New Year I was going to slow down properly. No more work to do, only blogging when I feel like it, and actually taking it easy. I am not the best at relaxing; Josh makes certain of that. I am always rushing around doing something; cleaning, washing, writing, work in general. Keeping the house in order and occupying Josh are full time jobs in themselves but then throwing everything else into the mix, it makes for a busy life.
So this week I’ve kept my promise to myself and slowed right down. Blog posts such as this one are the only ones I’ll be doing in the run up to baby; just me whittering on and updating you on how I’m doing. It is lovely to not have any deadlines to worry about or feel any stress to get things done. I finished all my PA work before Christmas so that’s one less thing to worry about.
I’ve taken full advantage of these lazy days with Josh, especially when he naps, by putting my feet up. I’ve made sure that each day we go out for a walk and get some fresh air but not over done it and when Josh naps I make sure I am curled up either with a good box set or a magazine. I feel as though now is the time to make some time for me because in a matter of weeks (Oh My God – weeks!) I won’t have any opportunity for me time.
Your well-being is paramount during pregnancy. The motto is Happy Mama equals Happy Baby and that starts even before baby has arrived. If you’re happy and feeling relaxed then your body will pick up on this and release the happy love hormone Oxytocin. And believe me you need that because time goes no slower than at the end of pregnancy and with everyones “haven’t you had that baby yet” comments thrown into the mix, you can often feel yourself getting a little bit frustrated. But fear not, there are lots of ways to use this time to your advantage and switch off from the pressure of baby turning up on time!
- Get your nails done! I can’t have a manicure because when in theatre they don’t like you to have nail varnish on your fingers (this is so they can monitor your skin tone on your nails during the C Section) but I can tell you now, those toenails are painted! It’s a good feeling to be able to look down once baby has arrived and see some pretty nails peeking back at you. That bit of glam will make you feel good when you’re feeling a bit self conscious about that post baby belly. And let’s face it, there’s nothing like a nice foot rub whilst having a pedicure.
- Have a date day. This is something the husband and I are plotting this weekend. If you’re lucky enough to have family to help out with any little ones you might already have then take them up on any offers to babysit. All of your lives are about to change again once little one arrives, so make the most of some couple time. And yes, sex can help bring on labour! In fact if you are over due here is a bit of advice my friend was given when she was a week past her due date and fed up; her midwife told her to go home, run a bath, have a glass of bubbly and get her leg over. It worked!
- Speaking of baths, take lots of them. I have been as addicted to baths as I have been to chocolate oranges in this pregnancy and I have started having a couple a day now, especially right before going to bed. I love the feeling of being in the water; it soothes my back ache, I watch my obscenely large bump moving and marvel at it’s somersaults, I read and I feel truly relaxed. Treat yourself to a few bits from Lush (they may as well have sponsored my pregnancy) and indulge. I don’t think I can have a bath for about 6 weeks after my C Section (they prefer you to shower due to your scar) and I am going to miss them so much!!!
- Clean. The nesting instinct has most likely kicked in already and, within reason, go with it and get organised. I was like a lunatic before Josh was born but I was so glad because when he arrived I knew where everything was, everything was organised and in order, and I could tell Sam where to find things because I’d laid everything out so he wouldn’t have to tear through several draws looking for the right size babygrow! Admittedly I was a bit OTT – if I recall rightly I even loosened the lids on things so I could use them easily when Josh arrived! This time I’ve had Josh to deal with and the nesting has taken a bit of a back seat. Having said that, I have this afternoon set aside to organise the kitchen cupboards. Oh and if you want to go the whole hog, cleaning on your hands and knees can get baby into the optimum position for labour, plus your kitchen floor will be all kinds of sparkling!
- Have a pregnancy massage. Yes they are pricey but oh my god they are worth it. That first month your baby arrives you’re not going to be out splashing the cash, so treat yourself now. I have had two; one where I was laid on my side which was a bit bizarre, but an even more amazing one where I was on my back on a waterbed and I was walking on air when I left the spa.
- Walks! Get outside; the fresh air and a gentle walk clear your head, gives you a bit of exercise for the day, and gives you a chance to let your toddler run about (eliminating any Mum guilt you might have for letting Hey Duggee babysit whilst you take half hour to rest on the sofa)!
- But do rest. Yes I’ve said lots of active things, and yes these are important, but everything in moderation. The tiredness at the end of pregnancy is relentless. You have to remind yourself that this is because you and your body are amazing; you’ve spent near on 40 weeks growing and nuturing a human that is inside you, squashing your internal organs into your ribs and sucking every nutrient from you. It’s exhausting work. So DON’T feel guilty to do as I have said above and let CBeebies babysit for half hour – that half an hour on the sofa having a cuppa will restore your mind, make you feel a bit better and then you can get up and do something with your little one if you’re feeling up to it. You’ve got to be kind to yourself.
The tiredness is, for me, the most overwhelming part of this stage of pregnancy. You are constantly shattered, you are constantly forgetting what you were about to say or where you put your keys and you are constantly saying “I’m really tired” to anyone who asks how you are. I actually apologised to my husband the other day because I felt like I must be boring both him and myself with my repetitive “tired” whinging. He pointed out that he’d expect me to be tired at this stage, that growing a baby is hard work and that rather than beating myself up about it, I should just accept it and try to rest and relax how I can (ironically pregnancy insomnia means that come night time the tiredness is overruled by restless legs, leg cramp and general mind wondering).
My maternity leave isn’t “real” maternity leave. Being a Stay At Home Mum and working from home means I am lucky to know I can balance motherhood around the work I choose to do. I am very fortunate. But that doesn’t mean I can’t take this time, these few weeks before the baby comes, and I have my C Section, to rest up and enjoy the anticipation just as anyone else would. I am a mixture of emotions; excited, scared, nervous and I’ll write a bit more about that in my next pregnancy update over the next week or so. For now I am enjoying the wind down, the cuppas on the sofa, the constant excuse to eat cake, the watching of boxsets and the actual reading of magazines. I think I kinda deserve it and this is my kind of maternity leave.
Now I must go and organise those kitchen cupboards……