Well, tomorrow I am full term. 37 weeks. I will have one fully grown baby residing in my uterus! And the realisation that he or she could make an appearance any time from now has suddenly sunk in!
Yes I know, I know, “it’s your first, you’re bound to be late”; I’ve heard this from many many people! But the fact that two of my fellow pregnant friends have recently delivered early proves this insistence can be wrong! And I can’t lie, it gets you thinking. When Hubby said to me the other night “are we ready, if it comes now are we completely ready”, I was full of confidence; we’ve bought everything, had a go with everything and set everything up. We’re good to go. But then I have to admit I began to think “are we ready”. This was a completely different “are we ready” to my husbands question; he meant the practicalities, have we bought everything and figured out how to use everything (which reminds me, if anyone knows how to sterilise a breast pump please let me know)! My “are we ready” was a more emotional (mental!) one. I’ve read all the books, I’ve been to the classes, I’ve watched videos on YouTube; all these things have really helped me to feel calm and prepared as my pregnancy has progressed. And although I’ve no doubt everything I have learnt is going to help me in the long run, there are lots of things to consider once baby arrives that I think I will have to adapt to and deal with as time goes on.
The first thing to consider is going to be the insane sleep deprivation! It’s an inevitable part of parenthood. Even if you end up with a really good baby who sleeps through the night from an early age, every single parent out there is going to have times when they are so completely sleep deprived they don’t know their arse from their elbow! As with most pregnant women, sleep in the third trimester has become impossible. You’re up peeing 15 times a night, you can’t get comfortable, the pillows you went to sleep with surrounding you become irritating and get flung out of bed in a temper (is that just me), you’re too hot and if you want to roll over it’s a similar procedure to when you see those beached whales being rescued on the local news!!! On top of this you may have heartburn, restless legs or cramp to contend and I, for one, can vouch to many nights just sitting up crying with despair cause you’re just so bloody tired. After a few weeks it dawned on me that crying was not going to help and that I better wake up (see what I did there) to the fact that this will get worse when my baby arrives. And since then I’ve almost slept a bit better in a way; yes I still wake for the loo a million times a night, but I keep all the lights off, I never look at the time when I wake up and I feel like my body has thought “ok this is your training, make the most of it cause soon it’s going to be tougher”. One thing I do think about in terms of when baby is here is that at least I’ll wake in the night for an actual purpose, and not just because my legs have adopted a mind of their own and decided to fly about uncontrollably!
I have no doubt sleep deprivation will be deliberating; I’ve no doubt it makes you grumpy and a bit away with the fairies. But I do feel confident in my partner that he’ll support me and have baby in the evening so I can get a couple of hours decent sleep, and I’m not going to punish myself for those days when I am exhausted and a bit emotional. I also hope I can sustain some form of routine; a quick morning shower before my husband goes to work, and napping when baby naps – a tip I’ve had drummed into me, and in turn I am drumming into all the mummies to be that I know!
Another huge part to get your head around, and that I am reading up on again now, is breastfeeding. I did a dedicated NCT class on breastfeeding and I am so glad I did; it helped me feel a bit more confident about how to perservere should I have any issues or pain. I feel as though I now understand it’s going to take time to practise and master but I feel far more confident that I will be able to do it. I really hope I can; it’s something I really want to do, but I certainly wouldn’t ever turn my nose up at the option of needing to bottle feed should I have to or to any mother that chooses to bottle feed instead. And I don’t know how I am going to get on myself; all I can do is keep an open mind. But I am very positive about it and it’s good knowing there are so many sources of support and help should any struggles arise.
Of course it’s not just the breastfeeding itself, but doing it in front of people. I know this is something several friends and I have voiced our nervousness about. I am a huge supporter of being able to breastfeed in public (albeit not with your whole boob hanging out – I feel that can be a little bit “look at me” and provokes negative reactions). But I know I will be nervous when I need to feed in front of people, particularly men, I am close to. I know I’d be quite embarrassed if I had to breastfeed in front of my Dad or my Father in Law, and I do think that in the very early days of motherhood, when I am still learning, I may take myself into another room for some privacy whilst I build up my confidence in doing this (plus there is an added bonus of if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all your visitors in those first few early days, it’s a good excuse to go up to the nursery or another cosy quiet room for half an hours peace and quiet with baby)! I am very lucky that I have a lovely group of NCT friends, several of whom have also voiced their concerns about feeding in public, and I think all of us getting together and going to breastfeeding coffee morning clubs, specifically set up for new mums, will really help and enable us to encourage each other.
I guess the breastfeeding in front of others concerns is a judgement thing, and I find that a massive subject in itself. In fact, and I will be really honest and open in speaking about this, it is the thing I am the most nervous about in becoming a new mum; the judgement you get from others. All through pregnancy you get peoples opinions and unwanted advice on what you should and shouldn’t do. You nod along, sometimes you take it on board, sometimes you’re desperate to roll your eyes in a way that Lucy Watson would be proud of, and sometimes you actually just want to tell people to F**k off cause you know what you’re doing (remember what I said last week, have faith in yourself – You’ve got this)! I have felt quite confident in the manner of which I’ve chosen to do things in pregnancy; If I’ve declined a drink and been told “you can have one” I’ve kindly but firmly explained my reasons for why I wouldn’t have one. When I’ve been questioned as to why I’ve bought stuff “so early” I’ve explained that being organised is important to me and actually helps me feel more relaxed in the long run and that I take no notice of negative superstitions (bit hypocritical of me as I did salute two magpies this morning)! But when I think about how I will deal with this sort of thing once my baby is here I feel as though my confidence disappears. Although I have every faith in myself, and I know I’ll be a good Mum, I just don’t know how I will cope and react with peoples comments of why am I doing things a certain way; why hold it like that, why are you swaddling, why don’t you burp the baby like this,so-and- so did it like that”. Annoyingly I know in my head the answers I’ll want to give; I know already why my husband and I will do things a certain way, and I know if and when things don’t go as we had thought they might, how we’ll cope and change them. But I am so scared of that feeling, when my baby is first here, of being watched and judged on how I do things. And I really shouldn’t be but it’s something I don’t think I’ll actually overcome until he or she is here, in my arms and I then think and hope my confidence will grow. I’ll have that motherly instinct and I’ll embrace all the help with things such as feeding, whilst in hospital and when I see my midwife. I am annoyed at myself for even considering worrying about peoples thoughts on my parenting when I’ve not even got started yet, and I know that is something only I can over come. I am quite a feisty character, and very determined in my way of dealing with things, so I just have to keep reminding myself that I will be OK, and that I will most likely only receive encouragement, and to ignore that little voice of doubt that occasionally crops up with a “what if….”. I do, however, think this is all a normal part of late pregnancy, in this run up to birth. You’re going to get nervous about something and if it’s not the birth, it will be the life changes afterwards. I can’t lie, I am already nervous about things that aren’t even planned yet. You feel pressure sometimes that others don’t even realise they are putting on you; the worry of one set of grandparents seeing the baby more than the other, setting up visits and holidays that may not happen for six months and how you’ll manage with the baby sleeping whilst not in the comfort of your own home, how to explain you might just need some time to yourself as a little family for a day or two without offending anyone. I’ve had a such situations thrust upon me, before my baby is even here, that I find of immense pressure and it honestly gets to me quite a bit. But I think it is all a case of finding your voice and getting your point across in a kind way but whilst being firm. I know you have to compromise sometimes, but at the same time this is going to be a period of time of such huge importance to you and your baby, so please don’t let people push you into their way of thinking just because that seems like the easy option. You’re the mother and between you and your partner, do what’s right for you and your baby. Have that as a mantra and as soon as you feel uncomfortable and as though you are being swayed to doing things a certain way, when it’s not something you agree with, stand up for yourself.
As much as I have some nerves, I am also so excited for the life changes. Because whilst in some ways our lives are going to change forever, in other ways I think it’s important life can remain the same. I will still encourage my husband to go for his runs when he wants, he will still encourage me to go to the beauticians if I need an hour out the house, we will still go for lovely walks like we already do but this time with our beautiful baby and fabulous buggy! I like to see it as fitting the baby into our life, but we will adapt things for him or her too. It’s almost like a baby/parent compromise.
There is so much to consider and I’ve had a lot playing on my mind this past week in terms of these things, but as time ticks by, I am making sure I elimate any worry that crops up with a solution whether that’s by common sense and looking at things more logically, or by asking a friend for their thoughts and advice. The excitement is now far out-weighing the nerves.
Of course there are nerves about the embarrassing side effects of birth and the lead up to it. I have to admit I now feel the most unattractive I’ve felt all through my pregnancy – it’s November and I’m still so hot it may as well be August and I change my whole outfit at least twice a day for fear of being hot and sweaty. Your stomach and digestive system are so squashed up by this point that one day you can’t stop going to the loo, and then can’t go again for two days after – combine that with the fact that an upset stomach is often an early sign of labour so when you do have those moments you instantly think “oh is something going to happen soon”. And then as you get even closer to the end you are spending your toilet visits having a “nose” to see if you’ve lost your plug (if you’re a woman, you’ll know what this is and I won’t divulge any further, if you’re a bloke, you don’t want to know I’ll spare you the details). It’s as if all dignity has already gone out the window, in preparation for birth, which lets face it, from what I’ve read and been told so far is less than dignified and you may as well just go with that mindset.
So you can see, over these last three weeks, with one cooked baby and one date in mind, you’re more than likely going to have a great deal on your mind. You’ll know you need to be taking it easy, napping, reading, watching films whilst you can, but sometimes it’s almost easier said than done. I have been a nightmare; I have baby books I want to read, plus I want to finish the Harry Potter books whilst I can (obsessed with the films but never read the books – nearly finished them though), I want to blog and on top of that little lot I can’t stop cleaning!!!!!! Plus I have pregnant friends who keep delivering early so I keep thinking ohhhhh maybe I’ll be early (it may be a bit of wishful thinking). So I’ve already decided that next week is going to be a really lazy, quiet and relaxed week for me – I’ll do my reading and watch films and make the most of it. And I think by having that relaxing time it will stop me fretting about any of these things and put me in a really positive and calm mindset.
I hope you enjoyed this post; it has felt almost like a therapeutic post and a good way to get worries off my chest! I’ll be back tomorrow with my 37 week pregnancy update. Thank you for reading and I hope it has come across as a positive post despite my negative concerns.