Pregnancy can hold some of the best and worst times of your life – here are 10 ways to enjoy pregnancy, even when it’s hard.
1-Focus on the good of the pregnancy.
Yes, this advice may seem of the simpleton variety, but I include it only because it really does help me focus on the good things that are to come: an adorable baby to cuddle, a full family, the joy and fun of siblings, and the bond between partners that really only a newborn baby can bring. Plus, think of all the cute Instagram pictures you can take!
Honestly, one of the hardest parts about pregnancy for me is the weight gain. I’m not a small pregnant woman, let’s put it that way. I’ve seen full-term women look like I do at about five months, which is nice for them, unfortunate for me. Staying active not only releases those happy chemicals to keep me positive, but it helps me feel like I’m not letting pregnancy weight get the best of me.
3-Ignore and don’t compare.
And by this, I don’t mean ignore those annoying people who insist on asking you if you’re carrying twins or “when are you going to pop that kid out already?” but those pregnant women who insist on documenting every minute of their blissful, glowing, beautiful pregnancies. Yes, some women have the good fortune to sail through their pregnancies without so much as a whiff of morning sickness, but meanwhile, some of us have a harder time. And that’s OK! Don’t compare pregnancies; it will be a good lesson to learn now before the parenthood games begin.
4-Use a pregnancy app.
I’ve never been one of those “what size of fruit is my baby this month?” women, but after downloading my first-ever fetal development app (because I happened to write it, ahem), I have to admit, it’s actually making a world of difference in upping the excitement factor. It’s just so much fun to follow along every week and watch the baby change before my eyes. My girls know to check my phone every Saturday to see how big the baby is, and their enthusiasm is catching. If you don’t have a smartphone (or even if you do!), try EverydayFamily’s week-by-week pregnancy guide for videos and emails that will keep you informed along the way.
5-Invest in some cute maternity clothes.
Nothing will make you feel worse than schlepping around the town in sweatpants and your husband’s ratty old t-shirt. Seriously, buy some maternity clothes that make you feel good. Knowing that I will spend a good majority of this pregnancy in the hot summer months, I just bought a really cute green maternity bathing suit on clearance that I know will be put to good use when I’m floating my baby bump in the pool. And I already know that lots of flowy, maxi dresses are on my shopping to-buy list. This is one pregnancy I’m determined not to make myself even more miserable.
6-Keep a pregnancy photo diary
Creating a photo book of your pregnancy will build a special keepsake for you and your partner. And in years to come, your child will love looking through it too.‘It will remind you of how you changed during your pregnancy, special moments you shared, and help create a bond with your bump,’ says psychotherapist Josephine Cropper. As well as taking photos of your growing bump, add a caption about how you felt when you saw the thin blue line and make a note of all the special things you do with your partner as you prepare for the big day.
7-Connect with baby
Using simple visualization techniques for a few minutes a day can help you bond with your unborn baby. Choose a regular time to relax and focus, such as in the bath or before you go to sleep.‘Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and imagine you are in a place where you feel at ease,’ says Maggie Howell, founder of Natal Hypnotherapy and mum to five boys.‘Now imagine your child is with you. Allow your mind to wander – feel his or her presence and enjoy “being” with him or her. This is a wonderful way to focus on the positive times ahead.’
8-Listen to music
Well-known studies back up the importance of prenatal music stimulation for babies, but music can be useful for mums-to-be too.‘Planning time to listen to music can be relaxing, and aids mindfulness, which can help you feel grounded and in the moment,’ explains Josephine Cropper.‘Choose any soothing track you like, or the CDs from psychologist Dr Mark Williams on finding peace in a frantic world.It’s a good idea to use the same music to help you relax during labour.
9-Do a bedtime digital detox
Changing hormone levels, needing to pee more often and a growing bump can affect sleep in.By the third trimester, more than half of women suffer some form of pregnancy insomnia. Research has found that artificial LED light inhibits sleep-promoting neurons in the brain and the nightly release of the hormone melatonin, which aids sleep.Make a pledge not to use any electronic devices in the hour before bed for some digital-free downtime.
10-Plan a treat every week
Those 40 weeks can drag, especially as you get further into your pregnancy. You may feel as though you’ll be pregnant forever but if you put a series of treats in the diary, you will find the weeks pass a little quicker.From coffee with friends, to a long bath or buying a new book, make sure you have something to look forward to.