10 things I would tell my pregnant self

With pregnancy comes a whole host of emotions. As much as it’s one of the most exciting times of your life, it’s easy to spend a lot of time worrying about things that are largely out of your control. Here are 10 things I would tell my pregnant self….

pregnant self

  1. Forget about your due date – this is so much easier said than done but if you can find a way to relieve the pressure of your due date then your last few weeks of being pregnant will be a much more enjoyable experience (Read my earlier post – The Waiting Game – to learn from my mistake on this!).
  2. Set up all “baby” equipment and practice, practice, practice– trust me, there is nothing worse than venturing out for the first time with your baby and realising that you can’t put the pram up/ down. Or needing to sterilise bottles/ breast pump and getting into a state because your sleep-deprived mind can’t read the instructions. You might feel silly doing it without a baby in tow but it will be a lot easier than trying to work it when said baby is there with you, and mostly crying at you in frustration (babies are not overly patient in my experience!).
  3. Try not to stress too much about labour – whatever happens you will find a way of getting through labour – whether that’s with pain relief or without, vaginal or C-section, home or hospital birth and so on. None of it really matters in the end as long as you and your baby are OK. And as much as having a rough plan of how you’d like it to go is useful, it’s most likely going to deviate away from that at some point so try to just go with what happens in the moment and be confident in your own ability.
  4. Enjoy the time before your baby gets here – sometimes it’s easy to think solely about the future when you’re expecting but it’s also important to live in the here and now. Your world is about to be turned upside and there are a huge amount of positives that go along with that. But there’s likely to be a few parts of your “old” life that you’ll miss – time to yourself, date nights with your partner, lie-ins etc. – so try to just enjoy those last few moments as much as you can.
  5. Don’t underestimate your instincts – this goes for both during labour and when your baby is here. You know your body and your baby better than anyone so trust your gut no matter what anyone tells you.
  6. There’s no need to over-plan – I remember visiting a number of nurseries when I was heavily pregnant and spending so much time worrying about how I’d cope when I went back to work. And I hadn’t even met my baby yet! Just take each stage as it comes because you may feel differently when it actually happens and no one can predict the future.
  7. The hardest trimester is yet to come – this isn’t meant to scare you but just a reminder that you’ll go through a lot in the fourth trimester – your body will still be recovering, you will deal with a ridiculous number of hormones and you will be trying to work out how to keep your baby happy (/alive). Be kind to yourself. Accept it’s not going to be an easy road but that it’s just a phase and it will get easier.
  8. Remember you’re not alone – sometimes it feels like you need to do everything yourself to be a good mum but it’s just not true. You will need the support of your family and friends. Whether that’s physical support through helping with day-to-day tasks or mental support by being someone you can talk to. Finding mummy friends with similar aged babies is also really helpful. I’ve made a couple of life-long friends in my NCT group who have saved my sanity on many an occasion and just having that reassurance that you’re not alone in your thoughts/ feelings will be such a godsend.
  9. Have a breastfeeding back-up plan – health professionals (and probably many others) will tell you that if you really want to breastfeed you can. But what they often forget is that there are 2 parties to satisfy here and you can’t always predict what your baby is going to do or how you’re going to feel when the time comes. Have a back-up supply of things you will need to bottle feed (bottles, steriliser, and formula) just in case.
  10. Believe in yourself – go into motherhood with confidence, knowing that you can do this. Yes you’ll get things wrong along the way but so does everyone. There will be plenty of differing advice/ opinions from those around you but have the confidence to do what you feel is best and don’t be afraid to go against the crowd.

Hospital bag checklist

A year ago today I was neurotically packing my hospital bag in fear of going into labour early. Karma would have it that Archie was 2 weeks late and I needed to be induced but hey hindsight is a wonderful thing! So I thought I’d share my list in the hope that it’s useful for anyone who’s expecting.

hospital bag

Mummy’s bag:

  • Hospital notes – essential that you don’t forget these, so put them on the top of your bag
  • Birth plan – in reality you probably won’t refer to this in labour but it made me feel better to have something written down
  • Pyjamas – loose, dark and ideally with an open neck for skin-skin / nursing
  • Night-shirt – to potentially wear during labour
  • Maternity pads – my advice here is to get Tena Nights – not the most glamorous purchase but way better than the standard maternity pads which are too thin
  • Big black knickers – don’t be embarrassed, the more Bridget Jones style the better! These are useful for a couple of weeks post labour too so it’s worth buying a couple of packs – the ones from Primark or a supermarket work fine
  • Nursing bra – if planning on breastfeeding
  • Breast pads – you probably won’t use these until your milk supply kicks in (around 2-3 days after birth) but pack a couple just in case
  • Slippers – for walking around the ward
  • Flip flops (optional) – for using the shower
  • 1 change of clothes – for travelling home in so make sure they’re loose, dark, comfortable and warm
  • Pillow (optional)– not essential but it reminded me of home and was way more comfortable than the hospital ones
  • Tens machine (optional) – I hired one for £5 from Boots but didn’t use– apparently useful for the early stages of labour though
  • Phone, charger and earphones – in case you want to listen to music and/ or update family/ friends
  • Warm slipper socks (optional) – this is a personal one because I hate having cold feet (and despite not wanting to wear any clothes during labour I refused to take these off!!)
  • Ear plugs and eye mask – useful for when you’re in the ward
  • Food/ snacks – don’t go overboard as there’s likely to be a café nearby but your favourite biscuits/ crisps/ chocolates will keep you in good spirits. I did find though that having a box of chocolates by my bed and offered to staff went down well and ensured we didn’t get forgotten about!
  • Toiletries
    • Hair brush
    • Hair ties
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Lip balm
    • Face wash/ wipes
    • Body wash
    • Shampoo/ conditioner
    • Hand sanitiser
    • Tissues
    • Deodorant
    • Nipple cream (if breastfeeding) – Lansinoh is great
    • Dry shampoo
    • Relaxation oil (e.g. lavender)

Baby’s bag:

  • Nappies (pack of size 1 should be fine)
  • Wipes (don’t bother with cotton wool)
  • A few nappy sacks
  • 3 vests (long or short sleeve)
  • 3 sleepsuits (with mitts in-built)
  • 2 muslin cloths
  • Blanket

Going home:

  • Car seat
  • Hat
  • 1 cardigan
  • Warm blanket

If your partner needs to stay overnight with you then he/ she might need a few essentials too. If there’s anything you think I’ve missed then please do let me know!

Do I have a job?

Today marks the day I am officially unemployed. Having decided that (for the time-being at least) I’m going to be a stay-at-home mum has led some people to question whether I have a job at all. Here is my response.

do i have a job

As someone who has been pretty ambitious and career-focused so far in my life, being classed as “unemployed” may seem like a bitter pill for me to swallow. And yes whilst it does irk me that some people believe I’ve taken the easier route by choosing to be a stay-at-home mum, as anyone who’s been one knows, it is without doubt one of the hardest but most rewarding jobs around.

Prior to having Archie I was a marketer for a financial services company in London. It was a fairly high pressured job and I worked long hours on top of a 3 hour daily commute. I’ve always been someone who’s pushed themselves mentally so I enjoyed the complexity of the industry I worked in. Going from this environment to being a stay-at-home mummy has taken some real adjusting for me.

From the outside in, it probably seems that the hardest part of my day is dealing with a tantrum or changing a dirty nappy. But in fact the lack of mental stimulation and adult conversation combined with time to overthink and over-process information has actually been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. There is no switching off and a constant background worry because ultimately I’m responsible for someone’s life and well-being. And that someone is one of the most important people in my life, who I love more than anything in the world.

Of course a huge perk is that I have the privilege of watching my son grow up and see his little personality develop. I know how lucky I am to do this. But I wouldn’t say that it’s easy. Not that a working parent has it any easier either.

Being a parent means there are sacrifices you have to make. There is no such thing as having it all and I truly believe there is no perfect solution. Like with everything, you just have to do what you feel is best at the time and for your situation.

And right now, this is what feels right for us. But I’m also fully aware that this is likely to change. And there will possibly come a day when we will need to re-balance things. In the meantime, I just hope that I can still be the best mummy I can be by being a stay-at-home one.

2018: A year of firsts

Unsurprisingly 2018 has been a year of firsts for our family – particularly for Archie. As the year draws to a close I thought it would be a good time to reflect and summarise all our little monkey has achieved.

firsts

From top left to bottom right:

January – First time being late! Let’s hope it’s not in his nature.

February – First breath and the day I became a mummy.

March – First smile. 5 weeks in and finally some positive feedback!

April – First night away from home – a weekend with our friends in Center Parcs.

May – First swimming lesson – Daddy particularly enjoyed the “dunking”!

June – First giggles – still my favourite ever sound. This month also included his first day away from mummy, his first night in his big cot and the first time he rolled over.

July – First night without his sleepyhead – when we realised he actually prefers sleeping on his tummy.

August – First time sitting up unaided. He also clapped for the first time this month which is his favourite party trick to date!

September – First time he stood up in his cot – I noticed it on the monitor when he was meant to be asleep! This month he also properly crawled for the first time.

October – First time abroad – we ventured to Tenerife on a 4.5 hour flight (it was interesting….!).

November – First time on the swings – and they were a definite hit.

December – First steps – also his first Christmas and the month he said his first words (dada, mumma and nana (banana)).

Wow what a year. I can’t believe he’s so close to being a toddler (where did my baby go!). It’s been the most life-changing year of my life to date and I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for us. Wishing you all a healthy and happy one.