I live in a community filled with young mothers. During B’s dedication service at our church, we held only one of the fourteen babies being dedicated that day. I’ve lost count of how many babies are in the nursery, and even how many additional pregnant mamas there are in our faith family alone. Thus some of the inspiration for this next series of posts involving pregnancy, labor and delivery bag tips, and postpartum days – all events that remain fairly fresh on my mind. I wanted to begin by sharing a few things about pregnancy I’ve learned from other mothers along the way.
Find a healthcare provider you trust, and listen to him/her. Whether using a doctor or a midwife, this person is important. I’ll never forget the first appointment we had with our doctor. Barely six weeks pregnant, I brought a notebook in with all my questions. I patiently waited until the end of our appointment, giving my doctor the chance to tell me everything he wanted, and then I began. He smiled kindly and responded to each of my questions, and then reassured me that I could relax a little; he would give me what information I needed when I needed it. He hit the highlights at each visit and I soon learned to relax and trust him, which grew even more after B’s birth. Check out this previous post to hear how we feel about Dr. Glen Heckman. One of the things that confirmed our usage of Dr. Heckman was when I mentioned using a doula. He affirmed the idea since he’s such an advocate for natural childbirth, and he was actually the one that recommended Becky to us. Rather than feel threatened by the idea of us using a doula, he recommended one that he already knew, who worked well alongside him. They were a great team, and I don’t think I ever want to try to have a baby without the two of them there.
Meet with a doula. Notice I didn’t say you absolutely should use a doula. All I’m asking is that you take the time to sit down and meet with one. It doesn’t cost anything to meet one and hear what she provides. I’m convinced that most people don’t use doulas simply because they are unaware of what one is and what they can provide their clients. There are a lot of myths out there that simply aren’t true. At least schedule a meeting with a doula. And of course I have a recommendation: Becky Hines from North Dallas Doula Associates. Check out this previous post where I talk a little about her.
Read carefully. I feel like I can say this because I feel like I read everything. Everything. Although the commonly-read books contain helpful information, they can also scare you into worrying about unnecessary things or (in my case) create expectations that may or may not come true. I started using the smart phone apps by What to Expect and Baby Center, and that’s probably what I’ll use with any future pregnancies. They hit the highlights of you and your baby without overwhelming you with information. While picking out something to read, please consider learning about natural childbirth. This is coming from a mother who ended up having a c-section after thirty-three hours of labor – yes, I understand and am grateful for the interventions available. But, like the idea of using a doula, I feel like natural childbirth often is not even considered simply because mothers are unaware of the benefits it can provide for both the mother and the baby. Regardless of what you read and the knowledge you gain from books, let your doctor/midwife/doula be the authority when it comes to information.
Take someone with you when you register. I am so glad I did this. Walking into Babies R Us proves overwhelming, to say the least. Someone suggested I bring another mother of young children with me to make suggestions and provide explanations for all of the products staring back at me from the shelves. I did this twice. My first friend has two sons and a daughter, so she amazed me by explaining the purpose of each item. Her husband travels doing ministry a lot, so she understood my family’s mobility, and even advised me according to that specifically. She talked through which items were most helpful to her, and which items to wait to purchase as I learn my unique child and his needs. In addition, I had help from another friend who mothers a boy only seven months older than B. Since she breastfed her son past a year and uses cloth diapers (something I planned to do), she advised me in those two specific areas by explaining cloth diapering and other tips/products she found helpful for breastfeeding. Each of these were extremely valuable in helping me register for items to prepare for B’s arrival.
Pasta, Scrabble and old movies. If this is your first pregnancy, enjoy your last months with just you and your husband. Have fun together. Laugh together. It’s not that you won’t be able to do these things after your little one arrives, but it will look a little different. So rather than get too caught up in your due date, simply enjoy where you are currently. Those last few weeks were so special to us – I made Nick watch The Godfather, Casablanca, The Sting, and other classics. I think we ate Cajun Chicken Pasta at Chili’s more than a few times that final week (I had to stock up on carbs for labor, right?!), and we enjoyed simply playing Scrabble and laughing at how ridiculously competitive we can become. I’ll never forget those fun memories before B arrived.
So, dear expectant friends – enjoy this stage. Plan what you can by surrounding yourself with people that you love and trust, and enjoy time with your family how it is now. Celebrate the life God is allowing to grow inside of you, and Lord-willing, at the proper time, you will meet your little one(s) and be able to celebrate how your life changes once he, she, or they arrive.
- Dear Expectant Friends Part Two: That Well-Known Bag (jamileegainey.wordpress.com)