Congratulations! You are going to have a baby. You are about to embark on an exciting adventure that is like no other you have ever experienced. If you already have children, then you know about all of the things to come.
There are books and blogs, experts and wanna-be experts everywhere. When you are seeking or receiving information on what you should or should not do during pregnancy, always consider whether the views fit your value set and what the source’s credentials are. Take the information that works for you and enjoy the wonderful beauty of pregnancy.
Exercising Can Be Helpful in Many Ways
When discussing exercising during pregnancy, the first thing you must do is always consult your healthcare provider before beginning any exercises. This is necessary as your pregnancy and your body are different from everyone else’s.
Once you have the green light to begin or continue exercising, it is helpful to understand the benefits of exercising while pregnant. Some of these include:
- Exercising is a chance to keep your body moving and feeling good. If you exercised before your pregnancy but stopped, your body will miss the routine and release you experienced.
- Physical activity is a great way to release those happy chemicals in your body called endorphins.
- Staying physically fit will help you through the childbirth process.
- Exercising during pregnancy can help you regain your body (in whatever beautiful shape you have) after the baby arrives.
- Joining an exercise group or continuing to work out at your gym are good ways to remain social and keep your connections with others.
- The act of moving your body can be cathartic and help with mental clarity.
- Exercise is a wonderful way to relieve stress.
Remember to Take Time for Yourself
This directive is one to take to heart now, but especially after a baby is born. Give yourself some grace and time to do something that is not baby-bump-related. If you want to go out for lunch with your friends and not discuss children (impending or otherwise), you should do it!
Is there a hobby you have always wanted to try that is baby-safe? Go ahead and do it. The crib will get put together later, and the tiny clothes can be washed and folded another day. Finding things for yourself outside of the mom label is just as important now as it will be for 18 more years.
Perhaps you want to go back to school or take a continuing education course to add to your already impressive credentials. Tackling children, work, and more schooling may seem daunting, but if you reframe the effort as something you want to do and have the support and resources to do it, this may be a great way to give back to yourself.
Talk with your partner and discuss ways you can each have your respective alone time. Remember to schedule couple-time, too, as your relationship will require continued attention and nurturing throughout the child-raising years.
Understand that Pregnancy Can Be Difficult, Too
Movies and TV constantly tell the world that pregnancy and the requisite glow are something that every pregnant woman experiences. While that can be true for some, it is more realistic to understand that you will feel that way some of the time, but not all of the time.
The reality is that growing a baby is a major undertaking for your body. The process will astound and tire you, sometimes at the same time. Lean on others for support and seek guidance when you need it because you do not have to do it alone.
Watch this video to learn about some of the surprising effects pregnancy has on a woman’s body and how things change and adapt within the body.
Do Not Fall Into the Comparison/Judgement Trap
Every mom is different. You all come from different homes, families, cultures, and ethnicities, and the list goes on for a very long time. There are so many amazing differences that you can embrace as unique and wonderful rather than compare yourself to them.
Some moms work 40 hours per week and have help from their families or a paid resource. That is what works best for them. They may need to work or they may want to work. As long as their children are not neglected, it is a functional situation.
Another mom might choose to leave her career or never begin one and stay at home to raise her children. That is another perfectly acceptable and viable option. What matters, again, is that the children receive proper care.
If you go down another proverbial path, you will see some moms only using reusable diapers and wipes while making their own organic baby food from scratch. A different mom may not have the time nor the inclination and will take a different path. Both of these choices lead to divergent experiences that are what make society interesting.
Take caution when looking at another mom and how she parents or handles things throughout her pregnancy. You can certainly take elements from her processes and incorporate them into your life if you think they will provide value.
The best thing that you can do for yourself, your child, and your family is to take a step back and stop comparisons. They lead to overly perfect social media accounts that do not reflect the reality of raising children. The reality is that it is messy, tiresome, wonderful, and amazing all at the same time. Your opinions are your own and vice versa.
Take the time to learn about your body, how it will change, and the amazing things you can do with it as you grow a new life within. You are going to make fantastic memories as the years fly by, ensure you make a few for yourself, too. Know that you are capable and competent. Get prepared and know that you can do this. And, know too that when you need a little help or a much-deserved break, you should ask for it. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child.