Preparing for your first baby.
Simple enough, right?
If only. Getting ready for one of the biggest life changes isn’t quite that easy.
First off, do you have any idea how many big things a tiny little bundle can amass?! Hubby and I have decided that this little one has nicer furniture, clothes and accessories than both of us put together. 100% serious. 😉
There is a lot to preparing for a new family addition, even if you aren’t doing a major two story house remodel through the entire 9 months, trying to find new tenants as your previous ones are moving out 2 days before you are due, and attempting to fix/sell a broken car (like we have). A new mama has to prepare herself physically, emotionally, materially and mentally. A new daddy has a lot to do too. He’s the one who takes on role of counselor (“you really CAN handle this”), best friend (in regards to hearing absolutely every private detail of what’s going on with mama’s body), and damage-control specialist (pregnancy emotions can be rough, girlfriend). He has a huge role to fill, and he’s a major factor in whether this is a good or great experience.
Here are a few ways I’ve been preparing as a new mama:
Eating plenty of good animal, nut, dairy protein. Meat if at all possible should be GMO free, pasture-raised and grass-fed. I will absolutely admit we have only been able to stick to that approximately 50% of the time. It’s not easy or cheap to eat good meat, especially when your local farmer is having a hard time stocking it as it sells out so fast. Do the best you can. Dairy, we drink organic raw milk (not only is it so much better for us, it’s also cheaper than the organic ultra-pasteurized milk from the store!). We buy full-fat cultured (not pasteurized) plain yogurt and plain greek yogurt then mix in our own fruit, maple syrup or honey, and sometimes granola or nuts. We buy organic peanut butter from BJ’s.
For most of the 2nd trimester (I was way too sick for the first) and a large chunk of the third, I did a prenatal workout DVD 2-3 days a week. The other days I ‘worked out’ at work, which consisted of stairs EVERYWHERE. Stairs to get supplements for a patient, stairs to go see the Dr, stairs to swipe the credit card from a patient, stairs to get my lunch, stairs to heat lunch, etc., etc. Everyone liked to assume my front office/secretary title meant I was sedentary. Much to the contrary. There was so much walking, standing and stairs, this baby couldn’t help but be head-down. 😛
This last trimester I’ve been focused on relaxing through Braxton Hicks, bouncing and sitting on my exercise ball (great for opening the pelvis and moving baby down), doing hands&knees if I can find a clean spot on the floor and not going crazy not being able to clean my house. This reno project has been trying in every sense of the word, but we’re finally getting to the point of putting everything back together and cleaning. 🙂 So excited! I can nest now!
All moms have to prepare emotionally, some to a greater extent than others. Past experiences, present circumstances, and our own hormone-ravaged minds play a huge part in how emotionally ready we are to become the most important person to a precious new life. My prep has been hard, and raw, and unnerving. There were nights so many hurtful words would come flooding back, and all I could do was panic and cry. This was when my husband had to come in and redirect my mind to things that are true, and pure and right. God made me this child’s mama for a reason, and God never, ever makes mistakes. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13). When I hope and trust in the Lord, He will renew my strength (Isaiah 40:31). By trusting and acknowledging the Lord (that He never makes mistakes), and rebuking my bad thoughts (my ‘understanding’), He will lead me (Proverbs 3:5-6). A lot of things have still been hard to accept and adding a little one to the mix brings back issues with even fresher, different meanings. It’s so easy to focus on the negative, hard, heartbreaking parts of life, but remembering that God never makes mistakes, He has a purpose, and He will walk with me through it makes it bearable.
We prayed about finding a Doula. There were a lot of options, but we weren’t comfortable with them. Some Doulas are very new-agey and we aren’t into that. We knew we wanted someone who believed what we do, who loves Jesus as Savior and would help me cling to Him during the hard parts. That person just wasn’t showing up so we prayed about it, then actually pushed it out of mind for a bit. Our midwife wanted us to at least do a birth class, so we signed up. God made it so clear at the class that we wanted our instructor to be our Doula. She was caring, sweet, so knowledgeable about the whole birth process, and is on the same page with many things including and most importantly faith. It worked out well for her also, and she’s been a huge encouragement to me during the rest of this pregnancy. God worked out every little detail so that we have a wonderful midwife we trust and a wonderful support team for when baby decides to make his entrance.
I have great moms in my life to learn from. My sister-in-law has her hands full with three beautiful little girls, yet she always manages to take care of all the demands of motherhood, being a wife, taking care of her home and being active in church and outside family activities. My Mom-in-law raised 3 good kids and brings a new perspective on raising kids that are ‘churched’, as I did not grow up in church and we never, ever attended as a family. I have several women from church who are great moms, and love to share their stories and experience.
Babies require a lot. Diapers, clothes, blankets, a place to sleep, and anything else mama and daddy want/need to make their transition into parenthood easier. It’s not an easy time. It’s a wonderful, exciting time, but it’s certainly not easy.
I’ve made diaper baskets to have on each floor of the house. They have diapers, wipes, receiving blankets and swaddlers, burp cloths and breast pads in them. I’m sure I’ll think of other things to add to the convenience factor once baby is here!
We’ve actually had 3 showers – Ryan’s family threw us one, some women from church had one and hubby’s work surprised us with a shower, complete with being catered and a huge, fancy safari themed cake. Some of my patients made sure to come in on or around my last day and bring gifts. We have been so blessed with the outpouring of love and care from the friends, family and coworkers in our lives. <3
Another great way to prepare materially is with food. Meals (as all you wives and mamas know) don’t prepare themselves. After baby comes you’ll be doing a lot more important things than making meals – resting from the marathon you just completed, getting to know your new sweet one, learning new family dynamics and lots of cuddling. The first week should be full of that, and void of standing in the kitchen making food, if at all possible. Some families have churches or big extended families that start a ‘meal train’ for them, with someone responsible every night to bring a nice dinner to the new parents. Others, like us, spend the last month or so making and freezing easy options. So far I’ve made eggplant lasagna, cheesy chicken, veggie and sprouted rice bake, pizza crust, bread, hamburger and hotdog rolls, tomato soup, sweet potato shepherd’s pie, and some healthy treats such as full fat Greek yogurt mixed fruit Popsicles, blueberry muffins, grain-free blueberry muffins and cookie bars. It’s been a lot of work, but feels great knowing we have good food we can just pop in the oven for an hour or so and be ready. We also bought 10 pounds of ground beef and froze it in 1 pound ‘flat’ increments to make it easy to thaw. 🙂
This one is very related to the ’emotionally’ category. It’s a lot to grasp. I’m going to be a mom.
I’m going to have a little baby dependent on me for food, care, love and warmth. It’s not just me and hubby anymore. It’s not just our schedule and what’s going on with our lives. It’s going to be all about baby, at least for a while. And that is going to be a huge adjustment.
It’s overwhelming to understand all those things, especially (I imagine) for the first. Our whole world is changing. Roles and responsibilities are shifting, priorities are being redesigned. It can easily take over the mind of a young, unprepared mom and cause panic to the utmost degree. (Do I sound like I speak from experience? Cuz I do. 😛 )
My dear hubby, who is ever the optimist, always encourages me through those things. He’s an amazing, wonderful daddy already. He has no reservations or concerns about how we will handle this new life. He has complete confidence we’re here at the perfect timing and God will help us through every little step. I don’t know what I would do without him. 🙂
How are you, or did you, as a new mama prepare for the huge blessing of children?