When a woman is just about ready to pop, those last few weeks of pregnancy are a real light at the end of long, dark tunnel. Mom-to-be is tired, sore and potentially prepping herself for some serious surgery. She may be catching up on some much-needed sleep, between folding newborn clothes and packing her hospital bag. Even if she needs help, it's unlikely that she will ask for any. And, who can forget the brain fog that comes with pregnancy, or worse, momnesia! Even on her "good days," she may still come to the realization that her car keys are in the freezer, and the ice cream is actually in her purse, (no one's judging here.)
The next thing that will happen is she walks into her bedroom for some serious Netflix and chill, only for her water to break and the anxiety creeps in. Where's the husband and baby daddy at, with the running car and packed trunk? Did he assemble the car seat properly or is it flailing all over the back of the car? Did he put the wheels on the stroller? Did he buy new batteries for the breast pump, or did he use some of the frozen ones from the freezer? These are things moms-to-be need to know, and they need to know right now.
On the way to the hospital, a million things seem to run through mom's mind, while dad may be a little lost in the panic. But, while they sit at the red light that seems to have been red for 10 minutes, she may start reminiscing how her pregnancy flew by, (even though she complained every hour of every day since she first took the test.) Were there things she could've done to make sure she got the pregnancy glow or scrapbooked enough of her pre-motherhood life to show her future children? Oh no, she forgot to call Rebecca back (from that "I'll call you later" conversation that happened 3 years ago.)
Don't fret mama-to-be, here's a list of 20 things to do while waiting for that precious bundle of snuggles to arrive.
20 Nest! Nest! Nest!
Before you have one of your own, it’s impossible to really know what you’re in for. All you really know is that you’re about to be home all day, every day, for weeks on end, and you might think to yourself, “I will finally get those floors waxed!” But, don’t be upset if you don’t get all that cleaning done that you have been meaning to do since before you lost sight of your toes. Making another little person is exhausting, and it’s more than okay if you find you don’t have the motivation to dust on top of the doorframes while your newborn sleeps.
You may have to settle for someone else to do it, (thanks babe.) Older children can be very helpful here, it’s a great opportunity for them to learn! Take a deep breath and give them direction while they pick up, dust, sweep, even run the vacuum if they’re big enough. This will make them feel included (even if they argue!) and give you a much-needed break while keeping the house from descending into chaos. If you don’t have any older kids, you will be surprised how eager your best friend or mom – or even your mom-in-law! – will be to help you. Especially if you let them have extra time with your growing belly and strong baby kicks.
Listen, we get it, we've been there. There will be days where you'll wake up at 2 in the morning to go to the bathroom (again, for the 6th time since midnight,) and then think about vacuuming. Totally normal, right? While there may be other days where even the thought of waking up may be daunting, all women experience the feelings (and some even experience joy,) of nesting.
19 Sit Back With Much Needed Snacks And Gossip Girl
Sounds like a more reasonable goal, doesn’t it? However, you may find yourself drifting off and missing important plot twists, (yes Chuck and Blair still break up, it wasn't a dream.) Think of yourself as being at the bottom of a big hole in your energy, which only time and pushing out a baby can fill in. Even if you could sleep all night, every night, it would still be a while before you feel normal again. (Forget perky, perky is gone for a long, long time.) So, you may not get to watch the last three seasons of your favorite show that you have been meaning to catch up on, but sleep is much more important for your body in this final stretch!
For first-time moms, maybe catching up on the latest Disney movies, or the newest episode of Paw Patrol will help show her what she's in for in the coming years.
A favorite movie you have seen a hundred times might be good, a documentary you’re only half-interested in, or something that’s easy to follow because that pregnancy fog is real, and it won't go away because Serena's having a meltdown. TV doesn’t seem all that important until you've been sitting in a house, all by yourself (with your growing baby,) and there's only so many times you can hear Despacito on the radio.
Take advantage of this precious T.V time now, mama. Soon, you'll have to choose between Season 2 of your favorite show and a shower. This is something I will say more than once, don’t rush these last few days! Your little one will be here soon, and then gone are the days of self-indulging on those guilty pleasures (yes, brushing your teeth is a guilty pleasure.)
18 Be The Selfie Queen, The Belly Will Be Gone Soon
Many hospitals offer a portrait service, but they are usually very expensive, and it’s hard to catch your baby awake in those first few days. By then, your growing belly will be gone and your tiny little bundle of love will be placed in your arms, and you won't be able to let go. It'll only take a few days for you to miss your pregnant belly (believe it or not,) and you'll look through your camera scroll only to find there's a picture of you stuffing your face during Thanksgiving, but no Pinterest-perfect selfies. There go your hopes of becoming of mommy vlogger.
After you get home with your new little love, the days will start to drag on and, all of a sudden, it's Sunday and it's time to redo this whole process all over again. The glory days of showering and putting on mascara are now gone, and you've embraced the dry shampoo and chapstick routine. Those gorgeous pregnancy acne bumps are still there, and there might be spit up on the tank top that you just realized have been wearing for 3 days straight.
However, it's not too late! Now is the time to embrace that pregnancy glow and that luscious pregnancy hair that doubled in volume. Now is the time to wear that silk robe and fluffy slippers after a long lavender-scented bath. Treat yourself in things that you will no longer have time to do, and then grab a quick selfie so you don't forget you were once a relaxed woman, (don't worry - you still look flawless even with that natural hair grease.)
17 Get The Paperwork Out Of The Way
You will get an abundance of paperwork before your little one arrives. Actually, it's not an abundance, in fact, it's slightly ridiculous how much paper you will get it throughout your pregnancy. There will be paperwork for the hospital that contains general information, like your name, information about your spouse, and if you've already had children. There will be other papers thrown your way that include medical release forms, allergy information, what type of hospital room you'd like to have, and parking situation. And, of course, there will be a ton of paperwork in regards to money - how are you going to pay your hospital bill? Do you have insurance, and if so, how much will they be covering?
But, most importantly, there's paperwork about the baby that's being entered into this world, which goes to the birth certificate office for them to fill out. These are all papers that you will need to bring to the hospital when your bundle of joy makes his grand entrance.
Being prepared is a great way to stay busy during those long pregnancy days.
Otherwise, you will end up at the hospital and they will not admit you until it's completed, or you'll just be another Jane Doe. Take a few minutes while your hubby is at work and the house is quiet, make yourself a pregnancy-safe tea and fill the paperwork in. Or else, they'll hand you paperwork that you'll stash it in your bag, thinking you will put it away when you get home, then completely forget or just don’t feel like messing with it. I didn’t even unpack my hospital bag for weeks! Then, by the time I got around to it, they aren’t where I thought I had put them!
16 Don't Forget To Capture Your Baby Daddy Too!
This one may sound a little crazy – “I look awful!” I hear you say, “Save it for when I bounce back!” I know that’s how you feel now, but with everything you’re about to be doing and going through, it’s hard to see the bigger picture. Imagine yourself in your sunset years, your baby a distant memory who was, long ago, replaced by an adult. You will be happy to see those pictures of yourself from now, every detail will bring back cherished memories.
Every craving, every bad hair day, every shadow under your eye is a badge of honor. Wear them proudly! This is will all be over soon, and it'll be time to scrapbook the pregnant days for baby Carlos to see in the future. However, as much as he wants to see how the family looked before he came into this world, he'll need to see his other half- the reason he was created - daddy.
Grab the camera and point to shoot. This is an exciting time, even though sometimes it just feels frustrating and messy. When your partner tells your you’re beautiful and wants to take a picture of you holding your belly, go ahead and let them. You will be glad you did. And, if your husband isn't one for pictures - It doesn't matter! When your husband will tell you to put the camera down, keep snapping! It might be best not to post them on social media if he doesn't want to be plastered on the internet, but explain to him that family videos and pictures will benefit him in the long run. Now, stop talking and say CHEESEEEE!
15 Thank-You Cards
Where are your manners? Sometimes it seems like they left with your waistline. Politeness demands tangible evidence of your gratitude, you feel like your endless verbal sentiments are not enough. So you dig out some old stationery or grab some cards while you’re at the store, in between bathroom trips, of course. You tell yourself while you snack on your third croissant that when you've wiped away the crumbs, you’re going to jump up and write out some cards to your friends and family who were so thoughtful to get your future little one something. And then you fall asleep. Or you get distracted by those chicken cutlets your bae is making. Or, worst of all, when you sit down and forget who bought each item. Instead, you write a generic version for everyone.
"To our favorite people, thank you for showering Baby Jameson with your outpouring love and gracious gifts. It will definitely be one of his favorites!"
Generic and they feel like they have the BEST. GIFT. EVER.
Don’t be too hard on yourself because you forgot your mother's aunt bought the 36th onesie of the evening. It happens, especially when it's not the prettiest or most useful gift in the world. Ever heard of regifting? All your guests care about is that you thought and appreciated them enough to send them a thank you card, even if that card arrives 2 years after your little babe is born. But if writing isn't your thing, just pick up the phone and open that contact book (hopefully you have everyone's phone numbers,) or send them a private message on their social platforms!
14 Make Sure Not To Forget About... Charlie? No, It's Definitely Derek
If you have older children who can do things for themselves, it’s tempting to let them go free range for a bit. Give them their favorite movie on repeat and get some extra sleep, because you're pregnant and it's okay that he watches The Lion King for the 3rd time before lunch. Let them eat cereal for supper two days in a row, you're pregnant remember? I doubt Gordon Ramsay would cook if he was a pregnant woman.
While that may true, they will feel special if you take the time to engage in so much needed Mommy-And-Tommy time, especially if he's been asking you for a few weeks to get up. But not only do they want to play, they also want to help prep for the new baby! Let them help you pick out the baby's take-home outfit, and ask him to fetch those packs of diaper wipes, pacifiers and cute newborn hats that have been watched in the softest laundry soap.
Older children often feel left out during these glorious pregnant moments, because everything is about, What's the baby going to wear? Does the baby have shoes? Does the baby have his room set up? Mom, how do you feel? Tommy, are you super excited about your new baby? The answer is now, Aunt Greta, he's not excited- he's happy, but let's move on and talk about Tommy now. This could be the beginnings of resentment that lasts a lifetime. Kids don’t understand that a baby will arrive and grow up fast and things will be back to normal(ish) soon. Involving them takes a little more thought, you will have to form coherent sentences and not be patient when they don’t quite know what to do.
13 No Pregnant Mama Has Time For Ikea Instructions
You have a nice new crib – if only you could put the box right side up and put it together! Day after day, you find yourself closing the nursery door because just thinking about facing those assembly instructions makes you tired. Your partner is taking on extra hours at work to make up for you staying home, so you don’t want to ask them to do it. Admitting to anyone outside your inner sanctum just how disorganized you truly are is just so embarrassing!
So, there it sits in the corner, for weeks, until finally one day, mom's water breaks and she realizes it's time to put it together.
While that day may be a ways away for you, it's better to just get up and get it done so that it doesn't happen to you. As long as your partner is down with the idea of co-sleeping, or if you have a bassinet in place for the first few weeks, then you're golden. Don't forget that change table that's in the trunk of the car. For now, using the Ottoman in the living room will work, but eventually going upstairs to get a diaper and back downstairs for the Ottoman will get old, and your back will hurt even more than right now.
Brace yourself, mama. It's almost over! Having your hubby help set up the furniture, while you pass the wrong screwdriver and sip on some iced tea, could be a great picture to put in the scrapbook that we just talked about. You're welcome.
12 Time for yourself
Speaking of resting, self-care is an integral part of this whole pregnancy thing that is easy to forget. It’s hard to remember to take time for yourself, with no one else around or making noise (hoping that your husband's gone to work for the day,) for more than five minutes. Although you will probably feel when you treat yourself to an XL large pizza, the second season for 13 Reasons Why even though you promised your bae that you'd watch it together, or maybe even a massage, but remember you're only pregnant once (with this child, anyways.)
Anyways, who cares? You're the only here that's creating a life, you're the only one who has feet that no longer fit in those gorgeous Gucci slingbacks, or fit into that dress you bought a week before you found out you were pregnant. If your hubby wants a massage because he's been working overtime, then book him an appointment and he can also go solo. Motherhood is filled with moments where you will be last on the list of people to care for. First, the baby will always come first, then your partner will need his lunch prepared for the next day, then the cleaning, cooking, laundry, even car wash comes before you. And then, wayyyyyyy down at the bottom of the list, there you are. You may even take one of the luxurious baths, with the Lush bath bombs and scented candles at 2 am, just because there's no other time during the day to do it, and you're up to go to the bathroom anyways.
11 Accept Help From Anyone And Everyone
This one is required to make #9 happen with any regularity. I know, it can be harder than it sounds. Being a good mother is not only a deep, unconscious drive but for many of us, it’s a point of pride. You know your limits better than anyone, and only you really know how to care for yourself properly (and your husband, because he can't do it right), right? Except that’s not true anymore. Anyone with a decent amount of experience can probably do a very good job taking care of you while you're taking your third nap of the day, or just not feeling like being productive, even if they don’t do it quite like you would.
Think of this as practice for later on when she has to ask her mother-in-law to babysit the baby.
You have to learn when to step back and let someone else take over, and it’s better to get over the initial shock now when you're still pregnant than simply handing over your newborn to someone you're not sure will do a decent job.
And for those who think it'll get easier as the baby gets older, well that's wrong. Eventually, grandma won't want to babysit because she'd rather sleep, or "she's just not feeling it today." In my current situation, my youngest is so clingy. He will totally freak out if I walk through the room and not pick him up even though he was perfectly fine with Grandma before he saw me. Guilt trip, anyone?
So milk the situation when someone asks if you want help. Say, "yes please, you missed a spot," and put your preggo feet up.
10 Let Dad-To-Be Take Over (For Once)
Which brings us to #11. You have to let your husband (or partner, or baby daddy even) take the reins sometimes and build his own skills and rapport, in learning about pregnancy and newborns. This can be frustrating or downright scary. But, let him in the kitchen to make a chicken stir (or maybe pasta with butter for the beginners.)
Hand him over the cleaning products and tell him to tackle on the bathroom where the grime is growing its own grime.
Listen, if he wants to be an active father figure, then these are the little things that will go further than if he were to give you a back massage (as if you could roll over on your stomach, anyway.) This is the time to allow him to call his mother and ask her to come over to help him prepare the house for the baby. First, she'll feel like she's needed and then he won't have to do everything on his own. It's a win-win for everyone, including you who's been binge-watching Sex and the City because Miranda is having a crisis that we can all relate to. From time to time, poke your head in and ask if they need help. I guarantee they'll say, "no thank you, dear." Evil, but pure genius.
9 Enjoy The Quiet Alone Time With The Hubby Before It Never Happens Again
Everything is about balance. Don’t give Hubby (or Wifey, or Bestie, or Mom…. You get the idea) too much space! Similar to what we talked about with older children, giving him at least a few minutes of your attention is important. You love each other, but it can be easy to feel out of touch since you are spending your days doing many different things.
There might not be much time or energy for romance, as you deal with hourly bathroom trips and trying to keep those soda crackers down. However, spending time together is extremely important. Soon your afternoons will be filled with grocery shopping that revolves around your child's nap schedule. Nights will be filled with bathtime routines, feedings, and diaper changes. Early mornings will be filled with feedings, laundry, cleaning, and running out to get more formula.
Gone are the days of waking up at 10 am and trying to find the trendiest rooftop terrace for brunch. See ya later, moments of a spontaneous kitchen... cuddle session. You can watch the moments of watching a movie from start to finish fly right by you. You will miss being able to dress up to eat at a formal restaurant, instead of eating in the car of the McDonald's parking lot because the baby might wake up. Of course, if you stay in the car, the baby won't wake u, but had you chanced going inside, this would be a different story.
And, most importantly, he is going "through" pregnancy too (or at least eating like he is.) Remind him that you love him, hold hands when you're strolling aisle 6, and dance in the kitchen even if there's no music.
8 Don't Forget To Call Your Non-Parent Friends
You probably won’t be attending your weekly Friday night girl's night for a while. Though, there are some gal pals that want to see and smell your newborn. Eventually, this will fade because they simply don't get it and you always say "maybe next time," anyways. Your friends should understand, or at least pretend they do. Unfortunately, new motherhood has a way of separating the best from the rest. As corny as it sounds, your priorities really do undergo a radical shift, and some of your friends may not want to or be able to take part of this huge life change. That doesn’t make either of you bad people, you're just in different places of your lives.
Invite them over for lunch or dinner, maybe they have kids of their own and they can begin a second-generation friendship!
Good friends will be happy just to hang with you, to spend some time together. You don’t need to worry about dressing up or making an amazing meal. Maybe have your girls over for a movie night with some sparkling apple juice and lots of tears (because Lassy just came back and now everyone's ugly crying.) Tell them how much you just want adult time, where you don't talk about onesies and daycares. You will be surprised how much you miss just having a conversation with someone other than your husband.
7 Take A Trip Before It Becomes More Expensive To Add A Third Person
This one is ambitious and is just not feasible for everyone. If your relatives live within driving distance, it may be tempting to go for it rather than having them invade you for the holidays. You can show up, show off your growing bump for a few hours and then head home clean break. An overnight stay might be doable, depending on how far along you are. But, if you're the adventurous type, find a cheap last minute deal and fly away, baby.
While airlines won't allow you to get on the airplane past a certain point (all airlines are different,) there are other alternatives, such as trains or buses if you're staying close to the country. Otherwise, if you absolutely want to travel to a white sandy beach, while you're stuck under a mountain of cold snow, then plan ahead for this exciting chapter.
Babymooning is a trend right now that couples are indulging in. A babymoon is when you travel while you're pregnant, or before getting pregnant, and it's the last trip because you have your baby. It's the last solo trip between you and your husband, or you and your girls, or even just you. So, although you may not benefit from the swim-up unlimited bar because it came as part of your hotel package, you can enjoy some quiet time in the sun and swim in a foreign beach.
6 Take That Belly For A Walk
But what if you just have to get out? You’re no homebody and the walls are starting to close in on you! A stroller is obviously an important purchase, and most of them come with car seats these days for the littlest ones. Make sure the little babe has a fresh diaper and a full tummy, put her in one of those brand new outfits and strap her in! Face the outside world, it’s good for both of you.
If you're a natural tree hugger, and hiking is your thing, tackling on this pleasurable leisure activity could also help you pass the time. You won't have to wait until the weekend when the trails are more than likely full. It'll just be a hike between Mother Nature, you and your unborn hiking buddy.
Just enjoy the fresh air, a gym buddy or two may want to come give you some walking company and give her some cherished conversation.
If it’s too cold outside or there are other issues that keep you from walking around your home, a nearby mall is also a good option for you to get out of the house, spend your last few days and get those legs moving!
5 Stop Thinking About Work - Someone Else Has It Under Control
It can be so difficult to let go of the things you had going on in your daily life before you found out you were pregnant and went on leave. Your morning routine of waking up at the crack of dawn to get your work out in for the day (so you don't have to do it at lunch.) then you have to straighten your hair, perfect the contour and apply the magnetic eyelashed, match the lipstick to your infinity scarf or blouse, and then, onto cooking a healthy breakfast. Or something like that, right? Off to work you'd go, swipe your keycard and begin your day filled with board meetings, numbers, and paperwork. And, of course, Jane from accounting (hi, Jane.)
Now that you're on leave, you don't have to worry about what's being said on Monday morning's meeting. Because frankly, you won't even remember to think about as you sip on a fresh pear and kale smoothie that you actually had time to make (maybe with a slice of warm banana bread, oh my yum.)
If you do find yourself thinking about work, let these thoughts go. They will happen less and less as the days pass. And just think, when you go back to work, you will be preoccupied showing the thousands of pictures you spammed onto your Instagram.
4 Go over all details about returning with your workplace.
Getting in touch with your team leader or manager, about coming back to work, should definitely be done at least a month before you intend to go back. You'll want to make sure that they welcome you with open arms whenever you're ready, (and you know you're secretly hoping there's a "welcome back" wine basket, or coffee, you know - whatever.)
Don't forget to ask if your parking spot is still there or has it been moved around? If you're going back part-time until your baby is a little older than you'll want to discuss the days or hours you'd like to go in. Are there projects that you can start doing at home until you go back?
Is there a new client that is waiting for a callback to discuss?
But there are other things super important things to talk about with your management. If you've had a difficult surgery, and are slowly recovering, you may want to request a special chair or pillow. If you're breastfeeding, is there a place where you can pump and is there a place you can store your milk, (obviously it's in a lunch bag. Don't worry, Margie from Human Resources.)
3 Keep Barb From HR In The Loop
Along these same lines, something a lot of women don’t think to do, that can be important, is to keep your workplace updated on how you’re doing. If you had a very difficult birth, you may not be ready to come back to work in three months. Some companies will give you more time if you need it. Some Human Resources managers will find a way to make it work for you if you give them enough notice that things did not go according to plan.
You may end up needing to take a leave of absence, which is different from maternity leave and often lasts up to a year. During that time, the company holds a position for you. You may not get the same position that you had before you left, but they will give you something when you are ready to come back. Maybe you and your partner discussed that you wouldn't go back all together. Either way, you need to keep someone in the loop, it's courteous.
2 Find A Mommy Group To Fill The Void
Easier said than done, I know. Or maybe you already have one because you and your friends have been mom-ing together for years. That makes you one lucky lady. Too many of us have broken contact with our friends, for the simple fact that everyone grows up and has different things going out. Maybe Felicia's not a mom yet, and she doesn't understand why you can't do your weekly Monday-Wednesday-Friday 6 am spin class and Sunday brunch. But, it's not because you don't want to, (we all know we want to get out of the house without a baby latch onto our lady bits,) it's simply because you have no time.
If you are looking for some friends who understand your struggle, most social media platforms have great mommy groups and forums.
The forums are a great place to ask questions from others who know real remedies to curing a newborn's first cold, and not the medical practices that they used 49 years ago.
None of these did me much good because I live in a semi-rural area and there just isn’t enough population density to make for vibrant internet-based groups. For old-fashioned, real-life friend-finding, you gotta go find them! I have had some success with library playrooms, which are only open certain hours and tend to have regular visitors, unlike playgrounds. If you are a member of a faith-based organization, there is probably a nursery that you can frequent. Bottom line, go where the moms go. Put yourself out there and make conversation. I met one of my best friends at a Cub Scout meeting. You just never know until you try.
1 Rest Up, Buttercup
I’m leaving this here because this is the most important of all. You are going to be tired. Some of us have it worse than others, but you are not going to feel normal again for at least a year after your little angel comes home. Sounds long, right? I know you want to be Super Mom, and I’m sure you will, but part of that is accepting your limitations and learning to work with them.
Take naps! Stay on the couch longer than you normally would. Lounge with your pregnancy belly, since it'll be some of the last days you'll have to carry it. Once your baby has arrived, cuddle with your baby and just enjoy the fact that he still has that newborn smell. You are the only one who knows how you feel and respecting how your body is feeling is the foundation of self-care. For me this felt weird, I realized I was not accustomed to doing this and learned something important about myself.