The first two times I was pregnant, I felt like the last three to six weeks of my pregnancy, and the first six weeks or so after my baby was born were basically sacred. I was not going to make any plans or agree to go anywhere during this time. Yes, I planned to not plan for a full three months surrounding my baby’s birth! I was way too nervous to travel or do much by the time I was 34 weeks pregnant — in fact, I flatly refused (after one minor but scary bleeding incident while on the road…).
This time, I’m not planning to do the same — at all. In fact, I’m taking practically the opposite stance. I won’t be traveling or planning anything “major,” but I won’t be stopping my life entirely, either.
Do you need to stop your life around your baby’s arrival, or is it okay to plan activities at that time?
Let’s be clear: I’m not suggesting that you continue training for a marathon straight through your pregnancy and early postpartum time, nor am I suggesting you continue to travel abroad. I’m not talking about doing anything major or crazy!
But realistically…are you going to just sit on the couch and watch TV for the last several weeks of your pregnancy and first weeks after your baby’s born? I did, the first time. Literally, I barely got dressed in the last month of my pregnancy or first six weeks after my daughter was born!
The types of activities I’m talking about are playdates close to your house, having friends come over, continuing to make progress on scrapbooks or other projects you can do while sitting. Why not keep up with these? If you’re too tired sometimes, that’s fine, but why deliberately give them up?
I’m planning to keep working in my garden, seeing friends (close to home), cooking and preserving, and doing the “usual” stuff of life right up until my baby comes this time. After the baby comes, I’ll rest around the house as much as possible, but I won’t hesitate to do anything I can do while sitting down — supervising the older kids, cutting up food to cook or preserve, folding laundry, and so on. It would be lovely if I had six weeks, or even two weeks, to just lie in bed and snuggle my new baby…but not realistic, given my family’s needs! Those don’t go away just because a new baby is arriving.
That said, I will make sure to sleep in every morning…at least until the baby wakes me. I will try to take naps with my baby. I will wear my baby whenever I am busy. I will ask others to help more than usual so that although I’m “participating,” I’m not the “leader” for a time.
So what it comes down to is that it’s probably best to move at a slower pace than usual, but life doesn’t need to stop. For many, life can’t stop. I really thought it could, when my son came. For the first few days, I was unhappy that my daughter constantly wanted to sit with me or have me put her to bed. Wasn’t Daddy acceptable sometimes? But I quickly came to see that she needed me, and her brother’s arrival didn’t change that. I learned to hand my son to Daddy for some snuggle time while I spent moments alone with her before nap or bed or just sitting together for awhile. This time I won’t even expect anything to change — now Daddy and I do bedtime together, and I expect we still will! And I’ll set my new baby down for the 15 minutes it takes to put the older kids to bed and spend those moments alone with them — and enjoy it.
What do you think? Do you “stop” your life around your baby’s birth, or do you keep moving — just a bit slower than usual?
Top image by darkmarty