To my lovely, lovely pregnant friend,
Congratulations on your pregnancy! I cannot put in to words how happy I am for you. You have waited patiently for this moment, and how exciting it is for you. I’m so happy for you both, and know you will be fantastic parents. Your little one isn’t even here yet, and already they are loved by so many people.
Now you are pregnant, you will find that the world and his wife will want to give you lots of advice. This can be great – as a first time parent, you don’t know what to expect and everything is completely new to you. However, you’ll find that everyone has a different parenting style (I’m a total hippy!) and therefore different advice, so everything needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. I’m not saying don’t listen to anything – just know when to nod your head and agree and when to nod your head and ignore!
I want to give you sooooo much advice, but I also don’t want to come across as telling you what to do, as you know I would never do that. This is a simple note to let you know I am here for you for whatever questions you may have. Even if you think they are so silly, I have probably asked the same questions myself! You will always have your mum to ask questions to, and let’s face it, she’s got a lot of experience, but sometimes there’s things you don’t even want to ask your mum, so that’s where your friends come in!
Having said that, here are some things that as a first time mum you might have some questions about:
How long will I feel sick for?
This is a tough one to answer, as it’s different for everyone. I didn’t get any sickness until 11 weeks, and it had gone by 20 weeks. My sister got sickness from about 11 days, and still had it about 2 weeks after giving birth!! So everyone reacts differently, but usually it starts to subside by 12 weeks.
When will I start to show?
Again, everyone is different. Some people pop out really early, whereas some are tiny for ages and then all of a sudden grow a bump overnight! I started to show around 16 weeks and really popped out at about 24 weeks. I’d highly recommend taking some regular bump shots. I did it every 4 months, and I love looking back on them (check them out in my blog post here!)
When will the baby start kicking?
This is such a funny one, because he/she might be moving around for ages before you actually feel them. I started getting funny flutters around 16 weeks, but honestly I thought I just had really bad wind! Turns out, it was probably the baby moving. You will then probably feel them roll more than kick to begin with. I got my first proper kick at about 25 weeks. This was quite late though, as I had an anterior placenta which meant I couldn’t feel as much. It’s so amazing the first time you feel it though.
How often will I see my midwife?
You will usually see your midwife every 4 weeks if you have a straightforward pregnancy. You will also have two scans as standard, but can pay for extra ones if you wish.
Should I buy maternity clothes?
This is a completely personal thing. A lot of people think they are a waste of money, or just buy a size up from their normal size. I was lucky that I got given a lot so didn’t need to buy too many. But I would personally say that if you are planning on having more than one baby, it is an investment getting maternity clothes as you can use them again. It is definitely worth investing in at least a few key pieces – a pair of jeans, a nice dress, some leggings and long vest tops. A comfy pair of shoes is a must (I only had one pair that fit me in the end!) If you’re stuck for ideas, check out my blog post here.
Can I still exercise?
Of course! Especially if you are used to doing exercise, just don’t over exert yourself. Gentle exercise will help prepare you for labour, but it might be worth considering if your current regime is too hard going. Your trainer will be able to advise you on the best thing to do.
What essentials should I buy for the baby?
There is soooooo much you can buy for the baby that will seem like essentials, which really aren’t. It’s hard because as a first time mum, you are excited and just want to buy everything! There’s lots of stuff you can get (for example, these were my top essentials once the baby was born, and this is what I considered buying before the baby was here) but it’s definitely worth asking friends and family for their recommendations about what they used and didn’t use. Also, if people ask what to get you, give them some ideas! Otherwise you’ll end up with loads of outfits that only get worn once.
How can I prepare for labour?
You can’t. No amount of reading or speaking to people is going to prepare you. Until you are in that moment, no-one can tell you what it is going to feel like, because everyone labours differently. Everyone feels pain differently. Everyone copes differently. All you can do is know your options. Know what pain relief you can have, what the effects are and decide if you might like them. Have a birth plan, but know that it might not all go to plan (as I explain here.) Read people’s stories and experiences if you want to. I read everything I could, but still felt wholly unprepared for my labour.
But don’t expect your labour to go wrong. Thousands of people have labours that go exactly to plan. Have a positive mental attitude going in and that will give you a focus throughout your labour
Is it going to hurt?
Is that a real question? Yes. It probably is going to hurt. A lot. But you knew that right? I have to admit, after speaking to a lot of other mums, I don’t think my labour was *that* painful. I didn’t seem to experience proper contractions – I just had one constant pain from the get-go, rather than waves of pain every few minutes. All my pains were in my back as Alfie was lying back-to-back, and I’ve been told those labours are more painful. But I have nothing to compare it to, so I don’t know.
I can honestly say the pain I was in after my laser eye surgery, and the first time I got a blocked milk duct, was more painful than my labour. Maybe I was lucky. Perhaps I just have a high pain threshold. Maybe I’ve just blocked out the whole episode. But just remember. The pain is temporary. You WILL get through it. And if it all goes wrong and you want all the drugs – take them. Do what YOU need to do to get through the labour.
What does it feel like when the baby arrives?
Amazing. Wonderful. Crazy. Indescribable. Surreal. Exhausting. Overwhelming. Every emotion you have ever felt will run through your body, but you will be so happy.
There are also lots of useful things you will be told or questions you will be asked during your pregnancy and through the first few months of baby being here. Some will REALLY start to annoy you. Here’s a heads up so you can prepare some smart answers in advance!
- Who does the baby look like? (A baby? An alien? The postman?)
- How are you feeding the baby? (Standing on my head whilst he takes it through a straw?)
- Is the baby sleeping through? (No. He’s 2 hours old. Babies are not meant to sleep through, as shown in my post here)
- How much weight have you lost? (Not enough, so don’t ask that question again or I’ll sit on you)
- Are you sleeping when the baby sleeps? (Yes. I sleep even if the baby isn’t asleep. I need the beauty sleep, so he just amuses himself while I nap)
There are also likely to be some “hot topics” that people ask you about that honestly, as a first time mum you probably don’t even know are important/worth a conversation, but trust me, EVERYONE will have an opinion on them. I’m not going to tell you what to do, but what I will say is do your research. Read up on why people have such opinions on these topics, and arm yourselves with facts so you can prepare yourself for the inevitable conversations. Ask your friends and family what they did and why, and then make up your own mind. It is totally up to you what you do with your baby. As a family, you and your husband just need to discuss it all and as long as you are on the same page, then no-one else matters. Such topics will include:
- Breast v formula feeding
- Extended rear-facing car seats (the law is changing on this, so it’s quite important)
- Sleep training
For me personally, I had a lot of questions about cloth nappies and babywearing, but it depends if this is something that appeals to you as to whether you would be interested in looking them up (on a personal note, I would LOVE for you to babywear, I’m totally going to try and convert you!!)
Having a baby is such a big deal, and I believe that nothing can prepare you for it. You can read all the books, ask all the questions and buy all the stuff, but until you have that baby in your arms, you will be clueless as to how this tiny little bundle of joy will change your lives. It is the BEST feeling over! It’s hard, it emotional, it’s tiring, but I wouldn’t change anything for the world as you get the most amazing little person out of it. Someone that is your responsibility alone. Someone you have to show the rights and wrongs of the world and shape into an awesome human being.
But do you know what? You’ll be great at it. I have no doubt you will know exactly what to do, and your baby is going to be a wonderful, wonderful gift.
But, in the meantime, if you ever want to practice changing nappies, feeding a baby or experience what it feels like to have 5 hours broken sleep (if you’re lucky!), feel free to babysit Alfie anytime.
Congratulations again, my beautiful friend. I can’t wait to watch you get so fat you can’t bend over to paint your toenails 🙂
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