It is so tempting to grab at all those BabyCenter Q&A's, What To Expect books, and advice from naysayers, but
Really, what is it all accomplishing?
A sense of doubt? Conspiracy? Fear? Uncertainty?
Let me give you a list of things.
Not a list of HOW-TO's
but rather a list of encouragement, of things to focus on.
At a later date, be prepared to switch up your list, as the test of time allows and calls for. But for now, let's keep it simple and fun.
1.) Focus on dear 'ol Y. O. U.
Address any cobwebs or unfinished business you may have in your life. You may be battling some unforeseen changes in your body and that's ok! Your old life may be flashing before your eyes. Trust that your life is not over but rather just beginning! Seek out a trusted counselor, mentor, life coach (me?), or a friend to walk through any struggles that could hinder you from becoming your best self through this process.
This is NOT a good time to: Work on BIG issues. Be gentle on yourself. Your body is changing all over the place. If you have had previous birth experience, it may be a good time to journal through your experience, good or bad, rehash your thoughts around birth and your new expectations this time around. Discover what this might look like for you through Birth Life Coaching.
This one is fun, yet takes some getting used to if you haven't tried it before. It's like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Make it simple!
Close your eyes and think about what you life will be like as you're pregnant. Are you joyful? What does your partner think? How are they supportive of you? Do your friends rally around you or is it time to reshape your tribe to fit your current and future needs? Is your family close to you? What do they do to make this journey more pleasant?
Do this for every stage of your journey: pregnancy, birth, newborn, and beyond. There are no rules here.
NOT a good time to: Visualize what could go wrong AKA Irrationalize fears. Whenever we go through change, it is completely normal to wrestle through the "what if's". What if I eat deli meat and my baby becomes autistic? What if I get a back injury during an epidural? What if I go crazy before this is over? Try as best you can to keep those thoughts at bay. The more you focus on them, the more they can invade the personal happy space you're trying to create for your baby, who feels what you feel.
3.) Focus on HEALTH
This goes without saying that your physical being needs support, mostly by you. Think about, or better yet, visualize what that support group looks like, how it feels, and make a list of things you desire in terms of support to get to your health goals.
NOT a good time to: Exercise more. Continue on the workouts your body is used to, whether it be walking or power lifting. As your belly grows, you'll know when to scale it down.
4.) Tap in to your INTUITION
You may or may not have tapped into your wonderful beautiful friend call Intuition yet but trust me, this is one tool that will help you throughout your life from now on. More on this later...
NOT a good time to: Let your inner critic run wild. Do your best to stay positive! Let your intuition guide you to what you need to do today in order to get out of any funk you find yourself in.
5.) Remove what doesn't SPARK JOY
On the heels of Marie Kondo, LET GO OF THINGS THAT DON'T SPARK JOY! While you are still very mobile, although I can't say the same about energy, think about clearing out some space. You are working hard on a lot of new things and your living space can be one of those things. Remember to be gentle. This is not an overhaul on your life.
NOT a good time to: Begin a registry just yet. You're cleaning out your space. You've created something new and it also needs time to brew and make manifest. Don't rush your own process but making unnecessary steps towards your #pregnancygoals.
6.) Your emotional health
People don't lie about your emotions being a roller coaster during pregnancy. But how you handle it makes all the difference. Rather than spew out why it's not ok for your husband to fold laundry like that (*cue the Tidying Up with Marie Kondo music*), IT IS OK to feel those emotions first. As my friend, Maria Felipe says "You gotta feel it to heal it!" Recognize that ALL the emotions coming up. Because you are transitioning into a new dimension of your life, it is important. This is a new realm of existence that calls for a lot of change. Your emotions will carry you through those no matter how ugly it looks. Let those wide range of Inside Out emotions fly! Journal your experiences and allow your intuition to tell you what those emotions have for you in that moment. Free write what that gentle spirit wants you to hear today.
NOT a good time to: Judge yourself for being a basket case. Give yourself some grace, have a good cry, and pick up where you left off after you've filled the dustbin with millions of snot pillows. If you need some more encouragement and direction, feel free to connect with me to find some solutions!
7.) Connect with family and friends
I'll bet that your group of friends and family are amazing and so supportive of you having this baby! I wasn't so lucky however. If you are feeling less than stellar about your circle of people in your life, now would be a good time to start fresh. Go to the library, find a mom group, be-friend people at church, seek out a mentor, take a breastfeeding class... Work on these early as they will allow you to establish good relationships in a reasonable amount of time so that when baby arrives, you will feel confident in the tribe you've personally established for yourself and your growing family.
NOT a good time to: Throw out the friends that don't apply to your current life situation. If they phase out, what a good learning lesson to explore! We've all been there, my friend.
8.) Start reading a really good pregnancy book
This book may look like a week-by-week book that tells about your baby's growth or simply a book that addresses what goes on inside your body. Ask for recommendations from your tribe or jump over to my recommended books list HERE.
NOT a good time to: Make a birth plan. There will be plenty of time for that. TRUST, MY DEAREST!
9.) Plan a BABYMOON
What joy fills my heart when I see couples going to the beach, Disneyland, or the mountains with that adorable 2nd trimester baby bump! Planning for a baby can take a lot but don't discount your relationship with your partner. They are going through a lot right now too. Acknowledge how far your relationship has come thus far by celebrating the life you currently have with each other. It doesn't have to be glamorous but make it YOURS.
NOT a good time to: Move or remodel your home. Changing your space can be a huge overhaul for your already busy body. Plan to get away for a time, like for the babymoon so that when you come home, it is cozy for you to nest in.
10.) List and practice SELF-CARE
The latest buzz phrases going around are self-care and self-love. And for good reason!
"Find what feels good", says my favorite YouTube yoga guru Adriene Mishler. And practice at least 3 acts of self-love every day.
Some ideas are:
There you have it! Cheers to a wonderful 1st trimester journey.
What are you planning to focus on during your first 3 months?
Hop over to our Instagram to stay connected with us, get more tips, and join other fellow pregnant mamas!
First off, CONGRATULATIONS!~!~!
Not only for harboring a new life force inside of you but also for taking the time to understand more about yourself as you journey through this new stage from maiden to mother.
Oftentimes when we become pregnant, our mind rattles with so many things to learn and understand about pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
I'm here to tell you that there is no right way to approach this experience. However, there are many people that strongly suggest easing into the process, just as you would when meeting your baby for the first time.
Be gentle with yourself.
There is no time crunch.
No one is telling you what to do but YOU, my dear friend.
To hear about some ideas for 1st Trimester things to focus on, head on over to my next blog post: 1st Trimester is a GOOD TIME to focus on...
While woman-to-woman maternity support has been around ever since women have been having babies (well, technically, Eve was on her own), doulas are relatively new. In fact, the first US professional organization for doulas (DONA, or Doulas of North America; now called DONA International) only started in 1992. This leaves many women wondering, "If I have a labor support partner and a nurse during labor, do I really need doula?" The answer: Maybe.
The point of having a doula is to provide encouragement and support to new moms throughout pregnancy and birth; postpartum doulas even help with breastfeeding, housework, and cooking. Her role is to promote healing and bonding with the new baby — basically, whatever you need! Sounds nice, right?
Research seems to think so, too. Studies indicate that when doulas are involved in the labor process, women have fewer C-sections and report greater satisfaction with their birth experiences.
Doulas understand labor and birth from both the physiologic and emotional angles, and they know how hospitals work. They're gifted at helping women overcome really challenging contractions and labor transitions. They understand medical language and routine procedures, but they also know how to help mothers work around interventions that don't fall into their birth plans. And when those plans need to change quickly, the really great doulas know how to shift gears and continue providing top-notch support.
Sadly, there are also some challenging doulas. A few have strict personal agendas and confrontational approaches. They start arguments with medical staff over minor issues like taking mom's blood pressure. There are even doulas who have told their clients that under no circumstances would they allow them to have an epidural or C-section.
Plus, reimbursement from insurance providers is unusual. What happens to women who can't afford doulas? They receive support from their labor nurses, midwife or doctor, their partners and the people they've chosen to provide labor support. For many women, that's all they need and they report feeling well cared for.
Side note: There are doulas that are getting started in their career and can offer free services in order to get certified or more experience.
Still, more often than not, doulas are a real asset to the birth experience. Here's how to find the perfect one for you:
1.) Check their credentials.
While DONA International offers certification programs, certifications aren't required to work as a doula. But a certification shows that your doula has passed a test that demonstrates her knowledge and competency. Before deciding on a doula, ask her where she studied, and if she received a certification.
2.) Ask for references.
See whom she has worked with in the past, and actually call them.
3.) Search wisely
Visit doulamatch.net to instantly find doulas, along with their availability, education, certifications, and testimonials. Also check out: BirthTube's Doula Directory and the DONA Doula Directory.
4.) Interview potential doulas — in person!
You're going to be spending a whole lot of time with this person, so you need to make sure your goals are the same, and that your personalities are compatible. If you don't fall in love with the doula you interview, find one that fits your desires and needs.
Have some fun and take the Birth Quiz to get a FREE Labor Cheat Sheet!