Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Pregnant Women

I can’t believe how fast my little one is growing! Around this time last year, I found out I was pregnant with her. So, that made me reflect on my pregnancy.

Don’t get me wrong, pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life. But there are also things that aren’t so glorious about it.

The people that surround a pregnant woman during those nine months can really impact her experience.

Here are a few things you probably should or shouldn’t say or do to a pregnant woman (in no particular order):

10. Don’t – ask how she’s feeling.

I know you’re trying to be polite. You might even genuinely care. But trust me, you don’t wanna hear the truth.

It would go a little something like this:

I feel awful!

I don’t recognize my body anymore.

So many odors make me wanna vomit.

I’m actually nauseous right now and currently trying not to throw up on you.

I’m exhausted. My body is constantly doing the same amount of work as a marathon runner. I just want to stay in bed until it’s time to push this baby out.

I can’t see my feet.

There are strange smells coming from places I shouldn’t mention…

Shall I go on?

Do – ask if there’s anything you can do to make her more comfortable. And if there is, do it to the best of your ability!

9. Don’t – randomly come up to her and rub her belly.

I personally didn’t mind this.

However, some women HATE it.

Do – ask first or don’t do it at all.

8. Don’t – spontaneously tell her horror stories about your own or someone else’s pregnancy/labor experience.

She’s currently pregnant and soon about to birth a baby. She does NOT want to hear about how you were in so much pain that you wanted to die.

Unless she asked you…

Then, by all means, tell her every nitty gritty detail, because she really does want to know.

Do – encourage her! Let her know that she’s doing a great job with her pregnancy and that she can get through the labor and birth of her beautiful baby.

7. Don’t – tell her “It’s okay, it’ll be over soon and you’ll have a precious baby at the end, so it’ll all be worth it.”

Just don’t. “Soon” isn’t right now so it’s not helpful. Depending on her stage of pregnancy, she’s most likely super ready for it to all be over and is on the verge of tears at any given moment.

Do – tell her you’ll be there for moral support, emotional support, and physical support every step of the way.

6. Don’t – ask when she’s gonna have another one.

She might want another, she might not.

She probably doesn’t even know yet.

She definitely doesn’t wanna talk about it while currently pregnant. You’ll find out if/when she’s ready for you to know.

Do – mind your business. 🙂

5. Don’t – Treat her like she can’t do anything.

She’s pregnant, not an invalid.

Do – give her freedom to do things by herself that she would normally do before she became pregnant (within reason, if safe).

4. Don’t – Get annoyed when she asks for help with something, no matter how small. She can’t do everything she used to do, and many simple tasks are downright exhausting now.

(Yes, this contradicts the previous point. We’re complicated beings because of the being(s) we’re creating. Deal with it.)

Do – help her out without complaint.

3. Don’t – Ask how many babies she’s having and if she’s sure.

I’ve seen multiple friends of mine post statuses saying that a random person asked them how many babies they’re having, and when answered the person further asked “Are you sure?!”

Whether joking or not, I’m sure I don’t have to explain what’s wrong with that.

Some women carry better than others. One woman at 15 weeks might look how another does at 30 weeks, it doesn’t mean she’s having multiple babies. Don’t be rude.

Do – not ever say something like that to a pregnant woman.

2. Don’t – Say she doesn’t look that bad for a pregnant woman.

*heavy sigh*

Do – compliment how good we look pregnant; because we’re all a smidge extra self conscious.

1. Don’t – Constantly ask if she’s in labor yet. Please. Please. PLEASE. Just don’t. She’ll probably calmly respond but inside she’ll be screaming unpleasant things at you. It’s beyond annoying. No woman who is close to her delivery date wants to constantly be harassed about her labor progression. She could be 3cm dilated for days or weeks. Don’t keep asking “Is the baby here yet?” “Is it time?!” Or anything of that nature.

Do – wait patiently for the announcement of the baby’s birth. I promise you, if Mom can wait, so can you.

Overall, just be kind to pregnant women. They need and deserve it. 🙂

Love,

Meg

P.S. This isn’t meant to be a personal attack on anyone who might have inadvertently done any number of these things to me or to any other pregnant woman. It’s just helpful information for those who might not understand how much of a rollercoaster pregnancy is and offers a few ways to support the pregnant momma through it all.

Breastmilk vs. Formula. What should I feed my baby?

Warning: there will be lots of talk about breasts in this post, so if you’re reading this and you’re uncomfortable with the words boob, breast, nipple, areola…you get the point, then I suggest you skip this one. 🙂

Okay,

So…

You’ve completed pregnancy.

You’ve conquered labor and delivery.

And now it’s time to feed your baby…

Do you feed breastmilk? Formula?

Only you can answer that question.

I’ve personally chosen to exclusively feed my baby breastmilk for her first year of life, and possibly a bit beyond that.

The choice to me was simple because of all the benefits of breastmilk.

To name a few:

-it is literal medicine for your baby- containing antibodies and other components to help your baby fight infection, causing fewer doctor/hospital visits

-it’s free

-only you can make the perfect breastmilk tailored for your baby

-it’s FREE

-you have it ready in a split second anywhere you go, at any time

-you don’t need any bottles

-did I mention it’s free?

Yes, my choice might have been easy, but breastfeeding itself wasn’t such an easy ride for me in the beginning.

My daughter had a short latch starting out. She literally chomped on my nipples during her entire feed. And honestly, even as a nurse I didn’t know that something was seriously wrong until a doula told me so. I knew that it could feel uncomfortable each time until the let down happened, so I just figured that this was that pain.

For those unfamiliar, “let down” is the process of your milk ducts releasing your breastmilk for your baby. (It goes deeper but I’ll leave it there for the sake of this post.)

Anyway, I was in excruciating pain every time I nursed; to the point where I dreaded having to breastfeed her each time because I knew I’d want to cry. Every time I saw her open her mouth, I would wince in anticipation of the pain.

I didn’t wanna seem like a wimp, so I held my tongue and said nothing to the hospital staff. And they figured since I was a NICU nurse, I was fine, I knew what I was doing.

I tried to hold my baby in different positions, but that didn’t help.

A few days after I’d been home from the hospital, a doula witnessed my painful experience and told me to try a nipple shield -a flexible silicone shield that covers the nipple and makes latching easier- and that helped some; but at that point my baby was nursing every 1-2 hours and there was so much nerve damage done to my nipples that I didn’t even want them to be touched.

So after about a week, I stopped putting her to my breasts. Instead, I pumped and fed her my milk from a bottle.

I felt defeated because I had always wanted to breastfeed. But, at the same time, I had to remind myself that I was lucky to still be able to feed my daughter my own milk, because not every mom is able to produce any milk for her baby at all.

When you pump, you should do it as frequently as your baby is eating, or even more frequently if you have a low supply, in order to produce more milk. I was fortunate to have a great supply, but I still had to pump every 3 hours to keep up with her needs. This meant pumping every 3 hours around the clock.

Yes, even at night.

So for the first 3+ months of her life, I was getting no more than 3 hours of sleep at a time.

I LOVE sleep.

Sleep is my best friend.

We go way back.

I used to sleep 12 hours easily after working a nightshift, so this sleep deprivation was a HUGE shock to my body. I was exhausted ALL THE TIME.

(I’m still exhausted, but it has gotten a little better.)

After about 3.5 months of bottle feeding, I decided to give breastfeeding another try.

To my surprise, my daughter did much better! I didn’t even need a nipple shield anymore.

I now breastfeed around the clock when I’m at home, and she gets bottles of my breastmilk when I’m at work or when she’s at a babysitter. The kicker is, sometimes I still have to pump in addition to her nursing because she doesn’t empty my breasts all the way yet. (She will as she gets older and drinks more milk at a time.)

Luckily for me, she’s starting to sleep through the night now. So, I follow her lead and sleep when she sleeps, allowing me to get a good 6 or so hours at a time. Yay!

I say all that to say, breastfeeding/breastmilk feeding is a lot of work.

A LOT!

Which is why some women choose to just formula feed their baby instead.

While breastmilk has a ton of amazing benefits for a baby, formula feeding is an option and it is perfectly okay!

A mom has been through a great deal of physical and emotional stress from pregnancy to delivery, so if she wants to take it easy and use formula, she has every right to.

Should you choose formula over breastmilk, don’t let anyone force you to do otherwise! However, I do suggest that you listen to all of the pros and cons from a healthcare professional before making an informed decision. Don’t just go off of what your momma, neighbor, sister, auntie, etc told you.

Whatever you decide to do, you made the right choice for you. It is your body, your baby, your choice.

Always remember: “a fed baby is a happy baby!”

Love,

Meg

Weight, what?

Motherhood brings out this whole new side of a woman.

Start with pregnancy…

It’s this (typically) 9 month-long journey filled with many ups and downs.

I’ll be real, my experience was not how I always imagined it to be.

Some women have flawless pregnancies and just love every moment of it. (Ladies, tell me your secrets!)

TV portrays pregnancy to be this wonderful, magical experience once the morning sickness phase is over.

That may very well be the case for some women.

For me? Not so much.

I was extremely nauseous for the first 4 months of my pregnancy with Lena.
I only actually vomited a handful of times, but I was nauseous A LOT. Trust me, being perpetually nauseous is worse than the act of vomiting itself.

Because of said nausea, pretty much all I could stomach during that time was toast/bagels/any type of bread I could get my hands on, dry cereal, pizza, applesauce… annnnd I think that’s about it.

I started to worry a bit after my first trimester ended because I had lost 3lbs instead of gaining any weight. My OB said this was normal, so I didn’t panic.
I did think it was strange though. I’d been carb-loading like I was training for a triathlon, yet I lost weight?

Somewhere around week 20-ish I steadily started gaining weight; about a pound a week.

Cool.

But then it rapidly increased…

After pound 25, I wanted to put myself on a diet.
I was only at about week 26, and I knew I had a ways to go before little miss Lena left my body to join this world. If I kept gaining weight at this rate, I’d be as big as a house by the end!
But, I knew that my baby needed nutrients and that this was all a part of pregnancy.
Again, my OB told me that everything was fine, to keep doing what I was doing and she would worry about the weight if it got out of hand.
She told me she had gained 58lbs during her first pregnancy and ended up weighing as much as her husband in the end, and she was still perfectly healthy.

That made me feel a bit better.

Around week 34, I had gained almost 10 lbs of fluid that week alone from being overworked!
I’m a nurse, so my job requires a lot of standing and constant movement. I had worked 4 out of 5 twelve hour nightshifts in a row, and it proved to be too much for my body to handle. I felt mostly fine, just a little short of breath here and there, which was expected at that point of pregnancy.
However, during my OB visit that week, my blood pressure was high and I had significant swelling in my face, hands, legs, and feet.

Needless to say, my OB was now worried.
Like, high-key red alert worried.
She wrote me off of work for a week until she re-evaluated me.

Many people would panic at this point.

I was concerned about my health, sure.
However, I was more concerned that she might keep me out of work until my delivery date, because that would only give me about a month at home with my newborn before having to return to work.
How could I have a newborn, learn how to breastfeed, go through the rollercoaster of postpartum emotions, deal with sleep deprivation, and return to work only a few short weeks later?
That would be devastating!

Luckily, at the next visit I had lost 7lbs of fluid and looked much better, so my OB was okay with me returning to work.
YAY!

I ended up stopping work 2 weeks later because my blood pressure increased again.
I was also feeling more short of breath, and the swelling had returned.

Bright side: at least I went back to work for 2 more weeks instead of staying home wasting my leave time.

By the end of my pregnancy with Lena, I had gained a whopping 54 pounds!

So yeah, that was not my favorite part of pregnancy.

I am now a little over 3 months postpartum and I have lost 36 of those extra 54 pounds. I’m feeling more and more like myself every week. I’m learning to be patient with my body and to appreciate the journey that it’s going through.

I realize that I went through a tremendous physical change; and while some women snap back within a few short weeks of delivering their babies, it takes other women a little longer, and that’s okay.

Ladies, my tip to you: ignore the pressure of society to need to immediately “snap back” into your pre-pregnancy body (or better).
Sure, you can strive to be back to your old self, but shouldn’t be the highest priority on your list (unless your career requires you to look a certain way).
You have a new life to take care of, while simultaneously continuing to do the hundreds of other daily activities that you do.
It’s okay to take it slow.
It’s okay to rest.
It’s okay to be exactly how you are.
No matter what state your postpartum body is in, it is perfectly imperfect, because you’re human.
Love yourself. Love your journey. And most importantly, love that/those little baby/babies that you have just recently given birth to.

Love,
Meg

My First Mother’s Day

How fitting that I launch my Mom blog on Mother’s Day?

This holiday has made me reflect on the journey of becoming a Mother, and the past 3 months with my daughter.

Motherhood started the moment that I found out I was pregnant, and it will never end. It’s a beautiful lifelong journey, bound to have many ups and downs, twists and turns, because life isn’t perfect 100% of the time.

Pregnancy brought on a 10-month-long series of physical and emotional changes. Because, c’mon, 40 weeks is equivalent to 10 months, not 9. I don’t care what anyone says, you feel those changes in the first 4 weeks. THEY MATTER!
(More to come on that.)

Labor and delivery was the most empowering experience I’ve ever had in my life! If I could bypass pregnancy and go straight to birthing, I’d probably have a tribe lol.
(More to come on that, also.)

The newborn phase is without a doubt the most exhausting phase thus far. It takes a toll on your body, mind, and general state of being. I feel like a highly-functioning zombie most of the time. I do strange things like put the almond milk away in the pantry. (Luckily, I usually recognize mistakes like that before they get too out of hand.)

I know each stage of life from here on will have its own challenges, and I may complain throughout them. But, I wouldn’t trade my beautiful baby for the world. She is perfect and I’m blessed to have her for the rest of my life.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mommas out there, rookies and veterans alike!

You are strong. You are honored. You are loved.

The Journey Begins

During pregnancy, I had the recurring thought to start a blog.

I just kept writing in my journal, knowing that no one else would see it and that I  probably would never read it again.

So, I figured why not make a blog instead? My experiences could help others.

Well, months later, here it is!

Read. Enjoy. Share. Ask questions…

Peace and Love,

Meg