Pregnancy Diary: 38 Weeks

And just like that, we are in the “any day now” stage of pregnancy.  In case my little man decides to make his appearance early, I want to take the time now to thank all of you who have followed along with me on this 9-month journey. I can’t believe it is almost over. This pregnancy went so much faster than my first and although by the end we all get a little restless, I’m not totally ready to not feel this little boy moving around inside of me anymore. I want to say that knowing that I may be giving another woman an outlet or something to relate to has given me a lot of joy. Everyone’s pregnancy is different but I have loved learning from other women and my goal is to continue to learn and to share the information I’ve found useful.  If this does indeed happen to be my last pregnancy diary, I think I’ve decided on a great finishing topic.  Self-care.

fit pregnancy
image by Shelby Gordon

I am a huge advocate of taking care of your SELF even when you have others to care for.  I never used to put myself first and that is the quickest way to enter the very deep, very dark rabbit hole of motherhood.  I thought being a good mother meant putting everyone’s needs before yours at all times. While of course, you can and will put your child before yourself, you need to remember that YOU matter too.  A happy mother will lead to a happy baby. I was given this advice a lot and I would just smile politely (and naively) and think “how could you put yourself before your family?”. I thought women talking about having time to themselves after having a child was selfish. Seriously, you guys, I actually used to believe that B.S.  I thought after I had Lily that my life was kind of over, it was time to live for her.  That only lasted for about 6 months before I was so depressed I was genuinely worried that I made a mistake having a child. That might be shocking to read but it had nothing to do with her and everything to do with me.  Once I started taking my health and my feelings seriously, I realized that I could handle the toughest parts of motherhood much better than before. We do not need to, nor should we, give up on making ourselves happy because we brought someone else into the world. It finally clicked for me when someone told me “would you want Lily to feel this way after she had a child?”. Wow, will that snap you back into reality.  I needed to put the pieces together in my own time to realize that in order to be good parents we need to first be happy people who have self-respect and self-love. What better example to set for your child than to love him/herself.

Self-care is incredibly important in the postpartum period but it’s also important during pregnancy. You’ll hear a lot of people give you the “treat yo-self” advice during pregnancy but, if I may, I’d like to change your idea of pregnancy self-care.  While lounging around binge-watching your favorite shows and eating a pint of ice-cream can be super enjoyable every once and a while, it isn’t doing anything for your long-term care.  I think a lot of women think that because they’re pregnant and are already gaining weight that they might as well just let loose.  While I am ALL about indulging, it is only beneficial to do when it’s really needed.  If your body is telling you to rest, by all means, rest but when you’re feeling good which should be most of the time in a healthy, low-risk pregnancy, you should take steps to help you and your baby. I was totally guilty of letting loose a little too much in my first pregnancy and I paid for it by the last two months.  This time around I worked a lot harder on keeping myself and my baby healthy. I know this can come off judgmental and it is NOT supposed to. I think all mamas have their own journey and need to do what is best for them. I just want to share what I changed from one pregnancy to another that made me MUCH happier and much healthier. I can’t explain to you how much better I feel this time around, honestly.

Here are some of the ways I cared for myself during my second pregnancy that helped me immensely:

-Consistent, higher intensity exercise (5 days a week- mixed strength training & spinning)- This is what I was doing BEFORE getting pregnant. Always listen to your body & your healthcare provider. I stopped running when I got pregnant because it no longer felt good.

-Eating well (lots of vegetables, 6-8 cups of greens per day, almost every day)

-Eating lots of healthy fats & wild salmon roe for both my and my baby’s brain health

-Taking part in activities that make me happy (writing, going out on dates, hanging out with other women, shopping)

-Prenatal Massage

-Consistent Chiropractic care

-Visiting my pelvic floor physical therapist & performing the pelvic floor exercises she recommended

-Consistently doing my core strength & stability exercises.

-Dry needling (a muscle release technique)

-Stretching

-Switching to all-natural, non-toxic beauty products

-Getting all of my supplements in

-Taking naps when needed

-Getting a full night’s sleep

-Asking for help when I felt overwhelmed

-Honoring my feelings and talking about them with a psychologist

These may not sound as fun as eating Ben & Jerrys while watching the bachelor but these are true methods of self-care, meaning you are actually doing something GOOD for you that will benefit you long-term. Take the time to enjoy your pregnancy but don’t fall so far into the “treat yo-self” mentality that you or your baby’s health suffers.  Keeping up with your physical and mental health will do wonders for you long term, I promise!  Working out and eating well was truly the best thing I could have done this time around and it’s allowed me to be so much more comfortable for so much longer.  Now that I’m at the very end the exhaustion has definitely set in and I’m feeling prettttttty large but I’m so much better off than I was at this point last time.  I hope you find a self-care routine that works for you and just remember YOU will always matter!

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