You are pregnant over the holidays.
You feel like you are as big as a house, or you are barely showing.
No matter what trimester you are in – you feel it! The holidays are full of pressures…if you are working in or out of the home, you may have goals to meet and/or year-end reports to finish. If you are entertaining, there is shopping to be done and food to be prepared. If you are gifting, there are presents to buy and wrap. This is a lot of "extra" on top of an already full plate.
To that pile, add the fact that you are building another human being, in addition to everything else you are trying to accomplish this season. Here are some ideas I want to share with you to help you keep your sanity.
1. Work the “Pregnancy Pass” for all that it is worth.
Pregnancy is a very sacred time in a woman’s life. Very few of us take the time to honor it and reflect on it – it really is amazing to have two souls living in one body! It is okay that you are tired, and if you are like me, you have aches and pains that settle in with the tiredness. If you are feeling tired, or have a day when you can’t get past the pregnancy hormones to wear a smile, that’s okay – you are still loved!!
Let this be the year that you say, “No”, to the extra activities, the invitations, maybe even pass the mantle for something you have been hosting on to someone else in your circle. What you and your baby may need more than anything else is rest.
2. Take time for reflection and relaxation.
Again, these are the “somethings” we forget about in our Go-Go-Go mindset that sets in around the holidays. Even if you only take five deep “belly-breathing” breaths before you get out of bed in the morning, that is extra oxygen for you and the baby to use that day. If you can, allow time for a meditation or deep breathing to relaxing music. I recorded my favorite meditations on my voice recorder, and would play them back when I needed a moment to slow down before I entered the fray of daily life again. Doing a good relaxation practice is good for mama and baby, and for your blood pressure, too! Elevated blood pressure is definitely not a stress you want to add to a pregnancy, in any season.
3. Bring snacks and stay hydrated.
Our holidays are defined by a constant rush through the days – how about yours? Go here, stop there, move on again. I encourage you to use a gallon water bottle to serve yourself water throughout the day. That way you can keep track if you are drinking enough. (Read THIS post for the ounces/day formula for your body weight, and for ideas to flavor your water for variety.) I also carried snacks with me, wherever we went, even if we thought we were only going out for a minute. Sometimes, if everyone was doing well after the first stop, we did more, and more.
Some ideas for quick snacks: nut packs (we buy ours from Trader Joe’s), fruit bars, nut-butter+jelly sandwiches, granola, dried fruits, or fresh fruits that travel well. There was always something in the car, or in my purse. Funny, because nowadays that I am not pregnant or breastfeeding an infant nursling, there is no more stash in the car, purse or diaper bag, and the kiddos are still raiding my snack stash spots, and very upset that I no longer travel fully-equipped with food!
Lastly, I want to address that ever-asked question if your due date is around the holidays. Those lovely people who will ask, “You’re STILL pregnant?” In my mind, I want to say, “You’re still tactless?”
Seriously, though, it is so hard to hear that, especially if you are close to or past your estimated due date. You can answer with a smile, and tell them the doctor/midwife guessed wrong again! Only 4% of babies are born on their estimated due date. Or you can be sassy – which ever fits your personality best ;)
Happy Holidays to you and yours!!
Enjoy the sacredness - take care of you and your baby :)
Tips from other mamas:
I will be adding tips to this section as they trickle in from students and readers.
From C.J.: Do everything you would normally do, because a "due date" is relative. I've had 2 holiday babies though (Christmas Day, and New Years Eve). With the first I worked right up till I had her, went with my little sister (7 yo at the time) & cut down the Xmas tree (a week before Xmas), made Xmas dinner, and then had baby around 11pm. Second baby was "due" Xmas day, and came New Year’s Eve. Still went about things as normal, till it was time to call the midwife. Made sure there were sandwiches, cheeses, meats, grapes, and other fruits available to those that came for the birth.
From O.C.: It can be hard because it's such a time for family and also an important time to bond and keep your new little one away from germs. Don't plan too much- Do enlist your husband to help- tell everyone you love them, introduce them to the new member of the family, and then hands off- Don't be too afraid to spend time with your family but do ask them to keep a little distance if they are sick and let them know they'll get lots of snuggle time when the baby is a little bigger and stronger.
From K.R.: I was due with my 2nd on Dec 21st but also wanted to make sure my 1st (only a year old) would still have a special Christmas time no matter what happened. I made sure I had everything done early just in case...and then just relaxed. Baby #2 came two weeks early on Dec. 9th...and everything was already done.
From F.H.: Lots of rest, it's easy to get caught in the "holiday spirit" I listened to my body and took it easy. Baby came a week early, two days before Christmas.
Do you have tips to share?
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