by Elise Bowerman
Embrace2 and Educate2
These two words pop out (no pun intended) to me during this miraculous time in a woman's life. Embrace the idea of creating a new life within you. Embrace your changing body. Take time to educate yourself of the pregnancy, labor and delivery processes. Finally, educate yourself about caring for your newborn.
This is the time when a woman has the opportunity to "house" another human being. Your body no longer is just for you (or your partner - hahaha), but now it is also for a precious human being. What a miraculous event to experience! Spend time connecting with baby (or babies) by taking walks outside in nature, placing your hands on your belly, intuitively or out loud "talk" to baby about whatever is on your mind.
Accepting your expanding body can be challenging. This is a temporary change in order to create a healthy, happy baby. By accepting your body you are accepting the baby and changes in life which will follow. Logically, you may understand, but deep down emotionally there still may be some struggles with letting go of control. That's okay! Some great ways of learning to accept your new body are by talking to a therapist or someone whom you trust, attending Prenatal Yoga classes and learning why your body is changing and how it affects your baby.
Study. Oh, you thought your were done with school? Well, you may be, but this is a different study. Hopefully a course you find intriguing... you and baby. We live in the age of technology, so use it if you don't like reading books. There are countless books, blogs and websites giving insight into pregnancy, labor and delivery. Educate yourself about what the hospitals will want to do with you and baby (i.e. vaccinations, eye ointment, pacifiers, nursery, circumcision, bottles, etc.) Find out if those fit in line with how you imagined. Learn the difference between an OB, midwife, and doula. Ask your doctor or midwife specific questions as needed. Don't be shy - you have every right to know how they intend to care for you and baby. Keep learning, until you are comfortable with the decisions you (and your partner) will be making.
Lastly, please remember you are taking the baby home. It's easy to get caught up in the details of pregnancy, labor and delivery wishes. While they are important, most important is: how are you going to care for this newborn angel? Attend classes: learn how to change diapers, how to breastfeed, how to make chemical-free homemade baby formula, how to swaddle, what to expect in the first week or two of having baby: sleep, eat, pees/poos, crying, etc. Ask friends who already have children how they coped with a newborn and what worked or didn't work for them. No one said being a parent is easy, or that you can be completely ready for baby's arrival. However, by preparing for what to expect as much as you are able to, the better off you will feel, and the baby will feel that, too.