There are those women who "just LOVE" pregnancy. They rave about how much they love feeling those sweet, little baby kicks and their nine months of gestating, looking like the epitome of a glowing, earth mama goddess.
I am definitely NOT one of those women.
I rather loathe pregnancy and to be honest, those baby kicks always sort of creeped me out (admittedly it's cool, but also kinda creepy). I spend my nine months of baby-carrying looking a lot less like a dewy earth mama and a lot more like a cross between a crazed Charlize Theron a'la "Monster" and a beluga whale. It's rough.
That said, having done this three times now, I can say that I've learned a thing or two to make this season of life a whole lot more bearable (and I'm not just talking about scarfing packages of those mini powdered donuts to eat my feelings):
1. Buy maternity pants IMMEDIATELY
During my first pregnancy, my pride had me bound and determined to avoid maternity clothes like the plague. I waited until nearly my 3rd trimester to finally break down and buy a couple of decent pairs of pants that didn't make me feel like I was a sausage in its casing. When I finally sprung for the true maternity items it was like the heavens parted and baby angels sang. So freaking comfortable! Why did I wait in misery for so long?!
If you are a tiny pregnant person (I am so not) and/or are determined to get all the wear you can out of your regular clothes, use the trusty rubber band trick to extend the waistband of your jeans for as long as humanly possible.
3. Keep crackers on your bedside table
Morning sickness is kind of the worst. During my bouts with morning sickness I found that crackers were the perfect thing to help settle my stomach. I was more of a "nauseous all day long" type, but one of my friends experienced her morning sickness where she would throw up immediately upon waking most every day and then be fine for the rest of the day. She found that keeping crackers on her nightstand was super helpful. Her morning ritual was wake up, immediately munch on some crackers, and then go about her day. Plenty of women swear by this.
4. Eat a banana before bed
During my first pregnancies I would get charlie horses (a.k.a. calf cramps) quite often. Usually it involved me waking up screaming in pain in the middle of the night as my husband attempted to knead out the knot. After awhile I got smart and started eating a banana before bedtime. The potassium helps to keep the leg cramps at bay.
When people offer to bring you takeout or watch one of your other kids or fold your laundry or WHATEVER, take them up on it!
5. Bra extenders will be your BFF
Boobs fluctuate wildly during pregnancy and bras are expensive, so to avoid more purchases than necessary purchase bra extenders that you can add to your existing bras and get a bit more mileage out of them.
6. Splurge on professional house cleaning
Hands down the best gift of my entire life has been when my dear friend gifted me with a professional house cleaning for my baby shower. At the end of pregnancy I wanted to compulsively nest and clean ALL THE THINGS, but my aching body wasn't particularly thrilled about it. Having someone come in and do the dirty work for me was such a gift. Bringing our baby back to a sparkling clean home was priceless!
7. Two words: Support Wear
The pressure of a heavy belly is a lot for a body to take and support wear can be a total godsend to alleviate some of the discomfort. I really liked these support tanks, but there are other options as well. Whatever you decide, it is definitely worth the investment if you're feeling uncomfortable. The bonus is that it's nice for a squishy, postpartum tummy too!
8. Don't give up on fitness
My first pregnancy I was pretty disciplined about working out throughout and it definitely played a part in how labor went. I was strong and felt like I had more stamina for the challenge. With this last pregnancy, I barely worked out at all and I definitely felt it. I felt slower and achier and everything was just a bit more cumbersome. Thankfully my labor was quick, but I'm not sure it would've gone very well had it gone much longer! Keeping up at least a minimal level of physical fitness is definitely good for your body and mind.
9. Lay on an inner tube
Buy one of those inflatable inner tubes for the pool so you can lay on your belly (It'll fit into the inner tube's hole) and FINALLY stretch out your aching back. I'll admit that I have not actually done this, because I never thought of it, but I had to add it, because it's absolutely brilliant.
If you decide to find out the gender of your baby, it is definitely worthwhile to find a fun way to do it. For our first baby we had a party with everyone there as we bit into pink cream-filled cupcakes and for Baby #3 we did something more low-key by having someone wrap a pre-purchased "girl" or "boy" onesie for us to open together with our families. We didn't do a gender reveal for our second baby and I regretted it. There are a ton of fun ways to create the surprise, so find one you like and go for it!
11. Plan fun things for the end of pregnancy
The end of pregnancy is a tough time for most mamas. It's a waiting game that can induce anxiety in even the calmest of moms-to-be. I've found that the cure for the end-of-pregnancy slump is to book your schedule with tons of fun activities and treats. Schedule a spa day, or the aforementioned house cleaning. Plan a movie night out with your friends (you likely won't get one again anytime soon) or dinner at your favorite restaurant. Filling your calendar will give you things to look forward to and if they have to be cancelled because you went into labor you won't be super disappointed. So much better than sitting around watching the clock (slowly) tick by.
12. Accept ALL the help
Don't be a hero! When people offer to bring you takeout or watch one of your other kids or fold your laundry or WHATEVER, take them up on it! Being heavily pregnant is exhausting and you deserve any and all help you can get. If you feel weird about accepting it before having the baby, feel free to take a rain check and cash in during postpartum.