Here we are at week 35, T minus 35 days +/- . I don’t know if this is considered the home stretch yet because as a first time mom (FTM, see, I’m like really cool and know all the lingo (not really,) I’ve never been on this run before. In cross-country I used to ask, “what’s the route” on training and race days. I would study the course map intently, and envision where I would “open up a can” (of whoop ass of course) for the final half mile. I never knew how I would feel during the run, but I had always gone that distance before which gave me the mental confidence I needed to push through most physical issues.
Make Your Own Prenatal Mental and Physical Training Book
Without realizing it, I have become my own pregnancy coach. Mentally, my training regimen includes reading relevant books and listening to pregnancy podcasts on my commutes—I especially like Dr. Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Podcast, mostly for the celeb birth stories…who knew Hillary Duff gave birth to her daughter at home, in a tub, with her entire family there?! My mental playbook also involves seeing a therapist who is an advocate for identifying and treating women with perinatal depression/anxiety.
Physically, after I emerged from the foggy exhaustion of the first trimester, I felt pretty invincible. My routine comprised of jumping in on my sister’s HIIT Zoom workouts, doing yoga, golfing, and walking our dog up to three times a day. At week 25 I was still jogging (no, not running, definitely jogging!) and by week 30 I was still chasing down drop shots in tennis drills.
Be Prepared to Listen to Your Changing Body and Adapt to Achieve Balance
Here I was humming along, on weekends sometimes logging 17,241 steps/day and it all came screeching to a halt at week 32 after a highly active Saturday of tennis, swimming, and walking. By Sunday morning, I experienced a lot of pelvic pressure, discomfort, and twinges of pain (apparently this is called lightning crotch, seriously who comes up with this shit?!). You need to “rest often but also stay active” for it to dissipate. Super helpful, thanks. Anyway, obviously my doc said no more chasing down balls in tennis drills, “we don’t want contractions to start on the tennis court, you’ll just have to granny it out from here.” So, I have leaned into grannying it out, embracing mostly yoga and walking.
Tune the F*ck Out Sometimes
The discussion boards in pregnancy apps are filled with messages from women all over the world and reading these is enlightening and can provide a sense of “we’re all in this together” BUT they can also freak you out. Other people’s scary birth stories will sound terrifying. 2020 has, at many times, been a complete sh!tstorm. and sometimes, you just need to tune the f*ck out. Thank goodness for my book club; each night I have a sacred reading time where I consume (eyelids allowing) non-pregnancy, non-the-world-is-ending content.
Put Your & Baby’s Needs First
People pleasers and extra thoughtful mamas, this one’s for you. Now more than ever is important for us to be aware of our pleasing tendencies and try to cut back. At 34 weeks, I was at an outdoor work event in 85-degree weather for 3 hours. Bad. Idea. Because of my pleasing tendencies, I felt obligated to show my support and dedication by enduring the heat for the full 3 hours despite my racing heart and decreasing cognitive capacity. Obviously overheated, I drove home in a catatonic-like state, AC blasting, no podcast, no phone calls to besties, nada. I arrived home and collapsed, crying, feeling defeated. I realized that during pregnancy (and in life!) there are many times where you simply have to put your own needs first. Even if it feels scary or unnatural to speak up, it’s important to do so for you and your baby’s health.
Stop Making Plans
In The End of Pregnancy is the Worst blog from Pregnant Chicken, author Melissa Roy shares, “Your schedule can become complicated. It’s hard to make plans when baby could be arriving any second and it’s hard to commit to anything because if baby comes, that will change everything.” This, (and everything else she cites about the lovely home stretch) resonates.
Despite the coronavirus, there are still socially distant plans being made right and left. And, “for everyone’s safety” most of them are outside, in lovely 90-degree July weather. Given I am now traumatized at the prospect of attending any event that poses the risk of overheating, I have started to practice saying things like, “I’ll be 38 weeks then so I can’t commit to attending but I will make a game time decision day-of.” I mean if it was an air-conditioned spa day dedicated to relieving my daily aches and pains, let’s get serious, I would 100% say yes, count me in and I would only cancel if I was in labor, but otherwise, I recommend seeing how you and baby feel before committing to anything the last few weeks of your hot girl summer pregnancy.
What pregnancy lessons would you add to this list?