Month 9: The Final Stretch to Having My First BabyBy Ejiro Ogenyi
Published: March 31, 2015
I can’t believe we’re here already. It feels like it’s taken forever to get to this point, and now time seems to be crawling all the way to the finish line. Since life will probably move at a faster pace once the lil’ one gets here, it feels like a good time to reflect on the lessons that I’ve learned over the course of this pregnancy. Here goes:
It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again
I don’t know if you remember, but in month seven I decided to get serious about my exercise routine. There was the all-important reason of taking care of my mental health, but getting serious about exercising had other beautiful consequences. You see, exercise for me is both therapy and my core habit. By core habit, I mean the habit that has a snowball effect and has me doing all the other things that make me feel good.
When I exercise regularly, I pay more attention to what I eat, I write more, and I do more for my business than when I don’t exercise. It has this effect on me because when I start my day with exercise, I often make healthier breakfast choices, which spills over into my food choices for the rest of the day. And with writing and taking care of work and business, well, I feel like I can achieve anything if I can exercise in the morning. This is especially so when my exercise involves doing a challenging yoga sequence or conquering a particularly tough exercise move.
Considering that I currently have my own orbit, the act of exercising in itself makes me feel like I’ve conquered the world. Getting consistent with exercise late in my pregnancy taught me that it’s never too late to get that feeling. I could’ve just sat out for the rest of my pregnancy after taking a month off from exercise in my second trimester. But I learned firsthand that there’s never a bad time to get back into it, and it’s never too late to pick up an exercise habit.
Start Before You’re Ready
As I said earlier, exercising helped me become conscious of my food choices, and this in turn started me thinking of all the other habits that would help me drop the baby weight that I’ve added growing this lil’ love of ours. As I write this, I’ve gained 33 pounds (15 Kg), and I still have a few weeks to go so there’s more to come. Even though weight-loss mode is still far out in the future, I’ve learned that it’s never too early to start cultivating the habits that will help me do it when it comes time.
This means keeping track of my meals and staying conscious of my food choices, keeping up with my exercise, and not using the last few weeks of my pregnancy as a time to “eat for two” or “enjoy it while it lasts.” Doing this would be bad for me in the long run because I know once the baby gets here, I’ll have to keep making healthy food choices since I hope to breastfeed, and also because I know it’s unrealistic for me to expect to switch from “eating-for-two” mode to “eat-to-lose weight” mode.
There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Information
We started going to birthing classes this month. We took a newborn care class, a breastfeeding class, and are almost done with a Lamaze series. Before classes started, I didn’t really know what I wanted with regard to a birth plan. I had the attitude of “whatever the doctor says is best for the baby.” I also didn’t know what to expect with respect to the pain involved in labor – I just knew it would be painful. Needless to say, my eyes have been opened wide. I’ve learned:
- The double hip squeeze is not just for back labor; it can also be a miracle worker for hip and back pain during the last few weeks of pregnancy.
- There are four stages of labor, and pushing can last anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours – yikes!
- Medical interventions have their place, but should be used only when needed. For instance, there’s no need to have my labor induced at 39 weeks, except for a medical reason, but the option should be on the table if the baby is a week or more late.
- Wanting to have an all-natural birth is great, but going into it with the knowledge that the situation might turn out very differently is even better. Bottom line: have a birth plan but focus on what’s most important, which is getting the baby here safe and healthy.
- Breast milk supply is more of a function of demand than of what you eat. Eating healthy and staying hydrated is crucial, but so is feeding your baby eight or more times a day at the outset to establish supply.
We didn’t know any of this (and so much more) when we started, and I feel better now that we’re walking into parenthood with this information.
Learn to Lean
I’m an independent woman, and while I understood the importance of interdependence on an intellectual level, I never really practiced it. Being pregnant has made it necessary for me to lean on my husband now more than ever. It’s something that we’ve both noticed, and I’m glad to say that it’s improved our dynamic as well.
In an article I wrote on how exercise can improve your relationship, I quoted Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In: “When it comes to children, fathers often take their cues from mothers. This gives a mother great power to encourage or impede the father’s involvement. If she acts as a gatekeeper mother and is reluctant to hand over responsibility, or worse, questions the father’s effectiveness, he does less.” I’ve learned that this applies to everything from moral support to housework. The more responsibility I’ve been willing to let go of, the more he’s been willing to take on.
Overall, this pregnancy has been better than I ever could have hoped for. I’ve been healthy the entire time, and I’ve had the support that I needed to thrive throughout it all. I can’t wait to see how motherhood is going to be. The next post in the pregnancy series will be the one on my actual delivery – we’ll see how much the birthing classes really helped – so stay tuned for that!
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- My Pregnancy Journey: Battling and Overcoming Depression - February 16, 2015
- Three Steps To Make Exercise A Habit - August 26, 2014
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- 3 Top Tips to Avoid Workout Burnout - June 7, 2016
- 3 Tips To Avoid Post Wedding Weight Gain - September 17, 2014
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- Before & After Post-Parturm Body Transformation - February 23, 2016
- Why Your Workout Is Not Working And What You Can Do About It - August 20, 2014
- 3 Ways Yoga Can Change Your Life - May 6, 2014