So you’re having a baby. Statistics show that 72.3% of the the time, the news begins with the the words Guess what? (OK – I’m kidding but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was true.)
This news can be exciting, relieving, stressful, joyous, surprising, or intimidating. Or it could be a combination of all those feelings (often summed up by the word Whoa).
The first time I found out that she was pregnant, we’d been trying for 1 1/2 years. It became a bit stressful and I learned way more about how to get pregnant than I ever thought I would. When I finally got the news, it was a relief.
You’re having a baby – now what do you do?
Once you’ve found out, what can you do? Besides wait, take childbirth education classes and catering to her needs? Here are 4 things we recommend based on our past experiences.
Things are going to change – there’s no question about that. You can run but you hiding is not advised. You could avoid the change. You could put things off. You could be all half-assed about it (like a certain someone[link] I know). But as Master Oogway said in Kung Fu Panda,
Accept the change. Open those arms wide and embrace it. Welcome it. Because having a baby means you’re about to embark on a hell of an adventure. You’re going to learn a lot about yourself. You’ll learn how strong both of you are. And you’re going to watch your kids grow and change, which is amazing.
Change is going to happen anyway so grab it by the horns. Educate yourself, about pregnancy, labor, childbirth and parenting. Knowledge is power. Or as the old GI Joe cartoon said it, Knowing is half the battle. There’s so much good information online these days – even reading up just 15 minutes a day is plenty. The more you know, the more helpful you can be to her.
Do more around the house. Clean more. Cook more. If you don’t know how to cook, start learning immediately (Google one pot meals for some easy ideas). These are all things you’ll have to do once the baby’s here, so start now instead of scrambling later.
Try to figure out how to do things quickly and more efficiently – especially when it comes to meals. Learning how to do more in less time is important because life with a baby is busy, busy, busy.
Take care of her
She’s doing all the heavy-lifting. Her body is going through all the changes. She’s going to get backaches. And probably morning sickness (which isn’t limited to mornings). She’s going to endure labor and childbirth. She’s going to go through a lot.
Nourish her with healthy food (and expect that she might love something now and hate the smell of it next week). Keep her hydrated. Let her rest (a lot). Give her massages (and they’ll be critical during labor too so you can make her feel good and prep for the future).
Spend time together (enjoy the uninterrupted time ;)). Talk to her. Listen to her. Be prepared for ups & downs; do the best you can to listen and understand.
Take care of yourself
It’s hard to care for someone else if our own needs aren’t taken care of. Self-care is important; be sure not to neglect yourself. Eat well, get sleep, exercise. Engage in your hobby, read a book, take a walk, be social. Watch your favorite movie or tv show. Spend time with people who make you laugh and smile.
Give yourself what you need because it’s hard to give to others when you’re running on empty. Do something, no matter how small, for yourself every day. This is good preparation for life as a family too.