Please note that I am not an expert on staying sane as I have not had my baby yet and feel like I am slowly losing my mind. But I thought writing this post would help both myself and the others who I know are suffering the same fate: Having to waaaait in misery while their babies take their sweet time presenting themselves to mommies eager to meet them – not to mention have their bodies back!
#1: Don’t Associate With Women Who Have Newborns
Known as the “Non-Pregnant”. It’s not their fault… they don’t mean to make you feel bad by saying things like, “Wow, it feels so good to not have heartburn anymore!” or “I’m feeling better every day – I have my energy back!”. Someday soon you will join the ranks of the insensitive new mommies as well, but until then you will feel very alooone. This I know – I have had three – yes THREE – women who were pregnant with me and had due dates this week or last week all give birth to their babies. If I have to see one more newborn baby announcement I’m going to explode! That reminds me, block them from your Facebook until after you give birth… they’ll never know. ;-)
#2: Make Sure You Get Some “Me Time”
Especially if you have other children you’re mommy to. At this point, on top of being totally exhausted your patience is wearing verrrry verrrry thin. Not only will you want some quiet time, your children and husband will probably be more than happy (MORE than happy) to give it to you! Not that you would ever be snappy or impatient with them, being the perfect mom you are. It’s just out of the generosity of their hearts, I’m sure. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel if you get some quiet time, go for a walk and get some fresh air, even just taking a nice long shower or bath (preferably without a toddler knocking on the door and asking to take a bath, too).
#3: Stop Trying to Induce Labor (Unless You’re Having Fun)
Seriously, I’ve tried so many labor-inducing techniques and they don’t work. Yes, I just said they don’t WORK! I’ve come to the conclusion that these techniques are made up by midwives from the 1800’s who were trying to keep poor pregnant women who were not only feeling everything I’m feeling but were confined as well from going crazy. “Here, drink this my dear and it will bring labor on faster!” as she thrusts some foul-smelling mixture (castor oil) on the poor lady. It seems that every method I’ve tried has made me miserable for a short time but done nothing to make my body feel that it is really time to go into labor. In conclusion? It’s a conspiracy. Now if the methods are mild (eating tons of pineapple) or make you feel better or happier, then by all means keep trying those methods. As long as they don’t put you into body-wracking contractions for the short term that give you hope but go nowhere and therefore make you more depressed in the long term.
#4: Destroy All Clocks and Calendars In Your House
This one is self-explanatory. Let’s just hope you didn’t have a calendar with “DUE DATE” written in permanent marker on your calendar. Every time you see it you’ll want to scream. And by the way, you don’t have to destroy your clocks and calendars – you can also pack them away in a drawer or box. I just thought it might make you feel better to destroy something…
#5: Pray For Sanity
I’m a Christian and so I’ve been praying constantly. Unfortunately so many times I find my prayers lately beginning with “Why, God? Why?” and then I catch myself. ;-) I know I sound dramatic, but this pregnancy has been so very uncomfortable and miserable for me. I won’t go into details, but if you were in my place you would feel the same! I keep wondering if somewhere along the line I asked God for patience. My conversation with the Lord consists of me asking why He wanted me to learn patience more than my other three friends. Well, if that’s something I need to learn, by golly I’ll try! But I haven’t hesitated to remind Him that He’s promised not to “suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able to bear” and I’m getting awfully close to that line, I’m pretty sure.
#6: Remember, It’s Just a DATE
It can be so easy to get hung up on a date that your doctor or ultrasound technician pulled out of a hat. The problem is that to them it’s nothing – to you it’s everything. Through this whole pregnancy (my second), I’ve KNOWN not to get excited about having my child before or on this date but I’m still intensely disappointed now that the day has come and gone. I think if I ever get pregnant again I’ll change my due date to a week after for both my sanity’s sake and so others won’t be expectant as well.
#7: Find Something Else to Focus On if You Possibly Can
I find that when I’m sitting around thinking about how miserable I am, I’m even more miserable. If I can throw myself into something – make some kind of goal at the beginning of each day that does not include giving birth (my ultimate goal), my day goes better. Even if it’s just a craft project (like these appliqued onesies I’ve been making!), doing something special with your kids, or fixing a special dinner (if you have the energy), it can get you through one more day. Ugh. “One more day”, I don’t like that phrase.
This one kind of goes along with getting “me time” but since that can be any type of activity I wanted to mention this separately. I think it’s imperative that we stressed out pregnant moms going into our fourth trimester (excuse me while I faint) take time to relax daily. If you have someone (a family member or your husband) who can give you a massage, that is GREAT. If not, you can still take a warm bath, read a book, or take time to put lotion on your tummy, or watch your favorite program while your husband takes the kids for a walk. And try to take a nap if you can!
#9: Don’t Listen to Your Doctor If He/She Ever Says…
If the words, “I would be surprised if you made it to the end of this week.” come out of your obstetrician’s mouth, give them the meanest glare you possibly can muster. I’m convinced that they just want you to leave the office with a smile on your face. I don’t know of a doctor that has been right about this, and if they are they’re just plain LUCKY – it has nothing to do with knowing when the baby will come. That’s a mystery that not even the most experienced doctor can figure out. Remember that you have to go home and wait. It’s not fair to give you extra hope and then not offer to pay for therapy bills when it doesn’t happen.
#10: Prepare (Nest!)
One thing that has saved at least a portion of my sanity and I believe has done so for pregnant women throughout time is to prepare for baby’s arrival with every last ounce of energy they can possibly muster. I know that “they” say nesting is something you do when you’re about to go into labor but I’m convinced it’s something women do because if they don’t do something they’ll go nuts. And it’s true that setting up your baby’s bassinet (like I did here) or organizing something can give you a wonderful sense of satisfaction and keep your focus on the hopeful future in which you have a baby and a life again.
#11: Ban the Words, “No Baby Yet?” From Everyone’s Vocabulary
I have recently been suffering from an onslaught of “Have you had that baby yet?” from our friends and family. It’s obvious, isn’t it? I said we would call you if we had the baby, and there will be an announcement if we go into labor – I promise! I really think people just don’t know what else to say, and if they’re excited like you are you really can’t blame them… too much. They can’t know how tired you are of that phrase. We should probably be flattered that they’re even involving themselves that much, that they care about whether you have had that baby yet or not. I’m trying to have pity here, but I wish that there was a different, more creative way to ask. Even “How are you holding up while waiting for that baby” would be better. But then I’m being picky, aren’t I? ;-) If they’ve never had a baby before, I have the satisfaction of knowing that someday they will see what it feels like!
#12: Finally, Remember That it Really is Not Much Longer Now
I hate hearing that, but it’s true. Every night of “false labor” or pre-labor I make it through is one more day crossed off the calendar (wait, what happened to the calendar?). It’s one day closer to my meeting my new baby boy. Every contraction I feel is one less braxton-hicks contraction, and I know it’s preparing my body for the day real labor starts. Soon I’ll be holding my baby, and all this will be but a memory. I’m even going to miss aspects of my pregnancy… not the END, for sure, but I will miss the way it felt. For my husband and me, we’ve decided this will be our last pregnancy (God-willing), so I try to keep that in my mind as well. Once my little guy is born he’s going to start growing like a weed. I’ll take photos and videos like crazy in an attempt to keep him small, but he’ll grow up too fast. I can’t wait for those times, but for now I’ll just enjoy the jabs from his small but incredibly strong feet, as painful as they are. Soon he’ll be born and there will probably be times I’ll miss the convenience of carrying him around with no hands (ha!) and the way my belly muffles his cries (especially at night when he’s waking up for feedings).
♥ ♥ ♥
Before I know it, time will pass and I’ll look back on this post with a smile. I’ll wonder how I made it through, and know there are countless other women going through the same thing. I just want to tell you that although you’re feeling emotional and eager for the end to come, what you’re doing every day is for your baby and totally worth it! You’re being a supermom right now. Anyone who makes it through 9+ months of pregnancy and then arduous labor deserves a medal! You’ll do it, though, and you’ll be so happy when it’s all over and you’re holding your little one in your arms.
So, in closing, I’m going to say only one more thing…
♥ ♥ ♥