On my wedding day, I walked up the aisle thinking about getting married, and then walked back down the aisle thinking about babies.
Baby fever set in fast.
I have always known I wanted to have a big family, and part of the reason I fell in love with husband is because he wants lots of kids too. We both come from large families. When I told him, on one of our first non-dates (only it sort of was a date), that I had five siblings I waited for the gasp most people gave me when they found out I had such a big family, but he didn’t bat an eyelash. That’s because he has had nine siblings: almost twice the amount I have.
If all of our siblings get married then our future children will have fourteen uncles, and fourteen aunts!
When we first got married, we were both in college full-time. I was finishing up my last semester, and hubs had a year and a half left until he got his degree. We weren’t ready to have a baby, but that didn’t stop me from spending my spare time sighing loudly as I browsed my Facebook feed, and admired all the pregnancy announcements popping up every day.
I dealt with my baby fever the only way I knew how: holding any baby within a mile radius of me, taking pregnancy tests every month (just in case), and following every pregnant blogger I could find. Eventually, however, I realized that feeding my baby fever wasn’t really accomplishing anything productive. I felt like a teenage girl dreaming about her prince charming, and missing out on all the opportunities that surrounded her. I know the day will come when I will have babies, and my time, focus, and energy will shift. That day is not today. Our time, as a couple, is short–and I want to enjoy it as best I can, and not regret spending these pre-baby months or years with my head in the clouds.
In order to use my time wisely, but also feel as if I am preparing for a future baby (which makes waiting easier) I came up with six things to focus on in my pre-baby days.
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6 Ways to Prepare for Pregnancy
1. Learn everything you can about pregnancy.
I have learned so much from reading other blogger’s birth stories. I have read birth stories about c-sections, breech, twin births, and even easy first time births. I now feel about a million times more prepared for what it might look like. I have, also, been listening to Jeanne Faulkner’s Commonsense Pregnancy podcast. I have more free time now then I will probably have when I am pregnant, so I am using that time to research pregnancy, and develop my own opinions on all things pregnancy.
My few of my favorite birth stories:
2. Spend extra time with your husband, and friends.
While it is important to learn about pregnancy, I don’t want to spend all my days glued to a screen (or even a book) learning about something that hasn’t happened yet. I am trying to intentionally invest in both my relationship with my husband and my friends while I have so much extra time. I know that once we start having kids my time will be spent caring for them, and it will be a lot harder to meet a friend for coffee or go on a bike ride with my husband. Time goes by so fast, and I do not want to let it slip through my fingers while I have it.
3. Start taking prenatal vitamins, and drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, if you take 400 mcg of folic acid for at least a month before you conceive you can cut your chances of having ababy with birth defects (such as spina bifida) by 50-70%! Of course, there are risks to folic acid so I would suggest you take folate (the whole food version of folic acid). To read more about why folate is so much better for you then folic acid check out this article. I, personally, take this prenatal which is made of whole foods, and includes probiotics and herbs as well.
I have, also, started to drink this raspberry leaf tea blend every day. Raspberry leaf tea has been used for hundreds of years to strengthen the utures, ease pms pain, and even shorten labor! I have read so many testimonials by other bloggers about how this tea made their labor a lot easier that I decided it was worth the ten dollar investment. It tastes yummy too!
4. Save money like it’s going out of style:
This past year we opened our first savings account through Capitol One 360 (if you use my referral link then you will get a $25 bonus!). Since then, we have been plugging away all our extra money into this account. We, thankfully, have insurance that is very baby friendly, but once we have the baby there will be a lot more expenses, and we will take a cut in our income. The more we can save now, the better off we will be in the future!
5. Build a side business so you can continue to add a bit to the household income:
My goal is to become a work-from-home mom so I can continue to bring in a bit of money. I realized the other day that now is the time to get a side business running before kids enter the picture. I want to be able to bring in a bit of cash even if I am not working a job outside of the home.
6. Invest in hobbies NOW that you won’t have time for LATER:
I just auditioned for a play this past weekend, because in the back of my mind I didn’t know when a show will be my last one for awhile. Acting while pregnant on stage may make me not the right choice for many roles. Ha ha! Whatever your hobbies are be it music, pottery, acting or tennis now is the time to invest in them! Life won’t stop when you have kids, but from what I’ve heard it does make it harder to do certain things.
7. (Bonus!) Get dental work done.
A lot of women suffer with gingivitis when they are pregnant (one of the tough parts of pregnancy!). So I am going out of my way to take care of my teeth, and I am also getting my wisdom teeth removed this month so that I won’t have to worry about that when I am pregnant.
Things we aren’t doing to prepare:
- Trip to Europe: I would love to take a trip to Europe before kids! This might happen, or it might not! I was so inspired by reading a handful of posts lately on traveling through Europe with a toddler or baby (Oh Joy’s post is one of my favorites!). While harder, it can be done!
- Reading pregnancy books: there will be plenty of time once I am actually pregnant to really delve into this literature. Reading blogs is one thing, but I don’t want to become too obsessed before the bump! And too much information can be as harmful as not enough.
- Wishing away the now: I am so excited that someday I will be able to tell my husband, and we will tell our families that we are expecting a little one. We aren’t right now. I am not wishing away this part of our lives. As Jim Elliot said “Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living”. Well said, Jim. Well said.
- Saying yes to everything: Even thought I have been investing more in my hobbies I have still held on to the importance of a well placed no. This time, in-between college and parenthood, should be a bit restful. So I have been protecting hubby’s and my schedule so we can soak in the rest while we can!