My hope in writing this post is to be sensitive to those who are so desperately trying to conceive. I have many friends and family members in this position and I pray for them every day. However, looking back…there are some things that I took for granted back when it was just me and the hubs. Things I wish I would have taken the time to enjoy before my mad rush into parenthood.
I told my husband before we got married that kids were a part of my immediate plan. Being a mom was at the front of my thoughts, and I was thrilled when we became pregnant 3 months into marriage. 12 weeks later I miscarried that baby. I felt empty and heartbroken to have to start trying all over again.
Fast Forward a few years, we now have 2 children. Life with my two girls is magical and crazy and exhausting all at the same time, and although I don't regret having children when we did, I would have had a much different perspective back during the “waiting” days if I knew what I do now.
If I could go back to my 23-year old self, the one who only ever thought about how much I longed to hold a baby in my arms, I would probably say something like this:
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Girl, LIVE IN THE NOW. Yes, motherhood is amazing and wonderful. But it's also really hard. And just different. There are beautiful things about all phases of life (pre-baby, mid-baby, post-baby, etc.), and it's so important that you soak up every moment of your life RIGHT NOW.
If I could go back, here are 7 things I would do before getting pregnant:
1. Find the most beautiful shade under the most beautiful tree and read a really good book. Soak up just being you. Find a topic that you are interested in (fiction or non-fiction), and make time to just relax and enjoy the outside air. Breathe deeply and focus on your surroundings (which are wayyyy more quiet than anything you will experience for the next 30+ years of your life with kids).
2. Go on a trip somewhere you have always wanted to go. Trying to conceive can be really frustrating when things don't work on your timeline. Sometimes taking time to relax is exactly what your body needs to prepare for baby making. My brother and his wife took a trip to Europe together right before they got pregnant with their first baby. I won't lie, I was a little jealous. We were so poor when we first got married that we didn't even consider a “getaway” together. But we should have. Because gosh darn it, we are creative enough that we could have come up with a way! Now we go on fun trips with our kids, which is fun in its own way…it's just different.
3. Pamper Yourself. Life with kids is almost always about them and never about you. This is a good thing (most of the time), because it turns your focus outwards onto other people. However, self-care is really important too, and it always seems to be a challenge as a mom to find time to take care of yourself. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to have a day like this: Start out with breakfast in bed. Take your time eating it, and pay particular attention to taste and texture. Then go get a pedicure. Heck, get a manicure too. Are you still all by yourself? You better go shopping. And while you are trying on clothes, take a good look at your stomach and have a moment of appreciation because it will never be the same after kids 🙂
4. Exercise and get into a healthy routine. Get in shape now and create some healthy habits now because it's so much more difficult when you are sleep-deprived and stretched thin on time. Your body is going to bounce back much quicker after pregnancy if you go into it with a healthy body. You will also be much more likely to exercise throughout pregnancy if you have already developed a routine. Don't wait until you are leaning over the toilet to decide if you should start up a new activity…the answer will always be “no.”
Exercise is also going to elevate your mood if you are battling discouragement from infertility, or high levels of stress.
5. Make love and LOVE it. Since both my mother and mother-in-law have been known to read this blog, I'm not going to get into details, but get creative! When you are trying to conceive, the “act” can start to feel like a chore. Find ways to mix things up and make it fun…because one day when you have little ones running around (and trying to sneak into your bed) you will need to be way more sneaky.
6. Soak in a hot tub. I never knew how much I enjoyed hot tubs until I went 9 months without being able to. Soak as long as you want girl! Then eat a big ball of cookie dough (because that's going to be on the no-list too).
7. Develop a Talent. I guess this goes right along with living in the “now,” but find something you have always wanted to do, and do it! Ask yourself, “if for some reason kids aren't a part of my future, what would I be happy doing for the rest of my life?” If you have always wanted to learn the guitar, don't wait! Learn! If you have always wanted to snowboard, do it!
What would you do before getting pregnant if you could go back in time? Or what are you enjoying doing right now while you are waiting?
Already pregnant? You might enjoy this: 10 Things to Do the Moment You Get Pregnant