You might start thinking about who you want to accompany you in the delivery room. Some women prefer to have many family members present, while others prefer a quiet delivery with just their partner.James W. Brann, MD
Your Pregnancy MD
Pregnancy Week Thirty Five
Your belly at 35 weeks, measures quite large at six inches above your navel. You have probably gained about 28 to 29 pounds by now, though every woman’s weight gain is different.
Mother’s anxiety about labor and delivery may actually delay labor
Many women have extreme mood swings from about 35 weeks pregnant and on. OK, many women have mood swings their entire pregnancy, but you may find them particularly dramatic around this time. Don’t worry incessantly however about the little things in life during this time. Now should be a time where you sit back and relax and try to enjoy the final weeks of your pregnancy.
It’s easy to find things to worry about during this time. As your pregnancy continues you may for example feel more anxious about delivery. Your best bet however is to take some time and relax. Talk to other mothers who have had good labor and delivery experiences. This will help relax you. There are some studies that actually show a mother’s anxiety about labor and delivery may actually delay labor, and that is something you probably want to avoid as you reach the final weeks of your pregnancy.
Your Pregnancy Finish Line
At 35 weeks pregnant, you are almost to the finish line. Only five weeks left until you reach your estimated date of delivery! But keep in mind that only about five percent of babies are actually born on this date. Some arrive earlier than expected, others later. From this point in your pregnancy, you need to be prepared for labor and delivery at any second.
Are your hospital bags packed and ready to go?
Are your hospital bags packed and ready to go? Have you finished decorating your baby’s nursery? Are you stocked up on diapers, baby wipes, and other newborn nursery essentials? If you haven’t, you should use these final weeks of your pregnancy to do so.
Every woman experiences “nesting” differently
If you have been putting off many of these chores, you may get an irresistible urge to “nest” or prepare for your new baby. This “nesting instinct” is common in your third trimester.
Every woman experiences “nesting” differently than the next. You may have an uncontrollable need to clean and organize your house, or you may try to tackle projects you haven’t had the energy to do – such as organizing your baby’s closet, or re-organizing your entire house! Some women also go above and beyond with buying nursery accessories and products for their baby.
Practice trips to birthing center
Now your baby’s due date is only a month away. If you haven’t already, you and your partner need to take practice runs to the hospital or the birthing center where you plan to deliver. Learn the best (and fastest) routes to the hospital. Find out where to park. (Remember that you will be leaving your car for at least 24 hours when you deliver).
You and your partner should also go on a hospital tour now (though it’s a good idea to do this earlier in the third trimester!). Many hospitals offer tours of their labor and delivery areas. Taking a tour will help you understand your rooming options and give you an idea of where you will be staying during labor, delivery, and postpartum.
In most hospitals in the United States, you will most likely labor in a LDR (labor, delivery, and recovery) room. You will stay in this room throughout your labor and delivery. After your baby is delivered, you will be moved to a postpartum room, where you’ll stay for the rest of your stay.
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding
As you and your partner are preparing for your baby’s arrival, this is a wonderful time to start thinking about breastfeeding. While bottle feeding has become more popular in recent years as the method of feeding your newborn, breastfeeding is absolutely the preferred method of pediatricians and other doctors.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you breastfeed your baby. Breast milk is the perfect baby food. It’s easier for your baby to digest, compared to formula. It does not need to be prepared, and it is always available. Plus, it contains all the nutrients, calories, and fluids that your baby requires to be healthy. Breast milk also contains antibodies that protect your little one from many diseases and infections.
Breastfed infants are less likely to suffer from ear infections, diarrhea, obesity, pneumonia, and research has indicated that it might even protect your baby from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Another perk of breastfeeding is that it helps your uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly. You will burn calories when you breastfeed, which might just help you lose your pregnancy weight! With all these perks, breastfeeding is definitely something you will want to consider.
Share your concerns, worries and excitement with your partner
You might start thinking about who you want to accompany you in the delivery room. Some women prefer to have many family members present, while others prefer a quiet delivery with just their partner. The decision should be yours entirely. You should feel comfortable and safe in the environment you give birth in. This will help you relax during your labor and delivery.
Be sure you share your concerns, worries and excitement about delivery and the birth of your baby with your partner. Now more than ever it is important you keep the lines of communication open. You may find that you share many of the same worries and concerns, and can laugh together and support each other together from here until the delivery.
Keep in mind that women have been giving birth since the beginning of time. No matter what your worries are, you are bound to do a spectacular job. Even if you have no siblings and no experience parenting, trust us, after a few weeks you will get into the swing of things. Your natural parenting instincts are bound to kick in and you will do a fine job of raising your little baby.
Consider a prenatal massage
During the last few weeks of pregnancy you should definitely consider a prenatal massage or two, particularly if you haven’t already. Pregnancy massage is wonderful for relieving minor discomforts including pain and swelling. You may also find during a massage you are better able to calm your fears and settle your anxiety. You will also appreciate the hour to yourself. Prenatal massages provide exceptional health benefits for expectant mothers, whether delivering for their first time or third. Many centers offer prenatal massage include wellness centers, spas and chiropractic centers. If you reach pregnancy week 40 some even offer acupressure to help stimulate labor and delivery! If someone asks what they can do for you suggest a prenatal massage. You’ll be glad you did!
Baby at 35 Weeks of Pregnancy
By the time you reach 35 weeks your baby is already about 4.2 pounds and may measure more than 17.2 inches long! Compared with the start of your pregnancy you might consider your little one a heavyweight champ at this point in time!
Your baby’s main job now is still gaining weight. This will continue up until the point of delivery. You may not think this is very exciting but don’t forget all of the important changes and developments your baby has undergone in the last several weeks. Your baby has been working diligently to mature and develop organs, reproductive systems and other unique features that will make your baby the unique person he is at delivery. You should also remember that weight gain is vital to your baby’s health and well being after delivery. The more weight your baby puts on the better prepared your baby will be to face the challenges that will present on the ‘outside’.
If your baby was born this week, he or she has over a 99 percent chance of survival with very mild health problems. Your baby would only require a short hospital stay to monitor their oxygen intake, and make sure your baby could maintain its body temperature and weight.
Because your baby is so large now, he or she will no longer be doing any somersaults, flips, or flops in your womb. The level of amniotic fluid in your womb already reached its maximum volume a week ago, so space is becoming limited for your little one’s acrobatics.
Your baby’s lungs are maturing. Since 32 weeks of pregnancy, your baby’s lungs have been producing a substance called “surfactant,” which coats the surface of the air sacs and keeps them open. Surfactant helps your baby breathe after birth.
Premature babies tend to lack enough surfactant, so they are at higher risk of respiratory distress syndrome. If you were to go into preterm labor now, your doctor would probably give you an injection of a corticosteroid, which would accelerate the production of surfactant in your baby’s lungs and reduce your baby’s risk of respiratory distress syndrome.
Interestingly, some research suggests that a baby girl’s lungs mature more quickly than a boy’s lungs. Perhaps that’s why little girls born premature typically have less trouble with breathing than little boys of the same gestational age.
Here’s an interesting bit of information you may like to know. Some researchers think that babies actually release a signal to the mother’s body that triggers labor. There are actual many different theories about what exactly triggers labor. The truth is no one is one hundred percent certain, as different factors can influence different women and babies differently!
Some researchers think that when your baby is ready to delivery their brain sends a signal to their fetal adrenal glands. These glands might respond by producing hormones to help stimulate your altered production of estrogen and progesterone, a sign your body may need to go into labor. Still others believe that your baby’s lungs may secrete signals or hormones indicating to the rest of the body that they are mature and ready for the outside world. This combined with the presence of certain enzymes may result in the release of prostaglandin’s that can trigger labor by ripening and preparing the cervix for delivery. This is a very plausible suggestion as prostaglandins do play a key role in labor and delivery.
Will I be tested for Group B Strep.?
Between your 35 and 37th weeks of pregnancy you will be tested for Group B strep or GBS. Group B Strep is a type of bacteria that one to three women carry in their vagina. These bacteria, though benign to women in general, may pose serious and potentially life threatening consequences for your baby during birth. However, with proper screening women who test positive will be treated with an antibiotic during labor to prevent passing these bacteria on to their baby.
Most women who test positive for Group B Strep or GBS will deliver a normal and healthy baby. Without adequate diagnosis and treatment however, babies exposed to Group B Strep during the birthing process may face potentially life threatening side effects.
Group B Strep or GBS
is a bacteria commonly found in the bowel, vagina and bladder. Usually it
causes no symptoms at all, and people that carry these bacteria generally do so
on a temporary basis.
Most women if tested consistently would probably come up positive as a carrier of Group B Strep at one point or another during their life. The only time Group B Strep is typically problematic is during pregnancy.
In rare cases Group B Strep may cause bladder or womb infections in a pregnant mother. It can infect the fetus before or during the birth process, though infection is rare.
Babies infected with Group B Strep may go on to develop pneumonia or even meningitis. Others may have long term problems such as hearing or vision loss during their lifetime.
In some infants Group B Strep doesn’t develop until a week or more after delivery. This is an even more rare occurrence however than infection and detection immediately following delivery.
Current thinking for the treatment of Group B Strep is to give antibiotics during labor instead of when you have a positive culture in the office. This new thinking is because the antibiotics given for a positive culture in the office do not adequately protect the baby weeks later when you go into labor.
Also, a higher concentration of antibiotics can be achieved by given them through your intravenous port when in labor instead of taking them by mouth. The higher concentration of antibiotics allows for a higher amount to reach the baby and enter the amniotic fluid (fluid in the sac holding the baby), therefore protecting the baby better.
Antibiotic Protection is given in the Following Settings
- When you have a positive screening culture in the office for GBS. The cultures are taken between the 35th to 37th week of pregnancy from both the vagina and rectal areas.
- If you had a previous pregnancy with a history of a baby with early onset GBS.
- If your urine tested positive for GBS bacteria during your current pregnancy.
- If you were not tested for GBS during this pregnancy.
- If you have a fever during labor.
- If you are in labor before 37 weeks (preterm labor).
- Antibiotics are given if your bag of water has been broken for longer than 18 hours.
The most common antibiotic used for GBS is Penicillin G. The antibiotic is given every four hours until you deliver your baby. If you are allergic to Penicillin closely related antibiotic can be used called Cefazolin or Clindamycin.
Is it worth it to do Cord Blood Banking?
Over four million umbilical cords are thrown away each year in the United States shortly after the mother gives birth. New research has shown that the blood remaining in the umbilical cord (cord blood), which is high in stem cells, can help to treat many diseases including leukemia, lymphoma, thalassemia, aplastic anemia, sickle cell anemia and certain metabolic storage disorders.
The process is simple and easy for both parent and baby. In fact, no needles or instruments come near the baby or mother. Once the umbilical cord has been cut after your baby is safely delivered, doctors use syringes to extract the blood from it and then send the vial to storage for processing and cryogenic freezing.
The cord blood can either be privately banked or donated. The difference between the two is that if you privately bank it, you will have to pay for the storage; most facilities will give you the exclusive rights to its use, however there are some banks which only give you access to someone’s cord blood but not necessarily your baby’s.
If you donate it, then others with diseases that can be cured using cord blood will have access to it. If you or a family member becomes ill and someone else has already used it, you will have to find a matching donor within the system.
Of course the cord blood will only be a direct match for the baby it came from, or an identical twin. If a parent, aunt or other family member becomes ill, there is only a twenty five percent chance that the cord blood from your baby will match with them.
So now you find yourself asking, why should I consider preserving my baby’s cord blood? What are the pros and cons?
Advantages of preserving your baby’s cord blood:
- The taking of cord blood is easy and painless; while the taking of bone marrow, which is the other source from which stem cells can be taken, is painful and comes with considerable risks.
- It offers the chance to have certain diseases immediately dealt with, and gives the patient a higher survival rate.
- If one of your family members becomes ill, they will have a better chance of matching with your baby’s stem cells and thus surviving.
Although many sites will extol the virtues of cord blood banking without telling you the cons, there are some factors you should take into consideration before making your decision.
Factors to consider before preserving your baby’s cord blood:
- Only about 1 in 2700 people who save their child’s umbilical cord blood will ever use it. This means that if you choose to privately bank your baby’s cord blood, you may be paying quite a bit of money for nothing.
- It costs approximately between $1,400 and $2,300 US for the initial collection of the cord blood, and another $95 and $125 per US per year for the storage, if you choose to privately bank the cord blood. Since cord blood can only be stored for twenty one years, that means you could pay around $3495 US and never use it.
- While a family member has a better chance of matching with your babies stem cells, there is still only a 25% success rate.
- Some diseases can be treated using other remedies if the stem cells weren’t available. For instance, stem cell transplants could be used to treat leukemia, but it is no more effective than chemotherapy.
- Doctors rarely transplant the child’s own blood because it may already be contaminated by the disease.
If your child or a
family member has already been diagnosed with a disease that can be cured using
your baby’s stem cells, then the decision becomes much easier.
However if not, it would be wise to talk to your doctor, and then consider your options very carefully before coming to a final decision.
Is it Safe to get a Massage in Pregnancy?
You know that massage can relax you (and who couldn’t use a little relaxation from time to time?), but did you know that it can improve your health?
And that’s not just due to the fact that you’ll feel better emotionally, though certainly that plays a part. Massage can be beneficial to anyone, so prenatal massage is something you might want to partake in. One of the things you will hear and read over and over again for the next two decades as you raise this baby you’re carrying is that one of the best things a mom can do for her children is take care of herself. If you’re at your very best emotionally, physically, and spiritually, you will be a better mom.
Guess what? Since baby’s snuggled deep inside you, that starts now. You know that already, that’s why you go to the obstetrician, take your prenatal vitamins, and take all the other precautions you’re taking to safeguard your pregnancy. Massage can help you on that quest to be your most healthy self.
While you may never have had a professional massage, I’ll bet
you’ve received a nice relaxing massage from your partner at some point. Think
about how wonderful it felt. Now imagine having a massage done by someone who
has been educated in massage, someone who has studied the proper technique for
massaging expectant moms. While receiving a quick back or neck rub from your
partner is nice, this is the time to treat yourself (or let someone else treat
you) to the services of a professional masseuse.
You can visit a day spa, indulge in a spa weekend, go to a masseuse at a local physical therapy or chiropractic center, or have a traveling masseuse come to your home.
Sound a little too fancy for you? Remember, you need to do what’s safe. That means being massaged by professionals, rather than well-meaning friends or loved ones, who may apply the wrong kind of pressure to the wrong body parts or use oils which are not pregnancy-safe.
How is a Pregnancy Massage different than other Types of Massage?
Traditional Swedish Massage (relaxation massage) involves lying
flat on your back and then later flat on your front while your neck, shoulders,
arms, legs, and feet are massaged with firm pressure (with friction reduced by
massage oil). Sounds good, right? Yes, but not good for pregnant women. Lying
flat on your back or directly on your stomach while someone applies weighted
pressure to your body is not in your or baby’s best interest.
When you are pregnant, massage must be adapted to accommodate your pregnant body. So, if you call to book a massage appointment, ask about whether pregnancy massage is offered. If it’s not, do not book a traditional massage. Ask for a referral to a masseuse who has been trained in the needs of pregnant clients.
When booking your appointment, be sure to ask if your masseuse has a pregnancy table or pregnancy pillow system (for his/her standard table) which will cradle you the way you need to be cradled. Cradle you like, well, like a baby. At first glance, a massage table made for pregnant clientele will be similar to other massage tables (hard table, cushioned by a mattress, with a donut head piece which allows for breathing while lying facedown). The difference lies in the mid-section of the table.
At the mid-section, there is an open space, where the belly (and sometimes the chest) lie. This keeps pressure off the mother-to-be’s abdomen. Some salons opt for mattress/pillow systems which elevate the mother up off the standard table, cushioning her entire body, but keeping the belly securely nested in the soft structure so that it is not hanging below the table. When massaging women in the last weeks of pregnancy, both forms of pregnancy table adaptation may be abandoned completely. Instead, a mother beyond 36 weeks or so may lie on her side, propped by pillows while she is massaged on one side of her body, then will be flipped to the other side, keeping her safely stabilized and comfortable when she is too large to lie on her face or back any longer.
You should not be massaged in the same way as a person who is not pregnant, not even at the start of your pregnancy.
So if you’re a regular visitor at the day spa, be sure to tell your masseuse about your wonderful news right from the start. This is also why even the best intentioned spouse should stick to very gentle foot or shoulder rubs. No pressure should be exerted by untrained hands. Some massage movements are not advised for pregnant women, nor are certain oils.
Will my Mid-Section be massaged?
There are different schools of thought on whether or not to address the abdomen. Some masseurs will do a light rubbing of the tummy, really just a gentle caress. Most pregnancy massages do not include the tummy at all, concentrating on the ankles, legs, arms, feet, hands, shoulders, neck and back. All these areas are affected by your pregnancy, so treating them is as important (if not more so, than the gentle massage which may or may not be offered at your midsection.)
Do I have to Take Off my Clothes?
You will be asked to remove your clothing down to your
underpants. Some places offer a robe to wear until you are lying on the table
and covered by the sheets/blanket. Others will not. Even the most modest women
usually are comfortable with the clothing situation once they have begun
massage, because all but the body part being worked on are discreetly covered.
This is a much less revealing situation than something like a bikini wax, and unlike a bikini wax you are being nurtured. Besides, all the visits to the obstetrician have probably made you less self-conscious about being seen less a few items of clothing.
More than a few moms have told me that having a baby took away all sense of modesty. Well, I don’t know about all sense of modesty, but it’s logical that you may be more comfortable with your body now than when you were pre-pregnancy.
What Exactly Can a Pregnancy Massage do for you?
- Reduce swelling of hands and feet
- Reduce headache
- Increase blood flow (benefiting all your organs)
- Relieve muscle fatigue
- Relieve stress
What Stages of Pregnancy are Appropriate for a Prenatal Massage?
“But I’m only in my second trimester, I’m not that big
yet,” you may say. Why go for a massage if you’re feeling good? Well, how
about feeling even better. Some doctors do not recommend massage in the first
trimester, but encourage it in the second and third. Some contend that all
stages of pregnancy are good times for massage.
If you’re only going to indulge once, then you may want to wait until your growing uterus and belly (and all that comes with that growth) is causing you some swelling and some aching. However, if you have the time, inclination, and budget to take care of yourself in this way, pregnancy massage has been cited as being beneficial at all stages of pregnancy.
Most women are lucky enough to have a holiday, birthday, and anniversary fall into the course of their pregnancies. What a wonderful gift massage would be. Pick up a brochure at your local day spa and share it with your spouse. Ask your doctor about the benefits of massage at the next prenatal visit with your husband in earshot. Many masseurs will offer a discount for multiple treatments if the treatments are purchased as a package. What a wonderful gift that would be. Good for you, which makes it good for baby.
Coping Tactics for Dads-to-Be
When people think of postnatal depression, they usually think of mothers as having it. However, many fathers develop postnatal depression as well, and more commonly than not. Also known as PND – this type of depression can happen either gradually or suddenly, depending on the individual. The Medical Research Council revealed that one in twenty-eight fathers experienced PND within the first year of the birth of a child. Understandably, it is an adjustment for fathers too. They go from having frequent intimate relationships with their spouses to suddenly the baby takes first priority. Some fathers feel slighted or overlooked by their mates. Suddenly their wife is “ga-ga” about someone else, when before the baby came along she may have spent more time doting on him.
Financial pressures also take a toll on dads. Suddenly, instead of spending time going out on dates, they must bring home a box of diapers, can of baby formula, toys, clothes, sneakers, baby furniture, and more. Especially in unplanned pregnancies, this is something many fathers feel unprepared for. This can lead to depression in men, and in some severe cases it can alienate his relationship or ability to connect with the child.
There are some men who fear the baby, feeling as though by holding it or touching it, the newborn might break. Babies cannot hold their head up for about a month after birth, which can be scary for a masculine guy. He may have anxiety about changing diapers, especially if he has a weak stomach. These are among the many reasons that such an adjustment is tough on dads, too, not just mothers.
So, what can a father-to-be do to prevent the likeliness of depression? Coping strategies are not just for expectant mothers.
Here are some suggestions for dads-to-be as they move into a new stage of maturity by becoming a parent:
- Participate more in the decisions about the child. By becoming more involved, the father can become more connected to the baby both before birth and afterwards.
- Communicate your needs. Men are naturally less apt to talk about their feelings, but reaching out and expressing things that cause you anxiety, resentment or nervousness can be a good way to overcome them.
- Spiritual counseling or therapy. Many men will refuse to admit that anything is wrong, but inside they feel like shouting. Anger can stem from not being able to discuss the things that are bothering you, and therapy or spiritual counsel should not be taken as a sign of weakness, but rather as strength. The strongest people are those who can admit they have needs that are unmet.
- If the baby is crying and you feel overwhelmed or like you want to snap, get help immediately. Call someone, whether it is the mother, your brother, mother or anyone. Don’t stay alone with an infant if you feel unable to handle the care.
- Bond with the baby right away, even before birth. Dads who participate more, like going to the doctor’s appointments with their spouse, seeing ultrasound pictures, doing a family “maternity” shoot with a photographer, or building a nursery may be more likely to connect with the baby than those who leave all of those things up to their spouse.
- Talk to the belly. Evidence reveals that babies can hear and become familiar with the family’s voices, especially the mothers. But Dads can also listen to the baby’s heartbeat, talk to the baby through the belly, feel the baby kicking and be more actively involved with the pregnancy.
- Make time for yourself. Keep your workout at the gym, or your golf game with the guys once a week, or whatever enjoyment you need. Everyone needs a refresher, especially new parents; both the mothers and fathers.
- Keep a date night with your mate. People say this, but it is true. To keep that flame burning between you and your significant other, you must make time for just the two of you. Alone. Without the baby. In fact, make it a pact to talk about non-baby related topics while on your date.
For dads-to-be, the day their son or daughter is born can be filled with anxiety, or even terror. Try not to be afraid and embrace your new role as “Dad”. Remember, this child will look up to you forever, so be that Dad that sets the best example and role model for your kid.
Emotional Highs and Lows Associated with Pregnancy
Being pregnant brings emotional highs and lows causing mood swings. Both planned and unplanned pregnancy not only causes physical changes to a woman but emotional changes as well. Your body is adjusting to the additional hormones and the additional stress that pregnancy brings. You may laugh, cry, and feel nervousness or you may feel many emotions at once. Having mood swings are a very normal part of pregnancy. There are several simple steps you can take to help you through the ever-changing emotions of your pregnancy.
You will feel better, emotionally and physically if you follow these suggestions:
- Get plenty of rest and relaxation
- Exercise and take walks
- Spend time bonding with your partner
- Visit with your love one and ask for their support
You may be experiencing feelings of concern and fear about becoming a parent. There are many upcoming events that you may be thinking about. You may be worried about the baby’s health, giving birth, whether you will be a good parent and the effects a child will have on your life. Let’s list and discuss some common fears you may have.
What if something is wrong with my baby?
Every mother-to-be has this fear. It is comforting to remember that most babies are born healthy. By eating right, avoiding risky behavior and having regular prenatal care you are doing all you can to support the health of your unborn child.
I am scared of giving birth, I am afraid of the pain
Fear of pain is a common concern with expectant mothers. It is important to be educated about the birthing process so you will know what to expect. Make sure you attend childbirth classes to learn what you will be experiencing, how to ease your labor pains and the options for pain medication. There are medical interventions, like an epidural, that will eliminate the pain during labor. Knowing the options available will lessen your fears.
What if something goes wrong in the delivery room and my baby has distress?
Even if your delivery does not proceed the way you planned, be confident that you and your baby will be fine. You have selected a doctor you trust and who is trained to handle any unexpected problems.
What if I am not a good mom, I don’t know anything about taking care of a baby?
For almost a year, you have been consumed with planning and
preparing for your new baby. You made an important decision to create a new
life; you spent your time and energy planning to conceive; and you discovered
that it was a success! For the next 9 months, you experienced the ups and downs
of pregnancy, and you planned for your new baby’s nursery. Now, it’s almost
time for your new bundle of joy to come into the world. When your little one
finally arrives, you’ll go on the adventure of your life—parenthood! Not only
will you love and care for your newborn’s body, but you will have a vital role
in shaping his/her mind and soul.
While there is no preparation for taking care of a baby that is as good as hands-on experience, education is a helpful tool. You can take newborn classes, read parenting how-to books, talk to other parents who have new babies, and obtain support from your family and friends.
I am scared my life will never be the same again?
You are absolutely right! Your life has changed. Your baby will require your time and attention. You will be needed physically and emotionally and that will take time away from activities and commitments you are used to doing. You do not have to give up your previous lifestyle. However, until your child is older, you may need to alter your plans and adapt your activities to include your new baby.
Making Time for You after Having a Baby
Whether you are a stay-at-home mother or a mom who works, chances are, you are very, very busy. Unless you have a nanny or relative to help you with your children, then you certainly have a lot of work to do. Raising children is very difficult, yet very rewarding. As they say, “It is the toughest job you’ll ever love!”
With that said, many women will nod their head when they hear the question, “How can I get some ME time after my baby is born?” A few women might still be asking this question as their child moves into toddler stages and throughout the child-raising years. This is perhaps one of the toughest things as a parent, and one that many parents feel guilty about even thinking!
Yet, even the best parents do need a little time to refresh their minds, bodies and souls. Children can be trying at times. There is a lot of crying, whining, pooping, spitting up, messes, bumps and bruises, inquisitions, and once the baby is able to think independently, this is another difficult stage to try to “reason” with a child who has a mind of their own. At times like these, any mother, no matter how great of a parent she is, may feel like her patience is wearing thin!
Working parents often feel guilty over wanting “ME” time, as they are already gone all day while working at their jobs, so the only time spent with their children are those hours while not at work. So, it can actually feel like a rather selfish request to want time for yourself, when children also want that time with you, especially if there is not a lot of time to go around. This can be stressful and can make you feel like a ticking time bomb! Let’s not forget about your mate. Your husband also wants his time with you. Perhaps other people do, too. This is when many moms begin to feel most overwhelmed and wish they could find more time to themselves. How many women out there have neglected basic needs, such as taking a shower or going to the gym, or shopping and other seemingly mundane tasks? Going to the supermarket alone can feel like a giant break, especially when everyone is pulling you in all directions.
Before you check yourself into a mental hospital though, please understand that it does get easier. When the child begins going to school, you may still be very busy with extra-curricular activities, but at least you will get a good seven hour break for five days a week. However, up until that point, you really have to make a concerted effort to make time, no matter what.
Making time for you DOES make you a better parent. Sometimes just that one to three hour break, or occasional overnight trip, actually makes you happier and more joyful to spend time with your little ones. It gives you time to miss each other. It is normal and healthy, and your kids will see how important it is that you do have self-respect and value your time enough to take care of yourself. It sets a good example to them, as long as you do healthy and productive things with your time.
For example, you could sign up for a class. Think of something you always wanted to do, like painting or photography, for example. Go ahead and sign up for it! Chances are, the class is only a couple of times a week and will make you feel really good. You will be able to surround yourself with adults instead of being with your child 24/7.
Here are some other ways you could make time, just for YOU:
- Enroll in a workshop or class, even for a hobby or special interest
- Join an exercise class, such as aerobics, yoga or even working with a personal trainer
- Go to the salon once a week for some self-care and pampering, whether it is your hair, nails or a massage
- Call a friend and go to lunch at least once a week
- Have a date night with your hubby at least twice a month
- Go on a retreat with some church friends or through another social club
- Join a group on meetups.com or another networking club in your area
- Every once in a while, go dancing or shoot billiards or do something “fun” with friends. If you are too tired due to the children, start earlier and be home by midnight or so. It will be worth it!
These are just a few of countless ideas, but maybe you already know what you would like to do. Write down a few things that you always “wish” you could do if you had the time, and then don’t feel guilty about setting aside the time to do it. If you do not plan it, then the day will never arrive! You will always stay stuck in the cycle of being a parent or an employee, wife, etc. but never having your own identity. This is not healthy, so DO make time for YOU! You deserve it.