Mind Over Matter: Mindset Optimization in Month 9

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I’m 37 and 1/2 weeks pregnant, and Baby C could come any day now! My excitement mounts as the big day draws nearer, but I also understand the value of these last few preparatory weeks before Baby C makes his or her debut into the world.

I’ve heard that the last month of pregnancy can be very difficult for many moms-to-be, especially first-timers. This is because nervous anticipation, a general aura of impatience, and ever-so-slight dark clouds of worry can threaten our positive mindset in the home stretch of pregnancy. But never fear–here are 5 ways to manage negative thoughts and optimize our mindsets in the final weeks!

Here I am at the beach at golden hour this past weekend, enjoying a relaxing sunset date with Antonio.

Here I am at the beach at golden hour this past weekend, optimizing my mindset on a relaxing sunset date with Antonio.

  1. Be prepared – This is the single best way to prevent unnecessary tension now, on your delivery day, and after you bring your baby home. By week 34 or 35, make sure you have packed your hospital bag, not only with your necessities, but with a receiving blanket and an outfit or two for baby. Here’s a great blog post I used when packing. Wash all the baby’s receiving blankets, crib sheets, and clothes, install the car seat, assemble the crib, and organize the baby’s room (or the corner of your room where baby will sleep for the first few months). Ask your OB/gyne for a list of recommended pediatricians, and program the phone number of your hospital into your phone (and your significant other’s phone, too). And finally, create a going-into-labor plan with your SO, or whoever will be bringing you to the hospital. Having all these details worked out ahead of time will give you peace of mind now, and make your life so much easier on the big day.
  2. Bond with your hubby – Your significant other has most likely been the most active and involved member of your pregnancy support system, and will continue to fill this role during labor and delivery and throughout baby’s life. Enjoy date nights at your favorite places, and embrace the romance and excitement of this special time. And make sure to snuggle–your oxytocin will skyrocket, a trend that will continue after your little one enters into the world.
  3. Stay active – I’m a huge advocate of staying fit during pregnancy, and the last weeks should be no exception. The All-Belly Pregnancy workouts, coupled with prenatal yoga and cardio, have been my fitness staples throughout pregnancy, and I’m still practicing both routines. However, my cardio on the treadmill was becoming annoying because Baby C has descended and is pressing on my bladder, so in the last month, I’ve taken to swimming for 30 minutes three times a week as my cardio. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, listening to your body is more important than ever, so don’t be afraid to tweak your exercise regimen.
  4. Focus on accomplishment – Throughout the last month of pregnancy, I have had an almost feverish creativity and drive to succeed. I just finished and released the last book of my Amish series, Amish Awakening: Rebekah and Braeden’s Book, and am promoting it hard-core. I also am nearly halfway finished writing the first book of my new YA Mermaid series, The Mermaid’s Curse. I feel so motivated to finish the book before Baby C arrives, and this desire is really spurring my work ethic and creativity. If you’re still working, make it a point to finish projects and give 100%. That way, you’ll be able to take your maternity leave on a high note, and transition smoothly back into the workforce when the time is right.
  5.  Enjoy, enjoy – Be thankful for all the beauty of these last golden weeks of pregnancy. Enjoy the baby’s kicks, the quality time with your family and friends, and the exhilaration this special time brings.

Moms-to-be out there, how are you optimizing your mindset in the prego home stretch? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Prepping for Baby: Hospital Tours

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The last few weeks of pregnancy remind me a bit of the final stages of planning a wedding–there’s a ton of excitement and energy, and it seems like there are so many things to do! Luckily, I’m kind of a natural organizer, and Antonio and I have had a fabulous time prepping for Baby C: ordering last minute items from Amazon, figuring out the car seat and stroller situation, and washing all those adorable tiny little clothes and swaddle blankets. Our next project: packing our overnight bags for the hospital. Several of our friends have delivered before their due dates in the last few weeks, and we’re wondering whether Baby C will also arrive early, following the cue of his/her future playmates, or decide to arrive fashionably late to the event of life. 😉

Just like wedding planning, prepping for a baby can be mind-bending, and there’s always that danger of becoming bogged down in the minutiae. As an avid reader of pregnancy blogs, I’ve seen some trends that I just don’t get, like writing out a totally specific down to the last detail birth plan when–guess what?!–there are some things that you just might not anticipate, and then you’ll have to leave it to the professionals anyway! However, one super-useful and often-overlooked preparation I’d recommend is a hospital tour–especially after Antonio and I had ours this past weekend.

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A word of caution: These things fill up fast, so plan accordingly. I had to call a month and a half in advance to book our tour, but it was so worth it. First, Antonio and I discovered the parking areas at our hospital of choice, so there will be no “OMG, where do I park” scenario when we’re running on adrenaline. We also turned in pre-registration papers, including our insurance information, which will facilitate our check-in. Our tour guide was knowledgable about the layout of the hospital and the entire birthing process, and we had ample time to ask questions and, in many cases, allay our fears. Hospital tours are a must for first-time parents; before we actually went on the tour, I’d imagined that it might be useless, and we’d probably just see a birthing room and leave, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Moms-to-be out there, have you taken a hospital tour? If so, what aspects did you find most helpful? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Time Capsules: Looking Forward to Looking Back

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I have always been a huge fan of time capsules. There’s just something amazing about taking a snapshot of our lives on any given day, knowing that it will be tucked away and revealed on a later date. Time capsules lend a sense of relevance to the present day, while promising to bring back a glorious flood of memories in the future.

Recently, Antonio and I celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary, and we opened the champagne bottle time capsule we’d made on our wedding night. A little background: At the reception, we’d placed 1-year and 10-year champagne bottle time capsules on the card table, and our friends and family had written down their anniversary wishes for us at the 1-year and 10-year anniversary marks and placed them in the respective bottles.

We had so much fun breaking open the 1-year champagne bottle and reading the wishes. Check out the video we made here. Reading everyone’s wishes brought back such a wave of nostalgia, especially coupled with the fact that we’d just returned from visiting Chicago and seeing many of our friends who had written the messages.

Here I am on our 1-year wedding anniversary in Chicago, on some friends' rooftop at golden hour!

Here I am on our 1-year wedding anniversary in Chicago, on some friends’ rooftop at golden hour!

This got me thinking about how cool it would be to create a time capsule for Baby C–nothing special or time-consuming, just something simple and fun like the champagne bottles. So, I decided to write a note to Baby C. Antonio and I plan to present the note to Baby C as soon as he or she can read.

I am now at just over 35 weeks, and Baby C could decide to come along any day! In this time of blessed anticipation and preparation, it is my wish that our note to Baby C captures the immense love that surges through both of our hearts whenever we think of our little, soon-to-be-revealed cutie. I believe that writing time-capsule notes to our babies–while we’re still pregnant–can convey the optimism and beauty that so many of us feel during our pregnancies, and I’m hoping that Baby C will cherish the note in years to come.

Preg moms out there: Have you ever thought of doing a time capsule for your baby? Has this blog post inspired you to write a note to your own soon-to-arrive little one? I’d love to hear your thoughts!