I always knew I wanted to become a mother. Some of my earliest memories involve dolls and playing house. I often thought about what I would name my children, how many I would have, and who I would marry and what kind of dad he would be. I also loved to baby-sit and work in the church nursery. I just loved babies and could not wait until I had one of my own!
When Ben and I got married, I knew that we needed to wait a few years until we had kids, but would have started trying right away if he wanted to! We finally agreed to wait three years until we started trying, which turned into two years, but it was almost 3 1/2 years before we actually had the Captain.
I do wish, now that, we had done more things as a couple before we had kids. I feel like we spent so much time working and not enough time just hanging out with each other and enjoying each other’s company. His job was pretty stressful at times, as was mine, and we were spending too much time without really “unwinding.” You see, we both started our first “grown-up” jobs right after getting married. I don’t feel like our marriage suffered because of our job, but we definitely should have taken a few more breaks than we did. “Breaks” for us was going to Walmart or out to eat…seriously! So, here are some things that I should have done and also some things I did do and I’m glad about it. As you begin trying to conceive and having kids, know that you will need to start taking advice with a grain of salt, because the advice will FLOOD in. With that said, this is only my personal advice so feel free to take it or leave it.
Please leave your “I wish I would have” or “must do before pregnancy”…in the comments section.
1. Go on a trip with your husband. I had heard lots of people talking about a “baby moon,” which is defined as “a relaxing or romantic vacation taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born.” That’s great and all, but I wasn’t a very good pregnant traveler. I was nauseated all day, every day for the first trimester, had to pee every hour, was uncomfortable, had heartburn, needed lots of sleep, and probably was more unpleasant than I actually remember. PLUS, I was paranoid about having the baby early (haha!) and felt I needed to stay close to home. Needless to say, traveling while pregnant wasn’t a good idea for me, at all. What I wish that we would have done is taken a long, leisurely vacation before we got pregnant. We had been married for 2+ years when we decided to start trying to conceive, and a cruise or other relaxing vacation would have been nice. Now we have been married for 10+ years, have three kids, and while family vacations are awesome, I don’t see us taking a couples’ vacation alone for awhile. It just would have been something nice to create extra bonding time and memories.
2. Take a look at your diet. Now, I’m not saying go all out and google “pregnancy diet” and start an extreme fruits and veggies diet. If you want to, then go for it, but you really don’t have to eat anything specific to get pregnant. Some women say that losing weight and exercising helped, but it’s not a necessity. DO look at what you’re eating and see where you could make better choices to make yourself healthier and your baby-to-be healthier, too. If your diet consists of packaged, processed foods, consider swapping out some with real food. If nothing else, you will feel better. And, it might make morning sickness easier and make it easier to eat healthy during pregnancy if you start now. Save these high protein snacks for pregnancy, for when the time comes!
3. Look at your budget, spending habits, and insurance. I don’t think you can ever have “enough” money to have a baby, but I do think couples need to have an idea of their spending habits and see if there are any ways they could cut costs if they need to. You don’t want to pay for a baby with credit, so make sure you understand your maternity insurance and decide if you need to cut out a luxury. 10 months of extra cable channels could give you a nice chunk of change that you can spend on hospital or midwife bills when the time comes. Just be smart when you’re spending. Check out this post about reseller financing options!
4. Start taking a good prenatal vitamin. There are a lot of great, non-prescription options, in many different forms. Liquids, powders, capsules, and the traditional pill form. Read the labels, talk to your doctor or nurse, make sure it has enough folic acid, and choose real food vitamins whenever possible.
5. Don’t read any pregnancy books….yet. Again, this is just my personal advice, but 40 weeks is a loooooooooong time when you are pregant and anxiously anticipating your arrival. Unless you have a high stress job or hobby, you WILL have enough time to read a few books, magazines, and online articles about everything pregnancy, babies, and beyond. There’s really no need to read about the different types of baby poop when you aren’t pregnant yet…unless you just really want to!
6. Get a hobby. It doesn’t take much time to create a baby, (wink, wink) but it does come with a LOT of waiting. If your cycle is regular, you have about 28 days between periods to sit around and you do not just want to sit around waiting for that positive pregnancy test! I enjoyed gardening to help keep my mind from obsessing about getting pregnant, but I also played games online when Hubby was at work or on a trip during the summers when I wasn’t working. It’s very, very easy to be consumed with everything about babies and pregnancy. Don’t let your mind dwell there. Start a hobby now so you can just continue it after you get pregnant. Sewing, cooking, crafting, gardening, running, blogging, whatever you love and can get lost in.
7. Start charting. I have to conciously try not to get on a soapbox about this, but it helps SO much to know your body. Read my “Newsflash: Not Everyone Ovulates on Day 14” article to learn more, but just know that if you’re one of the ones without a regular cycle, or even if you really DO ovulate on Day 14 every single time, it’s important to know your body. Some women don’t ovulate until day 20 (or later) and some never ovulate at all. Charting and taking your basal body temperature every morning will shed a light on when you need to start trying to get pregnant.
Just ENJOY the days before you start trying to conceive. Enjoy your husband, get to know yourself, get ready for a completely wonderful, yet life altering change! And remember that this is the man you will be with after the kids are all grown, so build that relationship now, so it will stand firm during those sleepless nights, long days, and trying times.
When you ARE ready to try to get pregnant, take a deep breath, tell only who you want to know, and try to let life go on around you.
Here’s a helpful article I wrote to pass along to friends and family, if ttc does stress you out and people’s comments are ticking you off: “What NOT To Say To A Childless Couple Who Is Trying To Conceive.