Since becoming pregnant, more than ever, list-making has become a daily activity in my life. On crumpled post-its, on the back of receipts, on restaurant napkins, in my trusty Kate Spade journal. To-do lists, shopping lists, registry lists, reading lists, recommendation lists. It’s what busy people navigating new things do — in essence, from what I’ve heard and observed, it’s what mothers do. In the spirit of my newfound affinity for the almighty list, I present a list of The Real A, B, C’s of Pregnancy.
A is for Advice
Are you near a woman who has had a child within the last six months or 60 years? She likely has some advice for you. If she speaks for over five minutes, you will likely disagree with some aspect of it. When she was pregnant, she likely disagreed with some aspect of what the maternal forces told her. Par for the course, sisterfriend.
B is for Bump
Yes, it’s all about the bump. How’s it feel? How’s it growing? How do you fit it into something that will make you feel moderately cute/professional/formal/athletic/whatever you need to be at that moment AND comfortable? (Which brings us to….)
C is for Comfort (shoes, pillows, foods, schedules)
At some point, comfort becomes boss. So long four-inch strappy stiletto beauties. So long extra spicy salsa. So long seven consecutive, uninterrupted hours of sleep.
D is for Diet
Can you eat that? Should you eat that? Is this fish a source of Omega-3s (good) — or mercury (bad)?!
E is for Expensive
Whatever you think it will cost, triple it. And if you’re having triplets, play the lottery.
F is for Forever
While pregnancy doesn’t last forever (thank god), this new little person in your life — and the love and devotion you’ll have for him or her — will be forever. How beautiful is that?
G is for Gratitude
It doesn’t take much effort to be full of gratitude while you’re pregnant, even on the bad days. We all know people who have yearned for this experience, who have struggled more profoundly through their own pregnancies, or who have had seriously adverse (and often scary) outcomes. Deep breath, grateful heart.
H is for Heartburn
I used to have a small dish on my nightstand with two condoms in it. Now it contains colorful, tasty, fruity Tums.
I is for Industry
Remember when you were engaged and every potentially wedding-related vendor found you — on your phone, in your inbox, in your pile of never-ending snail mail? This happens again when you’re pregnant. Even the margins of your laptop are lined with diaper ads and baby food promotions. Pregnancy is an industry. Shop wisely.
J is for Judgment
Will you be staying home with your baby? How long? Will you be traveling while pregnant? Where to? Is that bag of baby carrots you’ve been snacking on organic? What about your prenatal vitamin? You will be breastfeeding, won’t you? And don’t you want to hear my thoughts on attachment parenting?
K is for Kegels (while you pee, while you drive, while you….)
You can do them while you pee! You can do them while you drive! You can do them during your morning meeting! (But you won’t want to. Kegels are annoying.)
L is for Labor
And naturally, you assume I’m talking about the labor of the BIG DAY, right? Nope. Pregnancy impacts your work life in a myriad of unforeseen ways. My advice? As early as possible, articulate how your pregnancy and soon-to-be babe will influence your schedule, your mobility, and your workload. Hopefully, you find your work environment allows you to best balance it all. Either way, stick to your guns, do what you think is best, and try to remember that becoming a mother doesn’t mean saying so long to what you’ve built professionally.
M is for Maternity Wear
Mostly, it’s pastel and hideous. It takes some effort to maintain your personal style while pregnant, but it is soooooo doable! Hunt for sales, hunt for flattering cuts, and hunt for colors and prints that make you feel like your old self. Also, a big bag or a massive statement necklace goes a long way.
N is for Names
Is there a more personal or important decision than what you choose to call another human being? As someone who spends a great deal of time and effort discovering the perfect name for fictional folks, I think not.
O is for OBGYN
Time to cozy up to your doctor! Hopefully you’ve found one by now that you absolutely trust and adore, and if you do, tell her (or him) now and again. It’s a helluva medical discipline — demanding, challenging, rigorous, AND they have to deal with pregnant women constantly.
P is for Paranoia
A dear pal of mine said, “Pregnancy, in many ways, is a perpetual state of paranoia,” and I couldn’t agree more. You don’t want to worry. You don’t want to be on guard, interpreting every sensation. You don’t want to feel nervous the morning of your check-up, but, most of the time, you are (at least a little). It’s natural; it’s because we care. It’s because we know too much, feel too much, and already love so much.
Q is for Quiet
You may find yourself wishing, at particular moments of hormone-induced annoyance, that everyone (and everything) would zip it. You want peace. You want serenity. You want quiet. It’s lovely that your neighbor popped in to say hello, and fun to have your friends over for game night, and thoughtful of your sister to vacuum your foyer rug, and then it isn’t. Then, unexpectedly, you’re done, and you’d like silence, and (I think) that’s perfectly okay.
R is for Research
You probably didn’t know that becoming pregnant would open up an entire new world of study, did you? Welcome back to school. Everything, if you allow it, can become a research project — from strollers to swaddling, bassinets to cord blood banking.
S is for Singular
One truly amazing thing about pregnancy is how “uniquely yours” it is! There are no two pregnancies alike, no two babies alike, no two mothers alike. The experience you and your partner share is uniquely yours — from your conception story to day one at home with your beautiful petite bundle.
T is for Teamwork
They often say that pregnancy invites stress to your relationship like never before, but as much as you have to prepare for baby, remember to prioritize one another, too. As your pregnancy progresses, there are things you just should no longer do, and if you’re with a loving, supportive partner, he won’t want you to, anyway.
U is for Ultrasound
Seeing your baby’s little face for the first time is pure magic — even if it’s fleeting, and fuzzy, and in black and white!
V is for Vagina
Never before, I assure you, have you thought so much about your vagina. That’s all I have to say about that.
W is for Waiting
I’m not quiiiiite into my third trimester yet, and I’ve already said, “I just can’t wait to meet him.” This is when the waiting begins to not just feel like waiting, but eager anticipation. It’s wonderful, and it’s slow.
X is for eXtra
As in extra space, extra stuff, extra money, extra love….
Y is for “You’re having a baby!”
Maybe this is a personal thing. Maybe no one else was told hundreds (okay, maybe more like dozens) of times, “You’re having a baby!” by relatives and friends and acquaintances alike. Either way, I’ve already heard this over and over. It’s always said exuberantly, through wide open smiles, always with love, and yet, somehow, it irritated me. I never knew how to respond. (I think I usually ended up nodding through a forced smile.)
Z is for ZZZZZ (sleeeeeep)
Simply, sleep will become even more important than it was before. You will treasure it. You will protect it. If you’re working too many hours, you will covet it. And — most of all — you deserve it (cause “You’re having a baby!” See? Isn’t that wearing?). Moral of “Z?” Sleep when and where and while you can, and celebrate anyone who helps make your life easier so you can. In my case, this beautiful collection of people include an extra sweet momma and mother-in-law and aunt, and accommodating, supportive girlfriends, and a truly extraordinary, dreamy husband. If I weren’t so snoozy, I really would write you each a thank you note.