Making the most of remaining time before baby...
July 2, 2010 9:45 AM   Subscribe

I went to the doctor today and I have confirmation that I'm pregnant. How can I make the most out of the remaining ~32 weeks for me, my husband, and my new child?

I'm having our first, very planned, very wanted child. Still, I didn't think I'd be able to get knocked up this easily and it's hit me pretty hard that our lives are going to be completely different in just a few months. I want to squeeze every moment possible out of the remaning months of my (for now) uncomplicated life. I want to do fun things that will be harder in the future and things that will be special for the baby once it arrives. I feel great and I'm up for anything that is pregnant lady kosher (i.e. no roller coasters or cocaine binges).

Right now, we're planning a big overseas trip at the end of summer, going to lots of movies, eating at nice restaurants, and exercising lots. We're saving money for junior, and I'm working on a book of memories and a baby blanket.

So, parents, what do you miss most? Friends of parents, what do you wish your friends could still do with you? People with babies, and former babies, what are the best things a couple can do to prepare for a child?

I'm in SW PA, USA.

This is anonymous just because I'm still in my first trimester. After I'm out of the danger zone I will start high-fiving everyone.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
IANAParent, but many of my friends from high school are new mothers. My SO and I really enjoy going to the theatre on a moment's notice, random road trips on the weekends, theme parks, sleeping till noon and then a late brunch. None of these mothers can do this.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:51 AM on July 2, 2010

Definitely sleeping in. My alarm clock is two years old and wakes me up by 7 am, every day.

Other than that... we never went to fancy restaurants, really. If we went away, we couldn't do it on the spur of the moment, because we had two dogs to plan care for. We just did Disney with our daughter, and that was amazing. So some things change, for the better!

Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy. Take care of yourself.
posted by FergieBelle at 10:01 AM on July 2, 2010


The only thing I miss are my friends who don't have young children. We try and see them as much as we can, but it isn't as easy as it used to be. They all seem to like my kid, but when possible, we get a sitter and go out for grownups-only time with them.

I belong to a large Meetup group of parents, and one member joined while she was pregnant, something that it would have never occurred to me to do. By the time her baby arrived, she had an established support group, and knew plenty of moms with babies around the same age.

Sounds like you know what to do to make the most of your time already. Enjoy!
posted by pinky at 10:08 AM on July 2, 2010

Yes -- SLEEP IN!

I do not miss going out and partying it up, but I do miss hangovers and the resulting leisurely Sunday of sleeping in, going out for a big greasy brunch and lingering over multiple newspapers, then going back down for another nap.

If you like to cook, try and burn yourself out on your favourite elaborate dishes -- much harder to find the time and energy to make fancy stuff with a baby.

While pregnant I was pretty dogged about hitting every fund-raising "book fair," book section of thrift shops, cheap-o used bookstore, etc, and amassing a great quantity of children's classics. Somebody will scoff 'Oh, the baby's not even born yet, you don't really need the full set of kiddie encyclopedias just yet'; ignore them with confidence, as the early years will absolutely fly by and a good library is a wonderful thing for all concerned.

If you are of the thrift-shopping bent, and you have extra space? Do not limit your focus to baby clothes -- if you see a high-quality size 4T coat in good shape going for $3? Snap that stuff up; boxes of gently used "too bigs" are invaluable. It's much easier to bargain-shop and browse without a tot in tow, so feel free to take advantage of any good child-related stockpiling opportunity; it's not like a set of Playmobil is going to go bad.
posted by kmennie at 10:11 AM on July 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

I second kmennie - I had never really been a yardsaler/thrift shopper before I knew I was expecting, but once I was, I managed to amass a really fun wardrobe (and toys, and gear) for my upcoming kid for not much money at all.
posted by pinky at 10:16 AM on July 2, 2010

Avoid internet diagnoses. They all seem to boil down to 1) miscarriage 2) cancer or 3) mutant baby. We're 6 weeks away from our due date and the past 32 would have been much better if we had managed to avoid Internet Freakouts.

If you have serious questions, ask your doctor or midwife. If you need advice, ask your parents, family, or friends who have been there before.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:17 AM on July 2, 2010 [4 favorites]

Re: "it's hit me pretty hard". This hit ME pretty hard, empathy-wise. I can't say this enough: whatever you're feeling - good, bad, negative, doubtful, terrified - is OKAY. My pregnancy was much-wanted and semi-planned, but after the positive HPT, I was HORRIFIED for a good while... being locked into a huge, inevitable change was so scary. Don't feel like a bad potential mommy if your feelings aren't all sweetness and light.

And now that my public service announcement is over: DEFINITELY sleep late. Do spontaneous things - road trips, playing hooky from work, going to concerts, etc. If you get an agreeable wee one, eating out isn't out of the question - I routinely used to cart my kiddo along in his little baby-bucket and he'd snooze through dinner. Spontaneity, though, WILL be much more difficult.
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:18 AM on July 2, 2010


Anything that requires a lot of time or a lot of energy, anything that feels like you're being selfish or spoiled, and anything that requires being out late at night. You will be able to do most (if not all) of this stuff post-baby, but it will require more planning, or just be a lower priority. Get your hair done, see some midnight movies, go dancing, go see live music. Go to a late seating at a restaurant with a 7 course meal. Get a massage from someone trained to work with pregnant women. And you don't have to drink to be in a pub/bar/club (although you might want to avoid those if they don't have non-smoking laws). Bonus - everyone will adore you for being the designated driver. My favorite memory of being pregnant was maneuvering around my belly to play darts with friends in a smokeless pub at 2 AM. It's summer - sit on a beach with a good book. See LOTS of your friends who don't have kids and talk to them about anything but children. (I promised myself I wouldn't be one of those people who can't stop talking about their child, but it's harder than I thought it would be.) Go on wildly romantic and sexy dates with your partner. If you enjoy looking polished, take time to do your makeup every morning and wear all your jewelry now. Give in to your every impulsive thought - if you're out late and want to crash at a nearby hotel, just do it.

I'm so excited for you. Have fun with this, before and after the little one arrives!
posted by synapse at 10:26 AM on July 2, 2010

if you see a high-quality size 4T coat in good shape

If you do this, go the extra step and have a different box for each size. Makes it much easier later to just pull out the next box as the kiddie grows.
posted by CathyG at 10:30 AM on July 2, 2010

read: you are your child's first teacher

don't read: what to expect when you're expecting
posted by lakersfan1222 at 10:35 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Now that my parents have an empty nest, often I'll call them on the weekends in the summer only to discover that they've decided at the last minute to go camping or take a weekend trip somewhere. (They're school teachers - dad's retired but mom is still working.)

After the first couple times, I stopped being surprised at these spontaneous, fun-loving pod-people who seemed to have replaced my parents. These were the people they'd been all along -- it was just with kids they had to have a plan and stick with it.

So yes, "Give in to your every impulsive thought - if you're out late and want to crash at a nearby hotel, just do it." sounds about right.

Also, congratulations. Though my parents are having a blast now, they swear they don't regret the decades they put us first, and say they enjoy it more now than they even did when they were younger..
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:38 AM on July 2, 2010

Avoid internet diagnoses. They all seem to boil down to 1) miscarriage 2) cancer or 3) mutant baby. We're 6 weeks away from our due date and the past 32 would have been much better if we had managed to avoid Internet Freakouts.

If you have serious questions, ask your doctor or midwife. If you need advice, ask your parents, family, or friends who have been there before.

Don't limit it stuff your hear on the Internet. You're probably going to be presented with lots of troubling possibilities in the course of pregnancy. But you must remember that if it's presented as unlikely, than it is indeed unlikely. Enjoy every possible moment and worry less than we did!
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:53 AM on July 2, 2010

Sit down and read a book or 10 (not about babies) cover to cover! That's one thing I miss. My daughter is 4 months and although I can still read at night after she goes to bed or when she's napping I can't spend a Sunday on the couch reading a great new book.
posted by miss tea at 11:17 AM on July 2, 2010

Give your husband lots of lovin'.
posted by chickencoop at 11:32 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

IANAParent yet, but I'm about 18 weeks ahead of you on the same path. My wife and I have been trying to make the most of the time we've got without kids. Seeing friends is the big thing -- we've been trying to solidify all those relationships that are going to be really hard to maintain in a couple months.

Weekend trips with friends are great. You'll lose your mobility big time later on, so if you like to do things that make you tired, do them now. Keep going out to nice restaurants.

Enjoy, and good luck!
posted by gurple at 11:37 AM on July 2, 2010


Seconding miss tea's suggestion to sit down and read a book or 10 from cover to cover. Preferably outside, if the weather is beautiful. The first time I was able to do this after babyBigRedKitty was born, I nearly wept.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 12:26 PM on July 2, 2010

Congrats! I have a three month old. The old hat advice about how nothing can prepare you for parenthood is essentially true. The early days can be a confusing, overwhelming blur and you might feel like you'll never again have the time or freedom to do the things you used to enjoy. In my experience so far, that really isn't true at all.

I recommend finding a post-it note, writing "it gets easier" on it, and sticking it on your fridge, bathroom mirror, forehead, or wherever you'll see it most frequently. Before *and* after the baby comes, stay active, stay social, and make sure to find time for you and your partner, and for yourself personally.
posted by tetralix at 12:44 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh man. I miss being able to go grocery shopping after work. And hanging out with friends. And yes, going to movies. And reading books (though once the baby is sleeping through the night, you'll be able to read after he/she goes to bed.)

Just relaxing. Completely relaxing. Without-a-care-in-the-world relaxing.
posted by pyjammy at 12:45 PM on July 2, 2010

go to the cinema, go to the theatre, SLEEP!! have adult conversations which you can focus 100% on. restaurants are good, but don't feel like it's impossible to do post-baby - we did brunch/lunch on weekends everywhere with no issues (until about 18 mo - he now hates sitting still for more than 5 minutes!)

my biggest 'miss' is being by myself - i'm naturally that kind of person and so really need 'me' time to process/recharge/relax - rarely happens now!

(don't feel like you need to prepare - nothing is the same and nothing will ever get you used to 5am wake up calls! and that's after they start sleeping through!!)

congratulations and good luck!! x
posted by londonboots at 12:51 PM on July 2, 2010

On the physical side, you mention that you are exercising which is great! I recommend doing some pilates, and later in the pregnancy when you are larger than you are used to, water pilates. You'll have a stronger core, and stronger pelvic floor.

Speaking of pelvic floor, do those Kegels. Every day, many times. Fast. Slow. Whatever. Vaginal birth really does a number on your pelvic floor, and it has consequences for your quality of life after giving birth (stress incontinence, which can range from mildly annoying to embarrassing, intercourse, etc). You may even check out the EpiNo, which can help with pelvic floor strength and with avoiding episiotomy. Of course, consult with your OB before using. My OB recommended it to me.

And all the responses about sleep? Totally true. I have a kid who sleeps pretty well, and I still wish I were getting more sleep.

posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 1:15 PM on July 2, 2010

My first reaction was "TRAVEL!". Yet there is a practical thing to keep in mind: if you have any household projects in either the construction or the organization category, get them done now. Babies take a very unique kind of attention. Any task that requires focus and diligence is nigh impossible with an infant around. If you're staring at some kind of pile now, you'll be staring at the same pile for quite some time. (YMMV)
Having kids is awesome. You're joining the worlds largest secret club.
Oh, yeah...TRAVEL!
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 1:33 PM on July 2, 2010

Get a copy of Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy. Hysterical. Do NOT get a copy of the Mayo Clinic's big book of EVERYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG. My husband had to hide my copy because of the sheer panic it brought with it.

Get some materials on teaching babies American sign language. My god, sign language before they could talk made things so much easier on us. Babies can communicate their needs/desires, and so don't get frustrated, and it's easy to train grandparents/sitters/etc. on the most commonly used signs, so they know what Baby is saying. Really, Baby ASL was one of the smartest things I did. To be able to communicate with kidlet before they can talk...oh, it was fantastic.

Congrats! I wish you and your new family the happiest of times!
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:48 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nthing everyone else's suggestions of sleeping, going to the movies, sleeping, eating out at good restaurants, sleeping, and, oh yeah, sleeping. Seriously. Even with all of the pre-baby sleeping in, you will still look back fondly on those extra-long Sunday afternoon naps and think, why didn't I do that more often?

I adore my seven-month-old son, but man, I'm still emerging from the haze of the first four months of having to be up every two to three hours to nurse or whatever. I count myself lucky that J only wakes up once a night now (around 2 or 3 am) to nurse, and am so looking forward to the time when he's consistently down for a full night.

Oh, and pedicures. I know this is not every woman's thing, but getting monthly pedicures, especially in the summer and in the later months when I was ginormous and awkward, felt wonderfully self-indulgent.
posted by sillymama at 3:03 PM on July 2, 2010

Saving money for the child, as you mentioned, is a great idea. I would also save some money for yourself so you can buy some new clothes after you recover from childbirth. I cried and cried (full of hormones) when I tried on my pre-pregnancy clothes in preparation for going back to work when Baby was 12 weeks old. It's not that I wasn't losing weight, it's that my body shape had just subtly changed over the previous year. Besides, I wanted to treat myself to something cute and trendy after months of wearing all the funny-big maternity clothes.

Seconding Carmody'sPrize on the finishing of household projects. I'm too embarrassed to tell you what we still haven't finished, three years later, because the little one still can't be trusted around paint and tools.
posted by Knowyournuts at 3:52 PM on July 2, 2010


Everybody and their great aunt will be giving you advice. Smile and nod then completely disregard it.

Trust your own instints.

Travel is great. Sleeping in is even better.

Really though, relax and enjoy this time. It's full of not knowing and all kinds of anticipation. No matter how many times you go through it you will only do it for the first time once. I spent my first pregnancy freaking out about every little thing and I wish I had just takent the time to just enjoy myself.
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:09 PM on July 2, 2010

At the risk of TMI: leisurely, no-time-constraints sex (as opposed to hurry up-after-kid-goes-to-sleep-before-we-collapse-from-exhaustion-sex) is something you will be missing for a while.* If you're up to it, get in as much of that kind of thing (and just leisurely couple stuff, period) as possible.

After the baby comes, you'll only be able to manage that when you can drop the kid off w/ a babysitter and book a hotel room. And your time alone with your spouse is something you'll have to grab on the fly or plan extensively for.

Go to kid-unsuitable movies. We saw the Aristocrats right before my son was born.

*years :(
posted by emjaybee at 6:31 PM on July 2, 2010

Now that my 10 month old sleeps through the night (which he thankfully started at 4 months), I tend to wake up early so that I can get some quiet time. I sit on the front porch, drink my coffee and read the news (and AskMefi too). This is a luxury now and am willing to watch the sun rise to get it.

So relish your freedom to do this or anything else you might enjoy without having to lose sleep to get it. Seriously indulge and appreciate that you can do so uninterrupted by diaper changes, feedings, and the myriad things that will demand your atttention when your precious baby comes.
posted by murrey at 5:02 AM on July 3, 2010

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