January 24, 2011 12:00 PM   Subscribe

What should my husband and I do in the year before we have a baby?

I'm 29 years old, and married, and a lady. My husband and I have talked (perhaps overtalked) our child-having plans, and we're aiming for 2012 for our first child. He's currently in grad school, and I'm applying for the fall, just to give you an idea of where we are.

I should also add--I'm kinda babycrazy (I honestly never was before this; I believe in biological clocks afterall!), made all the worse by the fact that two women in my office, and one of my friends are currently pregnant.

Help me feel better about waiting another year--what are some things I should do before my husband and I become parents (keeping in mind also that we are poor--so no big trips abroad, that kind of thing)? I'm not really looking for advice on how to "prepare" to have kids, as I babysit and such and am as familar as I guess I can get with what having a child requires, but more general personal growth items, or things that will be challenging to do in the future, or general readiness.

posted by Ideal Impulse to Human Relations (59 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: 1. save money; 2. get fit; 3. either relish every opportunity for sleeping in, or train yourself not to; 4. go out to dinner/to a party and both get a bit tipsy (because after the baby comes you have to take turns).
posted by dpx.mfx at 12:04 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Save money. If you're both going to be in school during the pregnancy and while the child is very small, you're going to want as much cash flow as you can.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:04 PM on January 24, 2011

Start taking folic acid supplements now.
posted by Daily Alice at 12:08 PM on January 24, 2011 [9 favorites]

Learn patience. It's what I'm dedicated to doing. Maybe I was impatient to write that :)
posted by parmanparman at 12:09 PM on January 24, 2011

Have sex. A lot. Because after the baby is born, you'll be too tired. For about a decade or so.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:10 PM on January 24, 2011 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Two previous threads you might enjoy.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:13 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you want a puppy, do it now. It's so much easier house training a dog when there are no other bodily fluids you're dealing with. You can do the research on how good dogs are for kids. If you got a puppy now it would be a stable adult by the time the baby came.

Try to be mindful of the little things. Be grateful that you can be spontaneous, enjoy going out to the movies, eat at restaurants without kids meals or mascots, enjoy sleeping completely undisturbed for the whole night. If you aren't a morning person you might want to get used to getting up before the sun. On the other hand you also might want to enjoy sleeping in as often as you can.

You should also take really good care of yourself. Get in shape and stay that way. Childbirth goes much easier when you are fit, and running after a toddler goes easier too. I really recommend Yoga for the flexibility. You'll also want to start taking the prenatal vitamins. I've been told that you want at least three months worth in your system before you get pregnant.

If you have any home improvement projects that you've been putting off then now is the time to take care of them. You won't have the time, money, or energy to deal with them with a newborn.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:14 PM on January 24, 2011

Start practicing how to not be disappointed when your plans* abruptly and irrevocably change. That's called "being a parent" and seriously, it took me a long time to be okay with it. I would have been much happier if I could have accepted it gracefully in the beginning (it's really hard for a control freak to accept change with grace).

*everything from birth plans (things aren't always textbook!) to dinner-date plans (kids often get sick in a matter of minutes!) to parenting philosophies (what works for one kid probably won't work for another!).
posted by cooker girl at 12:15 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Whatever big vacation you were planning on taking, take it now. You mention you don't have the money now, but be forewarned, you won't have the time or the money later.

Any crazy adventurous things you wish to try? Skydiving? Bungee jumping? Do that now. Once the kid comes, there's this switch that goes off in your brain that suddenly says, "No way. I can't do this any more! I have a mini-me to take care of!" This happens to me nearly every time I ride something similar to Tower of Terror.

And speaking of that --- if you like amusement parks, get all your amusement park fun out of the way this summer. Once you are pregnant, you won't be able to go on the roller coaster or even the teacups any more.

Visit your friends and have your friends visit you. It becomes far more complicated to see people once you have a baby.

Read books. Lots of books. Go to the movies. Lots of movies. Go out to dinner.

Start talking to other parents now. Look for local mom groups in your area now and see what's available. Check out your options for prenatal care and birth in your area. Do your research on which model of care you would like (midwifery model, OB model) and the environment you would wish to give birth in (hospital, birth center, home). If at all possible, interview providers as you're ready to start trying for a baby or at least have your list ready so once you do POAS and get that BFP, you can call them up and schedule something with a few so you can find the one that works best for you.
posted by zizzle at 12:16 PM on January 24, 2011

Help me feel better about waiting another year

Life is good on either side of the fence, but once you cross the fence, you're on that side of the fence for the duration.

You sound old enough to deal with the financial side of things, but given your situation the idea of saving money is a sound one. Having money isn't everything, but it sure helps a lot with raising a kid.

The best thing you can do in a year before having a child is do as many spontaneous things as you can, because that's what's going to disappear completely after you have a child. Decide to go to a movie 5 minutes before show time. Go out on the town. See late night live music. Travel to places an infant/kid/teenager would either hate or make your trip a serious burden.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:18 PM on January 24, 2011

Ditto to what a few others have said, in this order: sex, sleep in A LOT, drink wine and coffee now, if you smoke enjoy now because you dare not later, definitely get fit, enjoy dinner and being out with friends without children because people generally don't mingle with others who have babies unless they do, too. Prepare yourself for mega doses of iron loss when you do get pregnant and realize now your body will need immediate supplementation by the second month or you'll crash and burn fast. I would add to the above, enjoy staying up late now, going out a lot, allowing yourself to be somewhat reckless in matters of health, wearing sexy clothing, spending as much alone time with your partner as possible, reading books, backpacking, camping, etc. I would say the two major shocks of having a newborn is sleep deprivation like you've never experienced and not having more than 30-minute blocks of peace and quiet at a time. Enjoy your solace and downtime with yourself and your partner now, because it will never be the same again until the child(ren) go to college. And speaking of college, start saving for his/her college education as soon as the child is born.
posted by zagyzebra at 12:23 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Because you're a lovely, generous person, you'd do it anyway, of course...but delight any friends/family/co-workers with newish babies with free babysitting for an afternoon or whisking their kids off to the park or whatever works to give them a break for a few hours.

As well as being a sweet thing to do - they may return the favor in a year or so!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:28 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Basically, do everything you love to do... only more so. All those things will be substantially curtailed post child, for a decade or so. If you have couple friends who do not have children, it is quite likely you will see a lot less of them for a long time. A decent chunk of your ego is going to be baby-dedicated so feed it well and good over the next year.
posted by edgeways at 12:29 PM on January 24, 2011

I'm almost all of the way through my first pregnancy. I think the best thing we did before deciding to take the plunge was read a few pregnancy books. It gave me an extra year to freak out about the bad parts of pregnancy and birth (stretch marks, acid reflux, sore joints, tearing...) and then get over it. There have still been surprises, but nothing completely out of the blue thanks to prior research. It also gave my husband some extra time to get used to the idea of being a dad, which was a pretty big mental transition for him.

It also gave us a chance to discuss and develop an consensus on tough issues like special needs children, birth defects, and infertility. Though it's likely that you won't have to deal with anything serious in your own pregnancy, it's easier to be on the same page ahead of time and know what your partner is thinking.

- If you own a home finish up whatever projects you can
- Do spontaneous things. Go for a walk. See a rated-R movie.
- Read all of the dense, interesting books you've always wanted to read.
- Learn some new, quick recipes, especially ones with high protein and/or calcium content.
- Eat giant cold cut subs, eat sushi until you're sick of it, and have lots of delicious cocktails.
- Develop a gym routine.
- Take the long way home from work.
- Take lots of pictures of yourself looking fabulous. Record this part of your life because it's not coming back once you get pregnant enough. It's vain, but I made sure to have a picture taken of myself in a bathing suit, because there is no telling whether my awesome abs will ever come back. I'm glad I have that momento.
- Even if you are comfortable with babies, your husband might not feel the same way. I made sure to get my husband some baby time to make him less nervous and showed him how to hold one.
posted by Alison at 12:29 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sleep. By Odin's shiny spear sleep.
posted by te1contar at 12:31 PM on January 24, 2011 [11 favorites]

Do any major home improvement beforehand. No time later!
posted by Omnomnom at 12:35 PM on January 24, 2011

Here is the complete list of all the things we can't do as parents (ours is now two years old) which we were able to do as non-parents:

* sleep late
* skip meals

For everything else the logistics get more complicated -- there's daycare or babysitters to deal with if it's something you really can't bring the child to, you can't just decide to do something at the last minute and then go do it -- but it's all still doable. (The first year or so is an exception to this rule. The first year sucks. After that it gets better.)

The only thing I'd really suggest you spend the next year doing is communicating with your partner about your planned parenting style; how you'll want to approach things like feeding problems, discipline, religion, daily childcare responsibilities, etc. Not because you'll be able to figure out everything ahead of time -- you won't -- but because you'll need a lot of practice at negotiating this stuff with each other, and it's better to discover any major disagreements now than when you're sleep-deprived and in the middle of it.
posted by ook at 12:39 PM on January 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

1. Try to spend as much quality time doing things for yourselves individually as well as for yourselves as a couple as you possibly can.

2. Try to work through plausible scenarios about how you'll want to arrange your lives re: (in no particular order) work, study, division of child care, division of other household responsibilities, etc.

3. Recognize that you *will* have to deal with circumstances you didn't foresee when carrying out step 2. Prepare to deal with that eventuality with good humour.

4. Learn how to use small pockets of time now, when it isn't a necessity. It will be later.

5. Get as healthy and fit as you can, both of you, but you, OP, even more so.

6. Take some time to veg. The memory of such time will feel like a dream in years to come.

7. Recognize that having a child really does entail crossing over to the other side of a one-way door. There's no particular virtue (or vice) in preferring one side of the door or the other; just be aware that it's a no refunds, no exchanges kind of deal once you choose to become a parent. Moms can never become not-Moms again.

I almost forgot:

8. If there are any burning issues that you and your husband need to resolve with each other, try to do that now. Taking long-simmering relationship issues into parenthood just makes everything harder.
posted by bardophile at 12:45 PM on January 24, 2011

Pay attention to the things you talk about with your friends. And then, after you have a baby, keep talking about those things, rather than the minutiae of your new life with an infant. I can't tell you how bored I get (as a non-parent and someone uninterested in ever being a parent) talking with people who have just had babies.
posted by something something at 12:47 PM on January 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

Lots of drinking. Not for the drinking, but for the next day. Sleep in! Get up and slowly slupp coffee. Extended hot bath! Three-hour brunch with three inches of Sunday newspaper. Then home for more napping!

That is the only thing I miss, the days of extreme laziness.
posted by kmennie at 12:57 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Travel as much as you can. If you're poor, do stuff that's nearby: interesting hikes, free museums, stuff like that. Go to the beach at night if you can, and stargaze and make out. Make happy, interesting memories for the two of you. They will be important when you are both stressed and cranky with a newborn.

Purge your junk, if there's junk in your house. You will be adding a bunch of bulky stuff to the household, so make room, and get rid of old crap you don't need. It is a lot of work and you won't have time or energy once the kid comes; and it's so worth doing. Make your home easy to clean up - no piles, etc.

Shower together. Make sure your physical relationship is as good as it can be. Make your foundation strong.

Pick an obstetrician based on friends' recommendations (may or may not be the same person as you usually see for gyno stuff) and have an appointment a few months before you want to get pregnant. When I went to see my ob-gyn to tell her I planned to get pregnant, she insisted I start taking folic acid supplements and wait at least two months.

Also, this is a little weird, but I'm going to say it anyway: kids born October-December are tricky in terms of grade placement. I've had an absolute hell of a time with schools not willing to let my very ready 4.5 year old start kindergarten, because she was born in November, past their cut-off date. You won't necessarily get pregnant as soon as you want to, but you might, and personally I'd start trying to conceive around early May so as to avoid the fall birthday issue.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:00 PM on January 24, 2011

Best answer: Build up your support network, you'll meed the support of all your friends and family in that first year after the baby comes. Maybe start babysitting for your friends so that there's an established pattern among your friends of helping each other out. If you have any home improvement plans, do them now: renovations and major projects will seem SO much more daunting after the baby.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:03 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Do the sleep late thing, as well as any hiking or biking you want to do. When I was pregnant, I was very tired and got out of breath easily.

Start going to thrift shops, yard sales and scope out Craig's List now for baby items and maternity clothing. Be sure to look stuff online to see if it has been recalled, and see if there is a way to "fix" it. (Often times there are kits to remedy the issue.) Look up what kind of car seat you want, and look for it to go on sale. Same goes for a pump if you will be working. Ask your friends what items they couldn't live without, and find those used. Decide if you want to do disposable or cloth diapers. If cloth, look for them on Ebay or Craig's list, as well as covers. Be aware that babies do grow fast - those newborn sizes may last only a couple of weeks, so don't spend a lot on them. If you get stuff ahead of time, you will save lots and lots of money. Also, ask those friends/coworkers if you can borrow their maternity stuff and newborn clothing. A friend and I did that through about 4 kids - it worked out really well. Umbrella strollers are the best, and something to carry the baby on your front or back if you are walking a lot. The huge strollers are hard to get into cars or buses and not so useful for crowded areas. Don't spend or ask someone else to spend a lot of money on one. Baby swings are great, and the jiggler seat was the only way I got to eat the first few weeks with each of ours.

Do any house/room painting you want to do now - you don't want those fumes when pregnant or with a new baby.

Unlike some above, when we were ready to have kids, it was not a big change for us - it was different, and a joy, having the baby, of course, but going out and doing We weren't going to concerts any more, we weren't hanging out drinking. Babies can go hiking and later biking. When babies are really young, if you wear them, you can pretty much take them anywhere. The biggest issue was probably sleep.

wife of 445supermag
posted by 445supermag at 1:06 PM on January 24, 2011

Save money, really talk about who will watch the child if both of you work (we were scurrying around a week before I went to work becasue he got so sick that daycare was suddenly off the table), get healthy, organize, clear clutter (garage sale for $ help), do the little things that are free (walk more, go on dates).

The things that happened that I never expected after a baby:

1. child care was a huge issue for us
2. we also didn't realize how much a nanny would cost (3-4 days @$10/hr was $$$)
3. there went Europe (not necessarily your issue)
4. there went the first year of beach trips even
5. I could not believe how utterly tired we were to the point of hallucination. See if you can at least line up someone to come one day a week so you can sleep
6. Puppy-->1 year old dog = more work. Perhaps forgoe the dog. We have our 14 year old and our 5 year old. And even with a 5 year old border collie it was hard some days. She lacked the attention and started to behave outwardly (usual border collie problems).
posted by stormpooper at 1:20 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Sleep. Travel. But mostly sleep. God how I miss sleep.
posted by gnutron at 1:23 PM on January 24, 2011

The two things that I really stopped doing as frequently as I used to do before I had a kid - we go to the movies far, far less, and out to see bands play. If you enjoy either, do them as much as you feel like now. After you have a kid, if you don't have free evening childcare, it can become quite expensive. Or for the first while, you'll just be too tired and lack the motivation to go out, even if you do have free childcare.
posted by pinky at 1:27 PM on January 24, 2011

Fly a lot! Most flying phobias have an onset concurrent with having a child. (Truth!)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 1:30 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you work, investigate your employer's leave policies and if you need to, start saving up any paid leave time you may get (sick, vacation) if you don't get paid parental leave (most don't, FMLA just entitles you to 12 weeks of unpaid leave). I got pregnant a lot faster than I expected to (as in, the very first month we started trying) and consequently didn't have as much leave saved up as I'd hoped for.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:42 PM on January 24, 2011

Clean out the garage/junk drawer/old boxes. You'll not have time later.
posted by k8t at 1:42 PM on January 24, 2011

Best answer: Figure out what your childcare situation will be. It can be incredibly complex and frustrating.
posted by k8t at 1:43 PM on January 24, 2011

Best answer: Travel to see your friends from out of the area--you will not have time to see them after your child comes.

See live music if that is important to you.

For me, I would say you should strengthen your friendships. Family will be around if they are as relentless as mine, but your friends can easily disappear because you have such little time after a baby is born. It is good to have people outside of your house to talk to about things not related to parenthood.
posted by fyrebelley at 1:47 PM on January 24, 2011

Line up lots of support. Consider whether you can move closer to family if you don't already lve near them. If family are unsupportive, try to work out with friends who may be able to help.

In the same vein, help your friends who already have kids. Make them dinner once in a while, take the kids off their hands. They may or may not be able to help you later, but at least the universe will owe you one. Okay, my logic is highly flawed there, but I'm very sleep-deprived..

Be prepared for it taking longer than you think to make a baby. Get a copy of 'Taking Control of Your Fertility'. Realise that miscarriage is very common, even if you think no-one you know has had one.

Read a few books about baby sleep. This is the hardest thing for most people. Discuss it in detail with your partner. Be prepared to feel differently about it all when you actually have a baby.

Don't assume that natural birth, breastfeeding, or attachment parenting will be as easy or as appealing as they may seem now. That may be your style, but it may not. Everything is way more complicated than it initially seems.
posted by 8k at 1:52 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, I realise you probably can't afford it, but if you can travel to a developing country, do it now. Once you are preggers you'll have to wait until the kid/s are old enough to take malaria prophylactics, ie a very long time!
posted by 8k at 2:12 PM on January 24, 2011

In order of importance:
1. Get fit.
2. Save money.
3. Figure out what your childcare plans are going to be, not in terms of philosophy "I guess we will find a daycare", but in terms of actually finding if there are infant daycare spaces available within a reasonable distance of your home/work. Around here, many daycares have a wait list time of more than one year for infant spaces (LOL). For nannies, finding out going rates etc. Talking it over with family members for babysitting, whatever path you think you would like to go down, start getting an idea of how feasible it is.
4. Don't get so set in the idea of when you are going to get pregnant, and how the birth is going to be. You may have trouble getting pregnant. The birth may not go as planned. Don't put yourself in a frame of mind where you have envisioned and romanticised and built up expectations of things happening in one particular way, because in all probability things won't go that way. Parenting is all about going with the flow; pregnancy and childbirth is just the first stage of that.
posted by Joh at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

If there are any projects you want to throw yourself into, do it now. You will not have much time to do much of anything that requires long ( hour or more ) stretches of time. You will get some hours in the evening, but you will most likely be doing 'baby administration' or recharge activities like watching 30 minutes of mindless television for the first year.

Someone send it on Mefi before, and I will paraphrase: "When you have your first child, you will have no idea where your time went when you were without child. When you have your second child, you will have no idea where you time when when you had your first child". Very true.........

And yeah, get fit. You're gonna need all the energy you can get once you get your new 'alarm clock'.
posted by jasondigitized at 2:38 PM on January 24, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all the responses!

Are there any specific books people might recommend? I have this John Gottman book (which I wasn't a huge fan of it--it was really similar to his marriage book, and I found all the examples too black-and-white) and also this one, which, I don't know, maybe half of it was helpful, but the rest way too. . . I believe the phrase is "woo."
posted by Ideal Impulse at 2:40 PM on January 24, 2011

Do more than just set aside money. Create a realistic budget.
posted by sageleaf at 2:41 PM on January 24, 2011

Sleep in. Really pay a lot of attention to the fact that you're sleeping in - the cool sheets, the light on the walls, the silence, the distinct absence of a worry that somebody small has drowned in that mop bucket you forgot to empty last night.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:45 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

get teh biggest bed you can. Failing that, try to figure out what your sleeping situation will be when you are huge and full of baby. Sometimes its easier for women to sleep in a bed by themselves when they get to the last stages of pregnancy. If you are a stomach sleeper, practice being comfortable in other prego friendly sleep positions.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:53 PM on January 24, 2011

Best answer: You've gotten a lot of good answers already, but ... start now (your husband too!) to live as if you are pregnant. By which I mean, eat organic food in preference to prepackaged, processed foods, quit smoking and drinking, try to reduce your exposures to toxins. The earlier in development that a baby (fetus... egg... sperm) is exposed to harmful things, the more harm they can do. So the very best time to take care of a developing baby is now. Do all those other relishing your time things, too!
posted by grizzled at 2:57 PM on January 24, 2011

Oh, other things I did: got rid of the teflon-lined cookware and got stainless-steel stuff (cast iron would have also been good), got rid of all the chemical cleaning stuff in our house and started using natural stuff (baking soda, vinegar, etc.), got glass food storage containers instead of plastic... etc.

I also started riding my bike to work, eating really well, etc. And as soon as I got pregnant, I found I couldn't do those things anymore, which I hadn't expected! But at least I had a good foundation for conception, right? Also, folic acid.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:08 PM on January 24, 2011

Enjoy and appreciate your body. After the amazing process of carrying a child and giving birth, it won't be quite the same body it was before.
posted by kitcat at 3:32 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Take a childbirth class. The wifely friend and I did this, and it helped no end. Also, we employed a doula who was there from the beginning of labor through birth. Besides the use of hypnotherapy, which the wifely friend really appreciated for pain management, it was priceless to have someone there who had been there at numerous births, to tell us what was going on was normal, what to expect in terms of labor pain, etc.

And yeah, have all the sex you can and take all the road trips you can. Maybe both at once. But you might need an automatic transmission for that.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:50 PM on January 24, 2011

posted by feckless at 3:51 PM on January 24, 2011

As much as I miss sleep (I actually dream about sleeping now, as in actual dreams), I'm going to go the other way and say "get used to going to bed early and getting up early". The worst part for me was the abrupt change from "sleep as much as I want" to enforced sleep deprivation.

Grad school, eh? Hrm. I will tell you this: I work full time and I want nothing -- NOTHING -- more in my life than to be a full time stay at home parent with my son. Prepare yourself that your priorities may completely change once you have a baby, and things you thought were important (grad school, hobbies, career path, etc.) may not seem like things that get in the way of The One Truly Important Thing. (I get that not all women feel this way, but understanding that quite a few women do can help you cope.)

Start understanding what the childcare situation is in your area, figure out what the best one for you (not just the best one) is, and as soon as you are pregnant let them know you're going to want to sign on. Finding childcare can be stressful, and isn't something you'll want to rush.
posted by anastasiav at 3:53 PM on January 24, 2011

See every movie in the theatre that you want to see. Eat fish, lobster, drink your favorite wine, order your burger rare, take food risks and try stuff you wouldn't normally. Gorge yourself on peanutbutter. Visit friends who are important. This is the time to fly somewhere to visit if you need to. Take a bike ride. Do something adventerous (kids remind you of both your mortality and responsibility). Sleep in. Party till 2am or later. Paint your appartment. Lift heavy things. Leave bottles of chemicals on thee kitchen floor. Hug any pets you have - lots. Befriend babysitters. Invite the parents of an active 2 year old over to your house to prepare you for what wont work as pre-babyproofing. Mount your tv to the wall above the 5' mark. Overperform at work, because next year will be different. Save your sick time. Carry over as much vacation as possible. Lastly, i'll stress, sleep. That's my short list.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:04 PM on January 24, 2011

Research day cares in your area if you are going to need one. Visit, make a favorites list, and find out how soon during your future pregnancy they'll let you get on their wait list. Infant slots are harder to come by than toddler slots, because the adult:child ratio is so small.

Learn from me: Don't buy a smaller car than you are going to need. Borrow a rear-facing infant car seat and test it in your car (if you are drivers).

Yes, yes, yes to finishing home projects. It's not just the time that you'll lack, it's the chemicals you won't want around the baby (or you while you are pregnant). If you need carpet, for example, and you are going to get regular, non-organic, get it done soon so it has a chance to off-gas before you are pregnant.
posted by Knowyournuts at 4:30 PM on January 24, 2011

I'm a guy, so I'm probably not the best person to give advice, but the only thing that I really missed after having kids was the ability to go hiking, and weirdly enough, this inability to go hiking is something that happens later on, rather than right at first.

Obviously, for the first three months or so, you can't go hiking with a newborn. After that, obviously you can stick him or her in a baby backpack and head out.

However, by the time the kid reaches the age of 2, they're getting rather heavy for the baby backpack, and so you really can't do the hiking thing for another 3 or 4 years. By hiking I mean taking 2 hour treks through the forest and up and down fairly steep terrain.

It's the same with cycling. You can't really go cycling until the kid learns to leave on a bike helmet.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:09 PM on January 24, 2011

Newly pregnant and I can food. Eat raw and undercooked food. Eat soft cheeses. Eat food that takes a long time to cook. Eat food that isn't that good for you. Mmmm.

And get dental work done while you can still get the gas.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:22 PM on January 24, 2011

Response by poster: I knew about sushi and cheese and such but. . . pregnant women can't eat peanut butter?
posted by Ideal Impulse at 5:23 PM on January 24, 2011

Save money is number one. Then prepare to relinquish the keys to your kingdom. The kid rules and becomes the all encompassing duty and passion. It never ends.
posted by JayRwv at 5:41 PM on January 24, 2011

Best answer: pregnant women can't eat peanut butter?

Being pregnant and receiving unscientific advice go hand in hand...!
posted by kmennie at 5:50 PM on January 24, 2011 [7 favorites]

Get drunk and strengthen your core muscles.

Also, practice your "looks" on other people's toddlers, like the "You aren't getting that toy and that's final and don't ask me again and don't you dare cause a scene in this store."

On peanuts and peanut butter, take a look at this thread where some users give a good rundown of why peanuts get fuzzily linked to problems. I don't know about peanut butter though. But my understanding is that in the US, there's an approved level of toxicity in all legumes. I don't know if it's changed recently or not. I've never really cared for peanuts.
posted by anniecat at 6:19 PM on January 24, 2011

In that thread I linked, I like griphus's comment the best. And I share Sidhedevil's comment on not knowing how well founded those concerns are. But, of course, you're welcome to believe and do whatever you think is best.
posted by anniecat at 6:25 PM on January 24, 2011

Do you like to be alone? Does your husband? If yes, do some of that. I am an introvert, expecting my first baby, oh, anytime now. My partner likes to go out with friends; I let him go. And then I lie around on the couch alone staring at the wall, because I know that once this little person arrives, I won't get to do that anymore for a while.
posted by linettasky at 7:20 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Get a good night's sleep at least once a week.

Spontaneously go out with friends.

Jump on a greyhound bus for Washington, DC, and see the town.
posted by talldean at 1:35 PM on January 25, 2011

There's a lot of good advice in here. I'll add something slightly different: keep in mind that you have at least a year before you have a pregnancy. Babies don't always appear in your belly when summoned, particularly in one's 30s.

My wife and I decided to have a baby, and we went on that "one last big trip". Three years later, we had been on three more "one last big trips" and were positively sick that everyone we knew now had kids. Finally, it worked out for us.

I think that less fetishizing of that "one last year" would have helped us deal with its neverendingness. Also, solidify your friendships with your geographically close-by friends. You're going to need them.
posted by gurple at 2:52 PM on January 25, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you for the comments. For those of you who might still be reading this, I sent the thread to my sweetie, and he immediatly made plans for us to go our for sushi and see a rock show.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 2:04 PM on January 28, 2011

Oh, I just remembered this: If it's your kind of thing, have sexy lingerie pictures / calendar taken. In my country at least there are plenty of photo studios who do them, my friend had a sexy photo shoot and said she is glad to have the pictures now.
Your figure's probably going to suffer a bit from childbirth.
posted by Omnomnom at 9:03 AM on January 30, 2011

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