I am almost 39 weeks pregnant and for so long people have kept saying to me: “I bet you can’t wait until the baby is here” and the truth is…I can wait. I am happy to wait.
I am in a bubble right now where everything is fine. I can feel the baby moving so I presume they are content. I am sleeping well and have had such a lovely pregnancy with no aches or pains. I am not being judged about how I am as a mother with feeding, sleep routines, etc.. Plus, my mental health is currently the best it has been for a while.
It’s such a lovely place to be in – the present moment. This is what I’ve been trying to achieve ever since I read ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle.
Yes, there have been times that guilt has opened the door of the past:
- “Why didn’t you save more money for maternity leave?”
- “In fact, why have you never been good with finances and savings?”
Whilst anxiety has been trying to pull me into the future:
- “How will you cope on your own with limited sleep?”
- “How are you going to manage working full time during the school holidays?” *yes, I fully realise how far into the future this is.
The past and future worries haven’t stuck around for long when they have visited, a lot of the time I’ve been able to observe my thoughts and watch them move on. At other times I have managed to put things into perspective which has made the worries shrink.
From 20 weeks pregnant, aside from the “Do you know what you’re having?” question which was often met with shock that I had opted for a surprise. The main question people had started to ask me was whether I had bought anything for the baby yet. I hadn’t and I didn’t plan on doing so for a while. This filled some people with angst which I didn’t allow to get stuck to me, until it did…was I being a bit ‘too’ laid back?
Should I have been on a baby goods buying spree like many were suggesting?
I know that a part of me didn’t want to tempt fate with buying things too early, I was just getting over the bleeding scares I had encountered earlier on in the pregnancy. The other part was simply not wanting to prematurely have my space taken over by baby paraphernalia – I wanted to enjoy this me before moving onto another stage of me.
Although I wasn’t prepared with the tangible goods I certainly made up for it in other ways. I was once fondly nicknamed the ‘Course Whore’ by a friend because I loved learning and personal development and that didn’t stop with pregnancy.
To get myself prepared and feel the best I could I:
Joined a solo mum coaching course
Myself and six other pregnant women joined a ‘Thriving Solo’ course delivered by The Stork and I, to discuss aspects of being a solo mum by choice and get advice on how we could best be prepared for it. Not only did we learn practical things but through WhatsApp we have become a support community. It’s been so helpful connecting with women going through a very similar path to me.
Completed a hypnobirthing course
This was a non-negotiable after hearing a lot of positive birth stories from women themselves who had been on a course. The course was just what I needed to keep me calm not just when thinking of labour but during the pregnancy. The course I attended was expertly and lovingly delivered by Kathryn from ‘My Sacred Birth’ and was so informative but more importantly it gave me the confidence to know that it is my choice on how I birth my baby. I was given the tools and knowledge to be able to back up the confidence and the hypnobirthing affirmations and meditations slipped right into my routine.
Booked a doula
Listening to The Stork and I podcast one day I was captivated by an interview with a doula who offers support in pregnancy, birth and postnatally. I enjoyed the podcast so much that googled Mama2Mama doula to find out more and saw it as a sign when I saw that she covered Leeds. I contacted her immediately and we arranged an intro session. I got the best feeling about Lorraine and although I have my friend as a birth partner, I wanted someone else on my side too so it was a no-brainer to book her services.
Attended NCT classes
I have a lot of friends who have young children but they’ve already started their journey and are back to work and are navigating toddlerhood and beyond. I joined the NCT class as a ‘buy-a-mum-mate’ so I could go through this journey at the same time as other new mums who were in my area so we could support each other as well as meet up during our maternity leave. I was a tad nervous joining the class knowing that I would be the only solo mum there but I contacted the facilitator ahead of time to let her know (that was a tip from the solo mum course) and I couldn’t have felt any more welcomed. The course was intense but actually really helpful and it’s so lovely now to see all the babies being born and the support coming in already. 6 babies born, 2 to go – which includes Little Bug.
Found a therapist
One thing that has been playing on my mind when anxiety rears its fearful head, tugging me into the future is that of postnatal depression (PND). It’s estimated that in the UK 1 in 10 women will deal with it but I personally think it’s higher than that as many will not disclose it. My worry was that doing this alone I could suffer from it so I decided to look for a therapist that specialised in PND beforehand. Knowing how I am when I am at my lowest, I would struggle to open up to a friend, doctor or health visitor about it and the last thing I would want to do is start searching and vetting therapists. I’ve already had a few sessions with the therapist and she now knows about me and my journey so if I do need her, we are not starting from scratch.
Sorted out life insurance and a will
Another suggestion from the Stork and I was to get a will sorted so if anything was to happen to me then there would be named guardians for Little Bug as well as some money to support them. It’s not the most pleasant activity to do but it made me have those important conversations and gave me piece of mind.
Had a maternity photoshoot
After so many people recommended that I have a maternity photoshoot to capture that memory of myself and baby bump as it’s something that you soon forget having whilst missing at the same time I decided to listen to them and booked myself a session with Sarah Walton Photography. Ahead of meeting Sarah I was put at ease about what the session would entail so when I arrived on the day of the shoot it didn’t take me too long to relax. It was an afternoon well spent and I soon got the hang of where to put my hands and how to point my toes and although there were times I felt uncomfortable looking into the camera I really did enjoy it. The photos are breath-taking so I am pleased that I did give in to peer pressure.
Created Mama Hallers Minions
I cheekily created a WhatsApp group using the above name and added a few of my male friends to help me with things around the house. Not only have they allowed me to call them my minions but they have stepped up to put up artwork and mirrors, build beds and other furniture, change light fittings, fit car seats and put things in the attic. It’s been so great having them help and in return I’ve fed them with thanks and food.
Looking over the list, it does seem like a lot of prep has gone into me. Did I need to do all these things? No. But I am glad I did each and every one as they have most certainly helped with me staying in this present moment, as well as given me more confidence in myself and abilities. One thing I didn’t realise until a bit later was how much it highlighted that as much as I say I am independent and therefore struggle to ask for support, I really don’t. I have been clutching on to an old belief for so long as all the above happened because I requested it. I asked for support!
Perhaps I was laidback about the tangible goods as from early on in my pregnancy I have had an offer of everything you can think of. It is wonderful how a community has come together to surround me, a village created in front of my eyes. I’ve had cots and cribs and bouncers and clothes and prams, you name it – given to me. On top of that the gifts, offers to stay over and help with the baby, cook meals, babysit etc. has come from so many people. It has made this lass’ eyes rather damp on more than one occasion and I am truly grateful.
Whenever Little Bug decides they are ready to join my world, to disrupt it and make it into something new – I am now ready for them – physically and practically.
A beautiful new adventure awaits and I really hope that I can continue living in the present and enjoying every moment I have with my baby because as a friend said to me the other day ‘the days are long but the years are short’.
So, here’s to savouring the moments.