My maternity leave officially started last week – yes it is a little bit earlier than most – I was 35 weeks and I’m now 36 weeks – but as I work for myself I’m making the most of the flexibility, especially as my health hasn’t been on top form.
It feels quite difficult to plan the time I’ll have off when I don’t know how long I’ll actually have. It’s like there’s an impending deadline that is at no set date – the baby could come at any time, really. Although I suppose the point of maternity leave is not to plan, but to rest!
I am finding resting difficult though. It obviously doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ll sit down with the intention of reading or watching a film or something and before I know it I’ll be writing a blog post, researching something or cleaning the bathroom. It’s hard to just stop!
Even though I have lots of things I want to get done, I also want to actually rest too. I’m not sleeping well – I’m up between around four to six times a night to wee and then often can’t sleep again – I’m not napping in the day and my head hasn’t been good recently either. And it’s all only going to get worse when the little one makes an appearance! So I do need to learn to rest.
Last week was actually quite busy and this one has been too, but I’m hoping from next week onwards, when I’ll be 37 weeks pregnant (which is considered full term), I’ll be able to put my feet up a bit. Here are some things I want to do in the time before the baby is born…
Packing my hospital bag
This is one I started last week so can half cross off the list. I had been already starting to make a pile of things on the bedroom floor that I wanted to pack so I wrote an actual list and started to gather bits together and, y’know, put them in a bag. Or several bags to be more precise. A big suitcase, a weekend-size bag and two ‘bags for life’. Did anyone else have this much stuff to take with them?! Granted two of the bags are baby stuff and one is energy drinks, water and snacks, but I still feel like I have loads. There are a few more bits I need to buy this week so I can add them in but then it should be there and I’ll move them all downstairs near the front door so we’re good to go.
Shopping for nursing bras
I was told to wait until around 36 weeks to do this because pregnant boobs might get bigger before then and you need an accurate idea of how big your bras will need to be. Till now I’ve been wearing wireless crop top-type bras which have felt like heaven. So there’s no way I’m going back to underwire now, especially if my boobs are bigger still! I got measured yesterday and crazily, my boobs seem to have got smaller rather than bigger through pregnancy… how is this even possible?! The lady in the shop seemed to think I was getting measured a bit early so I may go back in a week or two to get measured again, when hopefully my milk will have definitely come in, before getting any bras.
Buying Christmas presents
I’m never normally this organised but as the baby is due in early November, and I’ve heard that the first six weeks or so are the hardest with a newborn, I’m not sure we’ll have any time to go Christmas shopping as it’ll fall so close to baby being born (presuming he’s on time or late). So I want to do most of, if not all of it, over the next few weeks so I know it’s sorted. I’m going to make it as easy as possible for myself by getting gift cards for most people I think, bar kids, so that I don’t have to spend too much time shopping as I get easily tired now.
Buying birthday cards and presents to the end of year
Likewise, I have started buying birthday cards to cover family and friend’s birthdays from now until the end of December, and I need to make a start on getting a few birthday presents too. Again, trying to make things easier for myself while I still have the time! I’ve never been this organised in my life.
Decorating the nursery
Rob started painting the room last Friday and has been doing a few hours here and there since then. The room previously had a gorgeous William Morris wallpaper on one wall, which we did consider keeping, but then decided against; and the other three walls were a browny beige which made the room look really dingy. We’re agreed on white to freshen them all up and it’s made such a difference already, it’s so much brighter and pleasant to be in. We’re compromising on everything else – I wanted something quite calming like grey tones but Rob would like something fun and bright so to appease us both we’re having a rainforest/safari scene vinyl print on one wall with semi-colourful accessories dotted around the room. So hopefully it’ll be fun but not over the top. I’ll share some pictures when it’s ready!
Buying a travel system and cot
I know, I know, we’ve left this quite late but at the end of last week we went to Milton Keynes for the day and finally chose and bought a travel system. I was dreading it in all honesty, because there are so many options that it’s really overwhelming. I did quite a lot of online research beforehand which massively helped – I think if we’d have walked into shops blindly our heads would have exploded. I had three I wanted to focus on so we looked at those and compared them to others we discovered along the way. And with the help of staff demonstrations in John Lewis and Mamas & Papas we eventually went with the Bugaboo Cameleon buggy and the Cybex Aton Q car seat. It was actually really exciting in the end and I’m looking forward to getting them set up.
We’ve yet to get the cot but I don’t feel like that’s quite as urgent because if baby does come early we’ve got a moses basket we can use in the meantime. That being said, we’re hoping to get one soon so that we can get the nursery finished.
Having evening baths and using face masks
Bubble baths are the most relaxing thing ever, but I’ve been particularly enjoying them through the third trimester of pregnancy because the warm water helps my tense back muscles to relax a little. I stick on a candle and some fairy lights and usually listen to a 10 minute Headspace meditation, but I might start replacing this with a hypnobirthing recording. I haven’t spent much time listening to hypnobirthing sessions and I’d like to so that when I’m in labour I’m familiar with a few exercises and affirmations to refer to.
Batch cooking and freezing meals
I’d imagine we’re going to struggle to find the time to eat, let alone cook when the baby’s here, so I want to be organised and cook us lots of – healthy where possible – meals that we can simply heat up and ideally eat with one hand. Some meals will need rice or spaghetti cooking to add with them, but I’ve bought a load of Uncle Ben’s microwave sachets so we can do rice quickly – and pasta or spaghetti doesn’t take very long to cook.
I’m also going to buy lots of quick freezer foods like pizza, chips and sausages as well as cupboard staples like baked beans and chopped tomatoes.
The sort of meals I’m planning to cook and freeze are:
- Cottage pie
- Ragu (to add to pasta or eat with baked potatoes)
- Chilli con carne
- Bolognese (that will just need spaghetti adding to it)
- Fish pie
- Sausage casserole
I’ve even bought a load those foil containers you get when you order a takeaway so we can heat up the meals I’ve cooked in the oven and throw the tubs away afterwards, minimising any washing up!
Catching up with friends and family
There’s been a lot of this even over the last week. I’m trying to catch up with people I haven’t seen in ages before the baby comes and I become a little housebound for a while. As I write this, friends came to visit from Belper last weekend, my friend and ex-boss came to visit on her way home from a holiday up north on Wednesday and my dad came round today. This weekend I’m meeting some of the girls I’ve met through NCT for a coffee which will be lovely.
I’m planning to get going on some of the many series saved in my Netflix list while I can, but I will hopefully be able to continue this while I’m breastfeeding too, or am I dreaming?! I’m trying to pick things to watch now that Rob won’t be interested in so he doesn’t miss out on them. Some of the things on my list include:
- 13 Reasons Why
- Orange is the New Black (I still haven’t watched the new series)
- The Investigator
- The Witness
Any others you can recommend?
Other than this I’m sure I’ll be nesting – cleaning, tidying and generally getting everything ready for the little arrival and trying not to panic!
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