As I tap out this week’s column, I have one eye on my Apple Mac and one beady eye fixated on a tiny baby monitor screen that shows Greta sleeping soundly in a bunny-print sleeping bag. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that that tiny little body, sans sleep suit, was stored nice and snug in my body for almost ten whole months. So, before my baby brain extinguishes all memory of my pregnancy, I wanted to tell myself, and other pregnant folk, what I wish I had known when I was housing a foetus.
Sleep comes right at the top. I was told repeatedly by friends, family – even strangers – to “sleep as much as you can before the baby!” I would scoff to my husband, “What’s with all the sleep talk? It’s not like we can store up sleep points and cash them in later!” Ha, what an amateur. Oh sweet, delicious sleep – I miss you more than anything from my former life. If I were pregnant right now, I would live permanently in my pyjamas, sleeping, bathing, watching SATC re-runs and then sleeping some more. Trust me, get some sleep now. And when you wake up, go back to sleep, even if you’re not tired, just pretend you’re asleep.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Aches, pains, trapped wind, swollen feet... it's all par for the course when you’re with bump. Find yourself an excellent OBGYN, go to all the appointments and trust what they say. And try to enjoy watching your body double in size.
3. Don’t buy too much stuff
Those nesting instincts will urge you to stock up on baby swag like you would stock up on half-price toilet rolls. Yes, Lana’s little bundle of joy may have “slept like a baby” in that eye-wateringly pricey sleep pod thing but your little cherub might just lay in it once, make her mark with a blob of luminous yellow spit-up, and scream blue murder if ever you try to put her in it again – I may or may not be talking from experience. And while I’m on the topic, don’t buy too many sleep suits – especially if your husband is the height of a NBA basketball player. As you watch those tiny little frog's legs unfurl and stretch out four days after the birth you will understand what I mean.
4. Trust your instincts
Right about now, you may feel like you’re in way deep and there’s no turning back. I mean, you don’t even know how to change a nappy, never mind how to hold a floppy-necked newborn. Relax. When your babe arrives, your mama-bear instincts arrive too. So take it from me, please don’t lose precious sleep (see point one) over pre-baby anxieties. Trust me, you’ve got a ton of worry heading your way, so for now, revel in the fact you only have to agonise whether to order a poke bowl or Thai for dinner.
5. Say goodbye to the girl who danced on tables in Mykonos...
Who crawled home at 2am and ate last night’s pizza for breakfast; bid farewell to the girl who had the luxury of taking 50 minutes to groom her eyebrows and who could destroy a novel in two evenings. Now you're pregnant, soak up those endless evenings of watching Netflix into the wee hours and enjoy these last few months of you because it's about to get real. You’re about to enter into the biggest role of your life: a super-strong mama, who can change a nappy in 30 seconds flat, survive on two/three/four (delete as applicable) hours' sleep, juggle a relationship, career and a babbling baby. Believe me, you will look back at the former ‘you’ in disbelief – did I really squander all that time Insta-scrolling?! – and be in genuine awe of the woman you have become.
Photos: Jade Chilton