After a VERY busy show week during my third trimester, the start of maternity leave was a very welcome change of pace. For a good three days, the traditional post show come down ensured that days at home with a quick trip out into the sunshine was as hectic as the schedule became. Now on day four, I’ve realised that a longer post show recovery time is needed when nearly eight months pregnant, however my thoughts have started to turn to the next few weeks before baby arrives.
So many people have told me that as it’s our first child, I’m in a rather magical position where I can really enjoy a few weeks. With any future children, I will have our first to look after so relaxing days at the spa will no longer be an option! Therefore, I feel like I need to be prepared; you can feel there’s a list coming up can’t you…? Well before the obvious pre baby maternity list of dreams, first I’ll list the most popular tips I’ve been given from friends, family and various forum members.
– Sleep, get as much sleep as possible, if there’s time for a nap, TAKE THE NAP! (I cannot emphasise enough how many people gave me this tip..! If only getting a good nights sleep wasn’t so tricky with a ridiculously active baby bump!)
– Spa days, spa lunches, trip to the spa, manicure, pedicure, get thee to a pampery! (Financial constraints allowing of course!)
– Bake, sew, knit, decorate, any creative pursuit, whilst the time is here, DO, MAKE, CREATE!
– Get away for even just a couple of days with your partner on what is now fashionably known as a ‘babymoon,’ before you both get knocked sideways by the early days of parenthood, book in a few days to relish some quality time together.
There were many more weird and wonderful suggestions, including a link sent to me for a half day out of falconry…as someone who is terrified of birds, a fear that’s only been more severe during pregnancy, even the accompanying picture on the link made me need to put the kettle on and have a sit down..! However the above four were the definite favourites and mentioned almost with every recommendation. The main restriction for most families is of course financial constraints, as much as I’d love to temporarily move into a spa, the treatments don’t come free.
However these days, websites such as groupon, wowcher and living social can be a new Mums best friend! As well as offering up some great local ideas including UK breaks, they are all advertised as cheaper than normal. Another benefit is that these discounts are sometimes only open for people who can go in off peak times for the various companies which of course, on maternity leave we can do! If you don’t mind hunting around yourself, you can often get discount prices for spas, restaurants and hotels if you’re able to go mid week or outside their popular times. Not quite as easy if you’re maternity leave starts during school holidays but luckily for me, my more restful weeks fall just outside of those!
So without further ado, I made a list of the things I plan to do before baby arrives, my ‘pre baby bucket list’ if you will! I’m sure there’ll be some things I don’t manage to get round to and depending on when baby decides she’s ready to make an appearance, I may end up with slightly less or more time than anticipated!
1) My husband and I are currently scouring the websites for potential babymoon options as a couple of relaxing days away sounds very appealing!
2) A spa day, whether it just be hanging out by a pool or having a specific treatment, either sounds like a treat to me!
3) A trip to the theatre, where I only have to be there just before showtime and can leave when the curtain comes down. I adore working in theatre but being heavily pregnant, being an audience member would be a real treat!
4) I have very nearly finished collating a collection of poetry I’ve been writing over the past couple of years and I feel now is the time to finish it, I can’t see it staying a priority once the little one arrives!
5) Do two dinner date nights. We watched a horrendous reality programme the other day where a single looking for love goes round to three peoples houses, has dinner and then rejects two of them by sending a microwave meal for one, when they are all ready for a date out for two! Although that might not seem to be a particularly good precursor to romance…we plan to go to the supermarket, separately get ingredients for a three course meal. And then for one night each, cook a three course meal for the other, set the table, get ready (nothing fancy but not in pyjamas!) and ban all talk that normally interrupts a night in; ‘did you reply to the estate agents about the bath sealant/should we sort out the shed/what date does the internet bill come out again?’ A proper romantic night in, times two!
6) Finish our pregnancy journey scrapbook, it’s a present to our baby, one she probably won’t even be interested in but with little anecdotes from the pregnancy, how we both feel, events in the news, what music, films etc are popular right now. A keepsake from the year she was born. The idea is to include the first few months of her life as well but who knows how thoroughly I’ll do it once I’ve got baby sick in my hair roughly two hours sleep a night and all the rest..!
7) Get our baby’s bedroom decorated, rather more practical than the rest and we’re not even doing anything particularly dramatic but we do want to put a few little things up so that when baby arrives, the room is ready!
8) Have the girls over for a night in! There’s no better therapy than a night of giggling with the girls, Sainsburys do a fab non alcoholic wine so I can even really feel like I’m treating myself!
9) Plan and have a baby shower – yes yes it’s an an American thing really but a chance to get excited about the upcoming arrival, play those daft games you play at baby showers and get together with friends? Sounds like a great use of an afternoon to me!
10) Compile a list of films and books I always mean to watch and read but never normally find the time to do so. Baby brain makes remembering them at the time I think about sitting down and doing so near impossible so at least with a handy list available, it could at least shortcut the three hour debate that usually happens before films are selected!
11) Keep up with the articles, I’m currently being paid for one or two articles a month for a magazine publication group and only started doing it in a professional capacity earlier on this year. I am determined to make sure I am able to keep it up throughout, as it has always been a dream of mine to be a paid writer and although monthly articles do not make me Enid Blyton, I owe it to myself AND my daughter to carry on with it.
Eleven isn’t the most satisfying number to have on a list but there it is! I am so excited to welcome our baby into the world, and I cannot wait for the inevitable carnage that follows, my husband and I are only prepared for the fact that we won’t be prepared. And therefore, in the calm before the storm, we are going to make the most of the maternity leave.
Us first time Mothers have no idea what is to come, which makes this time terrifying as well as exciting; it will never be as much of a mystery again, so whether you’re at the same stage, or a seasoned pro, please do share your knowledge or experience, I don’t know about my other comrades but this Mum-to-be would be very grateful indeed!