How often do you hear of pregnancy rewards? Not often enough. Although, there is that less-than–lovely term, ‘push present’, of which I am not a huge fan. Not alone in that either. But I digress. Suffice it to say, pregnancy can be an emotional and hormonal whirlwind. One ripe with questions; an abundance of physical changes and ailments for many.
Most soon-to-be-mothers get caught up in the preparation of their baby and often forget about themselves. Growing a baby is hard work. Work that changes our bodies and our hearts forever. Thus, It makes sense to me that there should be more of a focus on the mother; not just all the things she needs to buy for her baby, or fixing up the nursery.
These are the 12 stages of pregnancy as they roll out through the 3 trimesters of pregnancy most of us are familiar with. The rewards that I speak of? They aren’t all of the monetary variety either. (But of course some are, who am I kidding?) Click through to discover some fun ideas on how to nurture yourself (or a pregnant loved one you know), with intention – from the heart…
All of the Ways in Which You Should Be Treating Yourself...
1st Trimester: Week 1 - Week 12
This is when all of those tell-tale signs become a part of your everyday life. Nausea, sore boobs, and overwhelming tiredness were my top 3. The biggest reward you can give yourself? SLEEP. Lots of it. Eat whatever food it is that you can stomach and embrace your consumption of it, with nary a worry for the calories you are consuming. For me it was ginger ale and dill pickle chips. Which, for my 2nd pregnancy totally grossed me out. In my 2nd pregnancy, I was all about lavender sparkling water and plain soda crackers.
Even though it’s all so new and hard to imagine that there is a tiny little life growing inside of you – I believe that practicing ways to celebrate your inner beauty will go a long way in validating how beautiful these things make you look on the outside. Because there WILL come a day where you feel like a hot mess. In fact, there will be many. This is the time that I heavily recommend taking a class of some sort to learn a skill that you’ve always wanted to. Join a book club, tackle a Pinterest project you’ve been yearning to get to. Do something that makes you feel good about yourself and your journey to self-improvement.
So much of your pregnancy will be focused on preparing for the baby – like getting the nursery ready, or creating a safe co-sleeping environment. Whatever your set-up, I suggest you take this time before the nesting phase kicks into gear (usually during the homestretch of the last trimester), to spruce up your bedroom. You’ll be spending a lot of time in there during the newborn stage after your baby is born. Splurge on a print that you’ve been coveting. Make or buy new curtains. Frame some pictures. Get new candles. Create a warm space of love and zen for you and your partner during the growth of your baby in your belly time too!
This is that celebratory time in which many parents decide to find out the gender of their baby. Whether or not you choose to do so – I still say the 12-week mark calls for celebration. Time for a date night, or make a splash with your friends and family by hosting an intimate gender reveal party. Even if you’ve decided to keep it a surprise – there is still cause to acknowledge and rapture in this special stage in your baby’s growth and development in the womb.
2nd Trimester: Week 13 - 28
For some of us, this is when the morning sickness ends. (Although – I was hugging the toilet morning, noon, and night with my 2nd pregnancy, so why do ‘they’ even call it that?!?!) That, in and of itself, deserves a mighty fine reward. Perhaps you haven’t been able to enjoy food the way you used to and that’s starting to come back. This is when you treat yourself to a mighty fine dinner out. Alternately, you could treat yourself to a gorgeous new maternity dress as your bump is beginning to show at this stage of the game. Finally! Proof for all of the suffering!
Joy of joys, this is actually really happening. Hard to believe, right? At least that’s how I felt. Choose this time to revel in your friendships. Spend time with them. Let them know how special they are to you in all the ways that already make you a good friend. Have some fun. Be spontaneous. Organize a girls’ weekend away to a cabin, cottage, or somewhere hot, sandy, and all-inclusive. Whatever your budget permits, it’s girl time.
20 weeks - You're Halfway There!
Big milestone. Do a little dance. Maybe treat yourself to something sexy, even if you aren’t exactly feelin’ it. Some pregnancy lingerie or a slinky dress that hugs your blossoming belly. You may not think it’s cute – but a baby belly is a baby belly is a baby belly. All are beautiful, just sayin’. Take some time for yourself to start a journal. Feeling any kicks yet? Rejoice in that action. Treat yourself to a manicure / pedicure if that’s your bag. A Star Trek convention pass. A season’s pass for the new season of Dexter. Mad Men. Whatever your jam; hook it up.
All of those cute baby clothes you’ve been eyeing? Go do that. Don’t go overboard, just pick a couple. Give back. Go through your closets and donate some clothes to a women and children’s shelter. Volunteer some time with a local children’s based organization. As cheesy as it sounds, to me – giving back often feels like a reward.
3rd Trimester: Weeks 29 - 40
Okay, you’ve made it. You’re in the final stage of your pregnancy. Now you can spoil yourself a little. How’s that belly? How’s your heart? Feeling blissed out and all a-glow or not so much? Do something holistically good for you to get you feeling fine. Start a regime of having daily smoothies in the morning. You’ll thank me later for it. Food is medicine and thus treating yourself to the actual good stuff is indeed a reward. You’ll feel more energized and good about yourself in doing so. We all do when we stick to eating healthy.
How’s that partner of yours doing? Stellar support? Lacking in that department? Now’s the time to nurture your relationship a little bit. Some couples go on a baby-moon. Not in the budget? Make it a stay-cation, or even a weekend getaway. Check out deals on Groupon, do your research. With a little clever planning and use of your imagination (get used to using that often again!), you can totally do something up at home too. Just remember to unplug and savor it.
You knew it was coming. Spa day. There’s no mistaking your voyage now and while you may be full-on into the nesting mode, perhaps planning a baby shower or tackling some house project that just absolutely HAS to get done, make clearing one full day at your favorite spa a top priority. You’re welcome.
37 - 40 Weeks: The Homestretch
Sciatica large and in charge right about now? No comfortable way to sleep? Anxious? Rest, rest, rest. Hook yourself up with a massage. Put your feet up and finish reading that book. Do something ceremonial or traditional (to you), to honour the beginning of this tremendous journey you are about to embark on. Surround yourself with loved ones and support. Rest, rest, rest, rest some more. Savor and luxuriate in sleep, in fact, because – oh, well. I won’t say it. You know.