Motherhood Self-Care

11 Things Every Woman Should Do Before Having A Baby

February 8, 2018
having a baby

Welcoming a baby is a joyous occasion, but it can be a stressful time as well.

Between the demands of pregnancy, the unpredictable nature of labor and delivery, and the haze of the early newborn days, it’s easy to lose sight of your own needs.

The nine months of pregnancy aren’t just a gestation period; they’re a countdown to the expiration of a previous life. That might sound a little dramatic, but it’s true.

Have a baby and your life will be forever changed. There are few things in life with such sudden and permanent consequences.

I’m a firm believer in the importance of self-care–particularly during pregnancy and postpartum. I also believe there are some things that every woman should do before having a baby.

I’m not talking about things like traveling the world, saving a certain amount of money, or going to graduate school. Those choices are personal and the pieces that shape our lives will look different depending on who we are, our background, and our interests.

What I am referring to are small acts of self-care you can perform for yourself during pregnancy in preparation for the big life changes that await you.

Whether you are a first time mom or beyond, here are the 11 things you should do before having a baby.

Having a Baby

1. Get a massage.

Go for a prenatal massage. If you have the time and disposable income, go for more than one.

What our bodies go through during pregnancy is insane when you think about it. You deserve (more than) a little pampering.

A maternity massage isn’t just a relaxing indulgence–it can also be a way to keep your body from completely falling apart. Go.

2. Buy yourself a present.

During your pregnancy, think ahead to post-partum you.

The you who might struggle to find time to shower. The you who won’t fit into any of her old clothes. The you whose eyes will burn from sleep deprivation.

Buy that future you a present now–something that won’t require much effort to wear or enjoy during those early days with a new baby.

No, a sunny scarf or simple pair of earrings won’t make the old you come back any faster, but they will be a reminder of that old you and can help you feel put together while you’re living in leggings and t-shirts.

3. Perform acts of micro self-care.

Stretch. Burn scented candles or diffuse lavender. Take long showers.

You know that aisle in Target with the face masks and fancy soaps? You live there now.

Pregnancy can be super uncomfortable. Performing small acts of self-care to combat that discomfort can make you feel human and relaxed.

4. Try not to worry about sleep.

It can be difficult to get a good night sleep during pregnancy, which can be made worse by everyone telling you to “sleep while you can.”

Try to sleep as much as your body and schedule allows, but also don’t worry about “banking” sleep for the future. That’s not a thing, and it’s definitely not something you should stress over. You’ll cross the no sleep bridge when you get there.

5. Stock up on snacks.

Life with a new baby will be hectic. Don’t wait until your new bundle arrives to build your snack stash, which you will definitely need during those rushed early days.

Do it while you’re unencumbered and clearheaded enough to remember that you don’t like raisins.

6. Rest.

Put your feet up and don’t feel guilty about it. Lie on the couch when you need a break. Choose to do nothing instead of doing something.

It will be much easier to follow this advice if you’re a first-time mom, but even if you’re a second-time mom or beyond, try to steal these quiet moments when you can.

It won’t suddenly become easier to do so later, that’s for sure.

7. Feel all the feelings.

Whatever you feel–and you will feel a lot of things–feel it without guilt.

Don’t worry about how you “should” be feeling, or how other people you know allegedly felt.

With surging hormones, mental and physical changes, and a major life transition ahead, it’s completely normal to feel everything from pure joy to abject fear.

Embrace your feelings and work through them. No guilt.

8. Enjoy date nights and family time.

Enjoy those nights with your husband or afternoons out as whatever family size you currently are.

You will eventually adjust to life with your newest family member, but never again will it be just the two of you (or three of you, or four, etc. if you already have kids).

9. Savor a moment.

Piggy-backing off that last tip, be sure to savor a moment from your pregnancy and/or your life during this time.

I’m not going tell you to “enjoy every minute” because that’s an unrealistic expectation for anyone, particularly if you were sick much of your pregnancy or struggled in other ways.

But, at some point, take a mental snapshot of a moment that makes you happy and remember it going forward.

Soon life will change in dramatic fashion, and it’s OK to celebrate the things you’ll miss.

10. Satisfy a pregnancy craving.

I’m not going to tell you how or what to eat. That’s between you, your doctor, and the Taco Bell drive-thru.

Try to eat a healthy and varied diet, of course, but don’t beat yourself up for indulging in less virtuous cravings every now and then.

11. Get in the picture.

No matter how you feel about your appearance during pregnancy, be sure to capture at least some photos of your pregnant self.

Whether it’s a few quick snapshots on your phone, or an elaborate unicorn-themed maternity photo shoot, be sure to leave your pregnancy with at least some photographic evidence that it happened.

Even if you don’t love the pics during pregnancy, you’ll cherish them for the rest of your life thereafter–and your little one will too.

Whatever you do, don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself.


9 Ways to Pamper Yourself at Home this Winter

January 1, 2018

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Happy New Year and welcome to January!

This time of year can be tough for many. The holidays are over, which means it’s back to the reality of the daily grind.

For many, “reality” this time of year means frigid weather, slippery commutes to school and work, and days that turn dark much too quickly.

Self-care is important year-round, but it’s especially important this time of year.

This past week, I shared 8 Satisfying Winter Self-Care Ideas on Reality Moms.

One of my tips was to indulge in some pampering by visiting a spa or other wellness center.

Since it can be tough to get away as a mom, I thought it would be useful to share some home pampering tips as well.

So, today on the blog, I am sharing 9 of my favorite products that help make winter a little cozier.

When you’re a mom, sometimes micro self-care is the name of the game!

As noted above, the below products contain affiliate links, but they are all products I use in my life, love, and recommend without hesitation! If you’re interested in any of them, just click on the photo!

Pamper Yourself at Home

Rest Your Eyes with a Lavender Eye Pillow + Sleep Mask

During the winter, sometimes you just need to close your eyes and pretend you’re somewhere warm.

 I love this lavender eye pillow because it can be used hot or cold, has an incredibly long-lasting relaxing lavender scent, and has a decent weight and texture.

Bonus: it also comes with a sleep mask.

Spritz Some Stone Crop Hydrating Mist

I’ve been using Eminence’s Stone Crop Hydrating Mist for almost 3 years (not the same bottle!) and I love it. I first picked some up at a local spa when my son was a newborn.

It made my face feel refreshed and luxurious, and was a welcome departure from feeling puffy and exhausted.

I’ve continued using it since then, and I still love its fresh, misty application.

It’s perfect for this time of year since it gives dry winter skin a much needed boost.

Lather on a Little Lavender Hand Cream

This is the second of three lavender scented products I’ve included on this list, so if you’re not a lavender fan, I apologize–but I love it!

My hands are a scary sight in the winter and a lot of moisturizers I’ve tried either 1) are too runny, 2) sting upon application, or 3) fail to actually moisturize, leaving my hands just as dry as before application.

This lavender moisturizer by J.R. Watkins possesses all the qualities I love in a moisturizer with a rich consistency that actually leaves my hands softer.

It also has a soothing, not-overpowering lavender scent that makes me want to re-apply again and again–even though each application lasts a good chunk of the day.

Clear the Air with a Humidifier/Diffuser

Humidifiers are excellent year round, but especially during winter when the air is dry and harsh.

We have a bedroom humidifier similar to this that doubles as an essential oils diffuser.

Even if you’re not sold on the idea of essential oils as a cure-all (personally, I’m not), diffusing them gives off a delightful, calming aroma that blends beautifully with the soothing air generated by the humidifier.

It’s like burning a candle that makes your air softer and cleaner. Even better–no scary fires!

Sprinkle Some Peppermint Rosemary Bath Salt

I know, I know–what mom has time for a bath? If you do manage to fit one in, winter is a great time to do so.

This particular blend of peppermint and rosemary is amazing for winter, and will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Curl up with a Lavender Scented Heating Pad

I love my lavender-scented heating pad, especially during the winter months.

The soothing aroma is relaxing, and the wrap holds heat for a good amount of time.

Even though electric heating pads will stay warmer longer, I don’t love having to be near an outlet or having yet another cord to worry about when my toddler’s around.

This wrap can also be cooled if you need ice rather than heat, which is great even beyond winter.

Kick off a Year Full of Recipes

I bought this book two years ago, and while I have not cooked my way through it to the letter, it is a great book to have around.

It includes a recipe for every day of the year starting in January, which is perfect since now is a time for new beginnings.

The suggested foods are also seasonally appropriate with recipes based on what’s typically in season each month.

Winter is a great time to put your kitchen to work, and if you find that you love this book, you’ll be able to continue using it all year.

Enjoy a Mug of Sweet Matcha

If you follow me on social media, then you know I’m a big fan of matcha.

Like coffee or other teas, matcha can be enjoyed hot or cold and is great in every season.

I especially love it this time of year since there really isn’t anything more comforting than curling up with a hot beverage on a cold winter day.

I’ve been using this brand of matcha powder for about a year and, like the Amazon reviews say, it is the perfect smooth matcha with a robust flavor that is neither too sweet nor too bitter.

It’s also delicious in smoothies and great for baking (another fun activity this time of year).

Relax with Tarte Pack Your Bags Under Eye Rescue Patches

We all feel a little weary in the winter months.

These are a great pick-me-up if you find your under eyes tired and in need of a boost.

In my opinion, they’re not a magic cure-all for under eye circles or dark bags, but they do leave your under eye feeling cool and refreshed.

It’s like getting a mini spa treatment in the comfort of your own home. 

I hope you like my suggestions. If you try any of them, let me know what you think!

Also, if you have an at home pampering secret you’d like to share, let me know here or on social media!

Happy New Year!