Pregnancy wasn’t a sexy experience for me and I would bet other women share similar thoughts. I was lucky enough not to have severe symptoms like morning sickness and swollen everything, but I didn’t enjoy sharing my body with my son and watching my body mutate.
Every woman’s pregnancy is different though. Some may find the experience glorious while for others, it may be a difficult journey (and for some, a near-death experience). Luckily, it is possible to take whatever type of pregnancy you’re handed and find joy in it. If I could go back and change anything about my pregnancy, I would have been more intentional about creating joyful moments.
Here are some ideas of things you can do to make growing a baby memorable — in the best of ways.
Document Your Experience
I used to roll my eyes at the women who took pictures of their bump every month and shared them on social media. Now, I can see the value in adding those sacred and inimitable moments to your gallery. Whether it’s your first or fifth time being pregnant, it’s an experience that won’t be the same.
Consider creating a pregnancy photo book for each of your children and adding pictures of your kids as they get older. It’s also a way to marvel at the miracle that is your body and the ways it stretches to make room for new life. If pictures aren’t your thing, document your journey in a journal or by creating a scrapbook.
Write Affirmations for Your Baby
When you’re pregnant, it’s normal to spend time daydreaming about whose nose your baby will have and what their little face will look like. It can also be enjoyable to spend time thinking about who they’re going to become. It’s not our job as parents to dictate who our kids will be and what they will do for a living, but we can guide them and try to instill values. Jot down some affirmations for your child and read them to your bump as often as you’d like. If you’re in the mood for some arts and crafts, design and frame the affirmations and then hang them up in the nursery.
Women—Black women especially—are so accustomed to labor and taking care of others that we often find it difficult to just chill. If you’re in the position to relax while you’re pregnant, take up the opportunity. Find the joy and peace that comes with resting and doing nothing. If I could do one thing differently, it would be that. I would have spent less time feeling guilty about lounging around and spent more time in the moment. Keep in mind, when the baby comes, you may not have much time to lounge.
Relaxing during pregnancy can also be good practice for learning stillness as a mother. Intentional rest and relaxation will keep your mind and body well once the baby is in the physical world and life is lifing.
Rest looks different for everyone as the Nap Ministry’s Tricia Hersey rightly points out in her book, Rest is Resistance. For you, it may be reading books on a bean bag or taking two naps a day. Just remember you deserve to rest and it’s not something you need to earn.
Adopt a Pampering Routine
There are limits to what you can do while pregnant, and sometimes that seeps into your self-care or pampering routine. For example, when you reach the final trimester, doctors sometimes advise against flying on planes. that could mean an end to your weekend getaways. And those two glasses of wine you used to have before bed every evening? You can say bye bye to those too.
All is not lost, however, as you can think about safe ways to pamper yourself regularly . Spas, facials, pedicures, and brunch dates are a few things that come to mind. Of course, insert whatever works for you and get the go-ahead from your doctor first.
Dress Up Occasionally
Not everyone feels beautiful or sexy during pregnancy. I felt like a whale, so most times I didn’t bother with worrying about my style. Instead, I’d grab a few garments out of my mom’s wardrobe and throw them on because I didn’t want to buy new clothes. Honestly, I might have felt better about how I looked if I made more of an effort to dress my expanding body in a way that made me feel attractive.
I get it, you won’t always be in the mood for dressing up. From time to time though, try to make an effort. You’d be surprised at how it improves your self-esteem, which sometimes takes a nosedive during pregnancy. In case you need some inspiration, there are plenty of pregnancy fashion icons you can get into like Rihanna, Ciara, and Cardi B.
Future journaling is a way to manifest what you hope for in the future. The “future” aspect is about writing the things you want in detail as though they’ve already happened. Think about moments you want your family to experience once the baby arrives in the world and how you’re going to feel in those moments. For instance, you may want to take a family vacation twice a year and spend that time together laughing, cooking meals, and cracking jokes with one another. Pour your deepest desires out on paper and immerse yourself in all the joy that follows.
Brainstorm Family Traditions
Pregnancy is a good time to reflect on your childhood and think about the good and bad. Take time to sit with joyful aspects of your childhood and traditions your family shared that you want to experience with your little one. Did you go to the park every Sunday after church? Did you have a family baking competition during the holidays? Did you have lazy Saturday mornings and wear matching pajamas? Don’t be afraid to create new traditions with your family. It’s your brood and you can personalize your experiences any way you like.