I think there is something special about being ‘with child’ during the holiday season. You aren’t just pregnant. You aren’t just having a baby.
This is the time of year you can stand outside under a velvet sky pierced with stars in your stretchiest yoga pants and know that you are expecting.
This time next year you are expecting to be a mother or a father with a baby or a toddler and the whole idea just fills you with wonderment.
Or, if your service member is deployed right now or will be deployed during the birth, you could be filled with outright fear.
Fear not.At a USO Special Delivery event in the Washington, DC area, hundreds of mothers-to-be (including some in uniform) got together with What to Expect When You’re Expecting author Heidi Murkoff for an interactive baby shower.
One of the topics covered by moms and Murkoff alike was how they were going to handle the holidays differently while pregnant.Here are some of their tips:
Don’t go into labor.Ashish is an Army sergeant first class who is expecting her second child January 13. Her first advice for moms-to-be during the holidays? “Don’t go into labor,” she laughed.
Even though she already has her unit squared away for her maternity leave, Ashish is still cutting back this year. She cut out the Christmas cards and decided not to stress over shopping. “This year we are giving our daughter two big gifts and a stocking,” said Ashish. “That’s enough.”
Do enjoy being the cute one.No matter how you think you look, everyone is going to tell you that you look great. If this event was any indicator, prepare to be told that you are glowing, that you look so young, and that no one can believe you are going to deliver that baby next week. Enjoy the compliments and overshare to your heart's content.
Don’t PCS.Kaitlin, a Navy wife, would have liked to avoid a move while she is pregnant during the holidays, but the packers arrive on Friday. Although the move is on her mind, what’s keeping her awake is the worry that her husband’s ship will be at sea when she delivers February 26. If you are going to move during the holidays, check out our SpouseBuzz advice for PCSing pregnant moms here.
Do think about the Dad.Many of the military moms were concerned about a dad who would be absent during the delivery, would leave for training or deploy shortly after the baby was born, or would depart for a year-long unaccompanied tour. Murkoff reminded the moms that the baby would be born knowing the dads voice and that you could build on that.
Don’t let the holidays be only about the baby.“It’s babybabybaby at my mom’s house,” said Kathleen. She and her husband are going home to Illinois for the holidays. Since this is the first grandchild in the family, Kathleen expects that most of her presents will be all baby.
That is OK with Kathleen. She is looking forward to talking baby with her cousins and her siblings and her parents. This is one year in which you won't run out of things to talk about with the relatives. Everyone has a story to tell.
Do take care of your stomach.This time of year everyone is subject to more binge eating, including expecting mothers. “We eat more and we eat standing up,” said Murkoff. “One thing you want to do is eat small amounts. Most problems like indigestion and headaches can be solved by eating minimeals. So carry snacks!”
Don’t forget about the rest of your body.Murkoff reminded moms to get their flu shots. Don’t sit or stand too long. Wear layers so you don’t overeat. Avoid soft unpasteurized cheeses and smoked meets and cold cuts. And celebrate only with virgin cocktails!
According to Murkoff, the key to a good holiday while pregnant is to slow down while everyone is speeding up. Find out more of Murkoff’s suggestions for enjoying the holiday while pregnant here. And find more about USO programs for families here.
If you and your service member are pregnant this holiday season, take our best SpouseBuzz blessings with you, for we carry great expectations for you all in the coming year.
Photo by Bridgett Platt.