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Licensed therapist Julia Colangelo discusses time management strategies to help you make the most of your experience as a pregnant or postpartum mom.
You’ve waited your whole life for this: You’re pregnant! Maybe it happened quickly, maybe you received medical intervention to get there. Whatever the journey, you got that first double pink line and feel like the world is your oyster.
If you’re a working mom-to-be, you look at the calendar, at that expected due date 8 months away, and think “Ahh… I’ve got SO MUCH time now to prepare.”
Then you look again, and realize:
“Wait…8 months? That’s all? That’s NO TIME! That will be here before I know it!
And if you’re a pregnant woman in the U.S in 2019, your brain may start considering:
“I have NO TIME to prepare for maternity leave, plan a babymoon, create a registry, have a shower, unpack registry items, do laundry, return items, clean, sterilize, wrap up work, investigate maternity leave policy, advocate for maternity leave in the first place, AND mentally wrap my head around becoming a mom, letting go of my quiet(er) nights, date nights, and events.”
I’m here to remind you that you can do it all, depending on how you relate to stress and time.
We are bombarded by messages from society and social media that as moms we are supposed to do it all, all the time, while feeling/looking/being balanced and well-rested. Many advocates and platforms are helping debunk the myths that we can do it all while looking good, but it is a constant balancing act where some things have to give.
As soon as that double line pregnancy test shows positive, the pregnancy countdown begins at 1, 2, 3 months pregnant, and then days, and then hearing what fruit your child is the size of, our brains, bodies, and minds can react with a sense of time slipping away or moving too quickly. It’s not enough that everyone around us stresses that kids grow up before you know it - but we are overwhelmed by this.
If you’re a working mom-to-be who is in the midst of this buzz and time slipping by, here are some ways you can transform the way you relate to time so you can enjoy this process more, leading up to a much more peaceful birth and postpartum journey.
Use your pregnancy symptoms for your benefit.
Many moms lose sleep or get nauseas in early pregnancy. Instead of forcing yourself to sleep because everyone has told you “you’ll never sleep once the baby comes,” use those wake hours to work on your goals during pregnancy whether it’s look into breastfeeding and bottle-feeding options, or research best practices for sleep-training. While it’s a nice idea” to put the phone down and sleep, as a working mom-to-be, that’s just not reality.
Give yourself permission to say no to what’s on your B list.
Not everyone wants or needs a baby shower, baby moon, or to attend that cousin’s wedding. Do not overextend yourself unless you’re CHOOSING to do what you want. This will result in you having more time and feeling more aligned with values and how you want to spend this part of the journey.
When in doubt, don’t buy it!
Everyone will give you tons of advice about what is a must/have or not. At the end of the day, you need a couple outfits, diapers, wipes, some recovery wear for you as the mom, a small bassinet, and the rest can arrive next day delivery or be purchased. Your house will fill up no matter what over time, so simplifying life by not spending every waking moment assembling a piece of baby furniture can create more time for your process.
Create time and space for the emotional experience of being pregnant.
I don’t want to put the pressure on, but becoming a parent is kind of a big deal. You will experience less stress and more peace around this personal and family transformation when you use time for yourself and your own mental, spiritual, or emotional process about starting a new chapter in a role as a mother.
Becoming a parent is life changing and life-giving. You are about to step into the new frontier! Using time as your friend instead of treating as something out of your control or that slips away can be an empowering step towards creating alignment as a working mom, new parent, and pregnant woman! I’d love to hear more about your process and support if it’s helpful - feel free to reach out!