Despite the title, this isn’t a post about researching car seats or picking out a nursery theme (neither of which I have even thought about). But more the “getting ready to even consider having a baby” and all that comes with such a big decision.
If you’ve been reading for any length of time, it should come as no surprise that pregnancy and pre-pregnancy nutrition and health were of great interest to me. It may sound silly, but as someone who cares so much about every bite I eat, I actually felt a bit of pressure to be “as perfect as possible” since I know so much about how to eat well. Now ten weeks in and living off bagels, I can assure you those dreams of perfection are long gone.
Let me just say quickly that for all of these baby-centered posts, this is my personal pregnancy journey, and what I have learned along the way. If you make different choices, or have different experiences, that doesn’t make either one of us irresponsible or a bad mother-to-be, and there is so much we can all learn from one another. The greatest lesson I have learned in all of this is that pregnancy is a totally individual experience.
I already told you about our 14 month journey to getting pregnant, but here is an additional look at what I did to get ready for the baby – other than simply tossing my birth control. Here we go, starting from the oldest preparations I made to the most recent…
Cutting out Alcohol
I have written about our decision to stop drinking before, and our original motivators at the time had nothing to do with a potential baby on the way. Heck, we weren’t even married yet! But I know for many others, drinking and baby-planning is a concern, so I thought it was at least worth addressing.
From my personal experience, I was already so aware of the many ways my life has improved since quitting drinking. But when we started planning for a family, I realized there was one more I hadn’t considered. I never had to worry about finding out I was pregnant with a hangover, or worried about what I was drinking during any given time of the month. It was a wonderful burden to not be carrying!
Quitting Artificial Sweeteners
I’m not sure why I never really wrote about this on the blog, but I used to have a SERIOUS Splenda problem. I will spare you the details, but I was using so much of that it made me seriously wonder if my insides were coated in little white crystals. When I first began to lose weight, I was all about eating reduced-sugar and low-calorie versions of all my favorite products – jams, jell-o, zero calorie drinks, juices, diet soda, etc. Of course along the way, I realized that stuff was full of chemicals that I didn’t want to be putting in my body anymore.
Quitting Splenda was TOUGH. It was so ingrained in my life and my diet that I found myself having to look at food and calories in a new way. What used to be all about finding the lowest calorie option, over time became a focus on finding the shortest and most natural ingredient list. My original motivation was to rid my body of all the chemicals and toxins and be my healthiest self. But even back then I was already looking down the road toward Baby Garnish – and I knew that Splenda was going to have to (literally) come off the table eventually. It was a difficult transition, but I feel so much better now that I only use natural sweeteners and view food in a different light.
Taking Prenatal Vitamins
As soon as I went off my birth control (in November 2009) I bought a prenatal vitamin to replace my regular daily multi-vitamin. While I knew my diet was great and I was getting most of the basic nutrients I needed through food, I figured an additional boost really couldn’t hurt anything. I will admit that I was not always consistent with taking it, but I did my best to remember each morning. The bottle above is the exact vitamin I take now – all natural and safe for vegetarians – both important factors for me!
Cleaning up the Cleaners
I will admit that the push to rid our house of as many chemicals as possible really came from Casey. He has always had really sensitive skin, so researching products and chemical-free alternatives has always been important to him. The more serious we got about baby-making, the more he urged me to really consider cleaning up my personal products. Every time I sprayed my suffocating salon-quality hairspray, he would run out of the bathroom mumbling about how I was poisoning him with toxic gas. And you know what? I realized he was probably right.
Over the last few months, I’ve switched over to all green and natural personal hygiene products. I get my shampoos, hair products, lotions, deodorants, etc. mostly from Whole Foods, and I try to be a relatively careful label-checker. I am a HUGE fan of the Dr. Bronner’s soaps line, and I use them to clean everything!
Beyond the bathroom, I’ve also worked hard to find natural cleaning products that I like to keep the rest of our house spick and span (I’m laughing just typing that).
I use Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds as both a household cleaner and as our laundry detergent – it works wonders and smells fabulous! Of course sometimes with green products you have to put a little extra elbow into the cleaning, but it’s worth it to me to not feel like I’m cleaning in a cloud of Clorox. I can’t wait to give our baby his or her first little baby bath with delicious smelling all-natural baby soaps!
Believe it or not, I actually quit coffee before finding out I was pregnant. But I had a little extra motivation from another issue I was having. As recently as a few months ago, I was a BIG coffee drinker. Working at home and from coffee shops, I found I was refilling my cup all day long. And then one day I woke up and noticed I had developed an annoying eye twitch on my right eyelid. It lasted all day, and then the next day, and then the whole week. And it was driving me INSANE.
I consulted all my best Google doctors, and determined that the number one most likely cause of my twitch? Too much caffeine. Tired of the twitching, I cut out my daily habit and within two days my eye was back to normal. At that point I figured I had already battled the withdrawal headaches and successfully quit caffeine, so why go back?
There are mixed feelings on caffeine consumption and pregnancy – how much is safe, what types are better than others, etc. For me personally, the safest option is to just avoid it all together. And to be quite honest, coffee doesn’t really sound very good to my nauseous stomach anyways!
So there you have it – the main ways I “cleaned up” my lifestyle and habits to best prepare my body and our household for our newest addition. I love knowing that my little decisions are hopefully helping to create a clean, healthy, and all-natural little person. And in addition to knowing I’m creating a good environment for the baby, it feels great to make the changes for my personal health too. I know these are all changes that will last well beyond pregnancy.