In five short belly-expanding months, my life will be forever turned upside down (and inside out). Yes, a baby brings joy, but it also brings change. A fairly big change, according to my been-there-done-that friends. Beyond getting the nursery ready and preordering birth announcements, I want to be sure to sneak in a few selfish indulgences before baby comes and I start worrying about dirty diapers, sleep deprivation and boobs exploding with breast milk. So using the foresight of my friends, I drafted a list of the top nine things to do before my due date. Ticktock, ticktock …
Read a nonpregnancy book.
My mind is overrun with pregnancy facts and stats and my body is chock-full of hormones. That’s why it’s more important than ever to set aside What to Expect When You’re Expecting in favor of a nonpregnancy novel, I’m told. “Read something that takes your mind off being pregnant and reminds you that you are a real person,” says my friend Amanda, mother of two. But I’ll always have time for some leisure reading after the baby arrives, right? Unlikely, says Kathy, who is also a mom of two: “You’ll be too tired and your brain will be too mushy to read anything except newborn panic reading (i.e., why is he spitting up everything he just ate?).”
Catch a (grown-up) flick on the big screen.
I’m a huge movie buff and fear that I’ll never have time for a double feature again. Not so, says Kathy, who saw tons of movies thanks to baby matinees. But she’s quick to point out that evening movies with adults were a whole different story. My friend Jennifer, mom of one, agrees. “It will be a struggle to know when it’s a good time to leave the baby,” she says. Sarah, who has two kids, can’t remember the last movie she saw on the big screen. “The only movies we see are rented—and I promptly fall asleep during the opening credits,” she laughs.
Spend time with friends.
As my friend Audra explains, motherhood can mean isolation. “Things were so crazy at first that I didn’t have time to shower, let alone get together with the girls for a gab session, and I really missed that female camaraderie. Even catching up by phone was a juggling act,” says this mom of two. And she’s not the only one who has felt this way. “I miss spending time with just my gal pals,” says Cindy, who’s at home with a 2-month-old. “Women are so concerned about booking babymoons with their husbands that they forget to schedule time with their female friends.”
Rock out at a rock concert.
Why go to a concert? In the words of Amanda, “It makes you feel young.” With motherhood comes a certain grown-up feeling that can make former pastimes (like mosh pits) seem passe, say my mom friends. Stage-diving may be out of the question, but glamming up for a night out with the band can help put a pregnant gal back in a carefree frame of mind.
Take a nap or sleep in.
“Grab your 40 winks now, because sleep will be your desire and passion for the next 3 to 12 months,” my friend Erin, mom of two, yawns. But what about when the baby naps; surely I can catch some shut-eye then? “Wishful thinking,” warns Kathy. Jennifer agrees, adding that the best time to catch up on the things you need to do is when baby goes down for a nap.
Don’t put off visiting all those hot spot restaurants you’ve been dying to try, warns the mommy brigade. Once baby arrives, fancy and trendy restaurants will fall by the wayside in favor of kid-friendly eateries. Erin, who used to eat out with her hubby twice a month, says to enjoy the freedom while you can. “Now we eat out sans baby at a nice restaurant once every six months,” she says, adding that breastfeeding and finding a sitter complicate the once easy outings.
Take a romantic trip for two.
“While it’s possible to find a babysitter for an evening, it will be a long time before you have another overnight date,” says Kathy. Some of my mom friends have managed to squeeze in some minigetaways, but they warn me that it’s not nearly as easy as it used to be, logistically or emotionally. “You can’t help but miss and worry about the baby,” says Cindy, who suggests taking a guilt-free road trip or spending a relaxing weekend at a spa while you can.
Most medical professionals suggest waiting six weeks before jumping in the sack again, but even then I wonder if I’ll be ready. “We didn’t have sex for about two months,” says a friend who’d prefer to remain anonymous. “Sex just wasn’t a priority.” Given the choice between sleep and sex, most of my friends choose sleep, especially during the first few months. “It’s tough even when our baby is out like a light,” warns Sarah. “I’m afraid any noise we make might wake her—and making sure she sleeps trumps just about everything else right now!”