Pregnancy Workout Review



There are tons and tons of workouts (pregnancy and otherwise) all over the internet. But finding ones you like and putting together a workout plan takes time. And with pregnancy changing my motivation for working out, I had to focus on something easy and concrete that I didn't have to think about.




So for me, DVD's are perfect. I turn on the TV and I follow along, doing absolutely everything they tell me to (while ranting at them, of course).

No, they're not free like internet workouts, and if you're able to stay focused and put together your own workout plan, I would highly suggest going the free way. That's the way I used to do it for myself. However, pregnancy has changed the way I exercise. I still love pushing my body and getting that natural high that comes with working out...but I can't work through the pain and fatigue in the same ways anymore.

I'd love to hear how you stayed fit during your pregnancy, or what tips you have for starting to workout again after the baby is born!


Meanwhile, here are reviews of the two DVDs I've tried:





The Pregnancy Project, by Tracy Anderson


I immediately loved Tracy's workouts because of her obvious dancer background and her general easy-going attitude. She keeps it simple and doesn't use a bunch of weights, focusing on doing movements that engage several muscle groups at a time.

She'll tell you to breathe and drink water, but she doesn't include breaks for these things within her workout. Often, she does stretches/movements that feel a bit useless because she does not explain their purpose. This leaves her workouts feeling a bit less professional.

I used her DVDs more towards the end of my pregnancy, since I felt more able to complete a full workout without thinking about it too much. It is easier for me when I don't have to customize my workouts.

Pros:

  • Simple. There is one workout per month, so you have time to perfect the movements and achieve them, and each workout includes arm and leg work.
  • Mix it up. Since she has a different DVD for each month, you feel like your changing needs are being met, and you're kept interested as the workouts change subtly over time.
  • Style. Her choice of exercises usually involves more than one muscle group at a time, so you're able to engage more muscles in a short time rather than breaking them up into separate workouts.
  • Props. You don't need anything besides 3 lb. weights and a yoga mat (I personally just use a blanket - cheapskate, I know). As you progress, she also has you use a chair for balance. 
  • Music. You have the option of background music or just Tracy's voice. 
  • Blurbs. Each disk comes with a "bonus feature" of women talking about pregnancy. Several of them are celebrities (which makes it fun) and they speak from experience, so it's a nice little blurb of encouragement if you need it. 

Cons:

  • Timing. Each workout takes about 45 minutes to complete (that includes warm-up and cool-down). It's hard to set aside that chunk of time. 
  • Water. Tracy mentions staying hydrated and resting between movements as needed, but she provides no time for either, so I had to pause a lot to grab my water. 
  • Organization. She does not separate the workout by the muscle groups she is focusing on. The arm workout leads straight into the one involving legs + glutes, and most of the workouts involve some ab work.
  • Cardio. There is really no cardio portion to the workouts. Which was fine for me, since I use workouts for strength training, not cardio.  


Prenatal Physique by Leah Sarago


Leah's workouts are far more specific and customizable than Tracy's. Leah talks a lot about breathing - inhaling and exhaling at the proper times during the movements - which annoyed me at first. But as I've become challenged by my pregnancy body and have picked up a bit of yoga, I'm starting to see that breathing is incredibly important. It gives your movements fluidity and focus.

I felt challenged by her workouts. It took slightly more effort for me to get going with her DVD, however, simply because I needed to pick and choose how to plan my workout. It is separated into 15-min. segments based on the muscle groups you want to work.

Her stretching portion I found to be wonderful, as it includes many yoga movements and focuses on stretching out your tense hips (much needed!). This portion of her DVD is what actually led me to look into yoga, and I've slowly been implementing it into my mornings. (Let me know if you have yoga tips; I'm a true beginner and have no idea what I'm doing. I obviously want to do yoga to improve my balance, posture, strength, etc., not for the "spiritual" benefits. God is all I need when it comes to that.)

Pros:

  • Easy to customize. Her DVD is separated into clear portions, making it easy to create your own workout plan. 
  • Props. Yoga mat, a chair for balance, some weights, and that's it (you do need three different sizes of weights, though). 
  • Time. You could spend anywhere from 15 - 45 min., or even decide to just do the yoga/stretching portion.
  • Cardio + strength. You get a lot from these workouts.
  • Explanations. Leah tells you exactly what to focus on and why you're doing the movements a certain way. 

Cons:

  • Weights. I don't know about you, but I haven't spent my time obtaining a collection of weights in my closet. I'd prefer to go to the gym or get outside. So it really bothered me that she used 3 different sizes of weights - light (3 lb.), medium (5 lb.), and heavy (8 lb.). I ended up using my 5 lb. weights for the entire thing. 
  • Cardio. The movements can be somewhat confusing. You're holding weights and doing reps, but at the same time, you're trying to "dance" to music? You can choose to block out one or the other - do the reps with weights and cut out the extra movements, or focus on the cardio and take out the weights.
  • Monotony. The workouts are the same for the entire pregnancy, so the only ways to mix it up is to combine the 15-minute sessions in different ways. I get a bit bored with this. And also frustrated, since my body goes through so many changes in that 9-month period.
  • Water. She also does not allow time for water/breaks, so this is something you have to pause the DVD to do. Which means that you're lengthening your workout time. 

Overall, I have been able to use both DVDs to serve my purposes without too much tweaking. I have minor annoyances with both, but that probably has more to do with pregnancy hormones than anything else!

Let me know if you have any more questions about the personality/style differences. Some people like to have more control over their workouts, and others don't. That is the main difference between these two women's takes on pregnancy fitness.




Please, please be careful in any exercise methods you choose while pregnant! It is very important to retain muscle mass, energy levels, and circulation, but not to focus on actually gaining these things. It is easy to push yourself too far during pregnancy. And of course, always mention to your doctor/midwife what you are doing to stay fit.

If you're interested in yoga, it can be a fantastic addition to your exercise regimen. Yoga focuses on breathing and focusing/meditating - things that can help you prepare to be calm during the rigors of labor and delivery. Make sure you choose sequences meant specifically for pregnancy, or choose poses that are simple. Yoga is also about balance (something you probably don't have much of in the third trimester!) and you don't want to test this too much. Obviously stay away from poses that get you on your belly or lay you on your back for a prolonged period of time.


Nifty Tip #3
Frozen fruits and veggies. I used to look down on these "lesser" versions of raw things, but man, are they helpful in life! I don't actually like eating healthy. So when it comes to adding a serving of veggies or fruits to a meal, I take any excuse to back out. Salads? That takes way too long. But popping a bag of frozen broccoli in the microwave? That, I can do. Frozen fruit is also excellent to add to smoothies, cereal, or yogurt in the mornings. 


MOPS 28-Day Challenge: Week 2


My favorite comfy pants, ones that I bought a few years ago in Thailand. 

DAY 8: Aug. 18

DARE: Commit to not complaining about anything for 24 hours.

Crazy how difficult that can be. I wish I could say that I responded to every situation with peace and contentment today, but this happened to be the day that I locked myself out of my car. GO FIGURE. I sweated, struggled, cursed inwardly, judged other people for not helping me, and was extremely anxious about my predicament. It wasn't till after it was over that I realized that I had not spent that time getting closer to God - I had spent it trying to be a strong woman who was allowed to hate the world for her problems.

DAY 9: Aug. 19

DARE: Spend a few minutes focusing on your breathing.

I did! More than a few, actually; I'm trying to do a bit of yoga every morning, to stretch my sore hips and do some "light" exercise.

My art projects. Forgot that using acrylic paint on canvas to write letters is a tricky business.

DAY 10: Aug. 20

DARE: Spend one hour doing something that makes you feel alive. Hire a babysitter if you need to...this is important.


Spent time doing art, sipping coffee, and wearing big headphones to listen to my Pandora station started from Blackmill. It was lovely, and I forgot that I was grown-up and pregnant and just felt like...me. It was simple.








Recognize this quote/page? I stole it from an REI catalogue. Classy, I know.

DAY 11: Aug. 21

TRUTH: What do you feel most grateful for? Make a list.

  • Loving husband
  • Healthy pregnancy and baby (so far)
  • Birthdays: little excuses to feel special and dress up
  • God doesn't change
  • Mountains
  • Coffee
  • Creativity, art, words
  • The internet! As annoying as it can be that we use the internet for literally everything, it is also a great blessing to have so much information at my fingertips.
  • Clean, safe water (something I take for granted every day)
  • Comfy pants
  • Libraries
  • Cheese
  • Music
  • Stoplights: those few extra minutes of chill time before arriving at your destination can be a blessing. A standstill moment just for you. 

DAY 12: Aug. 22

TRUTH: What do you look forward to when you wake up in the morning? 

Honestly, mornings are tough for me. I hate waking up. But a few things get me a little more eager to leave my pillow nest: kisses from husby, a breakfast that involves sugar, a planned meeting with a good friend, or some relaxing yoga. 

DAY 13: Aug. 23

TRUTH: What is your favorite color and what does it symbolize?

My secondary favorite color likes to change with the seasons of life, but my primary one has always been purple. Not weak, bland lavender, but a purple that's bold. Purple is never afraid to do the hard thing. Purple is strong and happy, without being shallowly smiley like yellow. It has a dark side, but a little sunshine makes it pop. 

DAY 14: Aug. 24

Today, I decided to do both...because why not?
TRUTH: Write a love letter to your body. Include all the ways it makes you experience the world. 

This one was fun, because I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant and I understand my body less and less every day. 

DARE: Send a sexy text to your man. A picture is worth bonus points. 



Nifty Tip #2: If you want line breaks in your instagram post, write it out in a separate app first (such as notes or facebook) and then copy and paste it to instagram. It should keep the formatting that you want.


The Perfect Man?

While reading a fun little book called Graduates in Wonderland, I was caught up in the comic lists these two girls wrote on "everything you want in someone," basically describing their perfect man as much as they could imagine. The items were increasingly hilarious and specific, and also rather outlandish in combination. (You can read my review of this book HERE.)

I remember writing such a list when I was in high school (aaaand probably before that, too). Or at least I started half a dozen of them. If I went through my old journals, I could probably dig up some embarrassing lists for you. But as the majority of these journals happen to be shut up inside a wooden chest in my childhood home in Ohio, roughly 1,290 miles away, I can spare you the awkwardness of my teen self.

However, it got me thinking: does my husband have most of these qualities? Would he be a disappointment to 15-year-old me (not that that would be saying much), or would he be everything I've always wanted?

So I decided to make a list of everything that my husband is to me - things that should have been on my wishlist all along, or things that surprised me in being important. It made me incredibly happy to realize what God gave me in this fantastic man. I am thankful for everything he is in my life. I love you, Josh.

I challenge you to make one for you husband/significant other, just to remind yourself of every good part about them that makes your life better, and fuller.

We're cute.


25 Truths About My Husband

  1. Not easily angered (this one is in 1 Corinthians 13, AND it is made even more valuable considering the fact that I do get easily upset *clears throat in shame*)
  2. Really good at sex. I promise he did not make me write that.
  3. Encourages me in my writing and actually reads it (even though he abhors reading)
  4. Isn't bothered by my snoring!
  5. Eats everything I make, including leftovers
  6. Somehow manages to be goofier than me
  7. Challenges me physically (working out, rock climbing, etc.)
  8. Has broad tastes in music
  9. Rescues me from awkward social situations by talking a lot
  10. Tells me he loves my body (even though this is obviously bullcrap because I'm 8 months pregnant and the equivalent of a seal)
  11. Beautiful eyes and gorgeous eyelashes
  12. One of his love languages is physical touch, which calms and reassures me in a million ways
  13. Athletic
  14. Honest
  15. Handy with tools, garbage disposals, toilets, and the like
  16. Not shorter or younger than me (something my younger self was always concerned about)
  17. Loves awkwardness. Which is good, because I am a very awkward person and I don't know what to do about it. 
  18. A man of God 
  19. Lives by action. Anytime I let myself become stagnant, either in thought or deed, he pushes me to move forward again.
  20. Loves to laugh
  21. Takes care of me, in the most basic and also deepest ways
  22. Values communication
  23. Fearless (in comparison to me)
  24. Wants to be a daddy
  25. Is bearded and manly
He is all these things, and more that I probably forgot.

In short, God knows what we want...but gives us what we need. Sometimes those two are in sync. He gave me more than I imagined. It doesn't make marriage easy; in fact, marriage is still like a very confusing board game to me. The great thing is that there is no such thing as winning or losing in marriage as long as we choose, from the beginning, to be committed to each other. Anything that happens is simply a part of the learning curve - and it brings us closer together.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Eph. 3:20-21



MOPS 28-Day Challenge: Week 1

MOPS stands for "Moms of Preschoolers" - which I am obviously not. They are an organization that has founded hundreds of groups all over the US who are all dedicated to moms being moms together. They meet for encouragement, rest (someone babysits all the kids!), and just fun as women. In that respect, with my little girl still hibernating in-utero, I count as a mom that can participate in this (club?).

I went to a sort of "open house" for a MOPS group the other day, and it was very encouraging to meet other women...and slightly overwhelming to be in a room full of kids and frazzled moms and realizing that that's my future. Yikes. Good thing babies take a while to get to the chaotic stage.

Once I joined MOPS online, I received a fun "welcome package." Included was a 28-Day Challenge. Each day, there is a TRUTH or DARE that you must complete. Cheesy, certainly. But it gives me something simple to focus on...and becomes yet another thing I can write about. So why not?

I don't want to take away from the awesome materials that MOPS supplies their members with, so I won't be giving you all the challenges. I'll just write about the ones that I chose to do and hopefully inspire you to do something every day that either forces you to be honest with yourself, or release your inhibitions and do something silly.

Enjoy!

DAY 1 (August 11, 2016)

TRUTH: In what ways do you feel out of control in your life? (Technically I already did this one, in my post Control a couple of weeks ago. But I chose the dare anyway.)
DARE: Jump into some water. Drove to Cheyenne Mountain Canyon, found a pull-off next to the creek/river, and plunged my chaco-d feet into the refreshing water. Sometimes you just need to feel something that you can't stop or change, like the crazy power of water. 


DAY 2 (Aug. 12)

TRUTH: What is your favorite thing that has happened in the dark? Journal about the experience. Shooting stars, soul-baring moments with friends, night hikes at camp, bonfires with guitars and singing...so many memories. It was really hard to pick my favorite one.

DAY 3 (Aug. 13)

TRUTH: What are two things you hope your kids will talk about as adults when they describe their memories of you?
1. My adventurous spirit. I want them to join me in feeling like anything is possible, and to admire the way that I take them with me into any and all adventures - even if it doesn't seem exciting in the beginning.
2. The importance of priorities. Not that I was always organized, disciplined, or had dinner on time. But that every day, I had fun, made time for God, showed them love, and did something that was important to me (whether that be a hike, writing, or a date with the husby). 




DAY 4 (Aug. 14)

TRUTH: What do you value most in a friend? Are you that kind of friend?
I've always been under the impression that I'm a good friend. No one has ever told me differently. But is that simply because it's not something you feel like you can tell someone? "Hey, get your act together, be a better friend!" Maybe I need to hear this. The truth is, what I value most in friendship is someone who transports me to another place. Who makes mundane things hilarious and turns disasters into adventures. That's why I've felt so lonely lately: I don't know how to do this for myself. I depend on others to create the life that I want to lead. But am I bothering to create that for others? Do I seek out ways to be a better friend and make someone else's life more exciting?
No. I don't. 

I wish I could just blame it on being introverted. But I can't. 


DAY 5 (Aug. 15)

DARE: Sit in the dark alone for 30 minutes tonight.

DAY 6 (Aug. 16)

DARE: Get frisky with your husband somewhere new. Surprise him with an amorous overture when (and where!) he least expects it. Obviously no details necessary for this one...



DAY 7 (Aug. 17)

Tap into your creative birthing energy. Have you always wanted to paint a cnvas, throw a pottery bowl, write a poem, start a business, rearrange your living room, or sing in front of an audience - but you've held bck for some reason? Take the first step.
I miss art. I used to play around with every type of art media you can think of at home. But now that I have almost zero workspace and my art materials consist of markers and scissors, I've shut down artistically. Today I create some canvas art and hand-sew some more lines on my quilt! (Pictures will come next week.)

Pregnancy has knocked me all over the place recently, so I will confess that I did not always do these challenges on the prescribed day. They did, however, all get done in the same week. Gee, I sound like a mom already...

Have you heard of MOPS or are you doing the 28-Day Challenge? Is there another challenge you've accepted recently - maybe a workout regimen, a devotional plan, a focus on drinking more water? Whatever it is, tell me about it! I love a good friendly competition to keep me going in life.

See you next week!

Book Review: Twenty-Something Literature

I ran out of fun things to read, and lately I don't know how to go about finding new books. My default for years has been to wander around the YA section at the library. Now that I'm hugely pregnant and (mostly) an adult, this method seems trivial (not to mention embarrassing).

Instead, I trolled a few lists on the internet for books that twenty-somethings should read. I sifted through a lot before ordering these from the library and then devouring them in the comfort of my home.

Yes, I still go to the library. Old habits die hard. Besides, when you're on a budget and space is tight, you really cannot afford to indulge in your love of books by actually purchasing them. It just gets out of hand too quickly!

Gah. I love books. Tell me some of your recent favorites, I'm begging you. I need more reading material!


Below are my short reviews, complete with a few quotes from each one so you get an idea of the writer's voice. 


Graduates in Wonderland by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale


Fun, quirky, and written in the format of emails between two best friends in different countries. I loved the element of travel/different cultures. Absolutely enjoyed this book. It reminded that in reality, no one really knows in what moment they became an adult. I mean, how does this even happen to us carefree twenty-somethings?!

"...When I get too comfortable and fall into a routine...going around my problems rather than confronting them, I soon revert back to being timid. Do you find that this is a struggle for you as well? I'm learning that I always have to fight to stay confidant and strong - it's not something I can take for granted."
"...Another acquaintance told me offhandedly that she couldn't believe I was the kind of girl who was going to follow a man all the way to Australia. When she said this, I didn't even recognize myself in the comment. Then I felt stung. Despite the evidence that I am going to do this, am I the kind of girl who does this? This is an entirely different question."


Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without A Date by Katie Heaney

This one was interesting to me, since the main character's personality is very similar to mine. She details her life of singleness and how she cannot seem to have any sort of a "normal" dating life, or even a boyfriend. I found it to be hilarious. Tread carefully, though, there were some sexual references (don't I have to report that if I'm doing a review? Aren't I required? Ugh, just be an adult and choose your own reading material. I will be a proper introvert and ignore you.)
"What hypothetical people might think in hypothetical situations has often bothered me a great deal."
(I'm totally guilty of that, every day...)
"...And right away I understood why so many of us do this to each other all the time: it is addictive and soothing. 'Do YOU think we should break up?' 'Do YOU think I'm being needy because I'm afraid of losing him?' The idea that somebody else could know you better than you is always so very insulting up until the point that it's comforting and easy. I am sick of dealing with my life. YOU take it, for once."

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

This one was more of textbook/how to than I expected; not the fun read I was looking for. I knew most of these "adulting" tips because I was raised in a home where I was required to help with cooking, cleaning, laundering, and caring for pets at a young age.

If, however, you are young and overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks that being on your own and dealing with the real world (car maintenance, taxes, budgeting, etc.) requires, this is a fun way to learn how to survive. Kelly presents everything in a simple, easy-to-read manner, and all her steps are organized in a way that makes it easy to skim for information you need.
"Ugh, money. The worst. Being responsible about finances is terrifically grown-up - it requires impulse control, thinking about the future rather than the present, delaying gratification, and realizing that yes, you probably can survive without those vintage sunglasses. And it's really, really hard for some of us."

The red mug is from the weekend I spent in NYC; I bought it at The Strand bookstore. If you ever get a chance to go to that exciting city, please visit this house of books! Worth it. 

HANDY TIP #1

Clean out your nalgene/water bottle cap with a cue tip. I almost barfed when I saw what came out of there (although my pregnant body might have had something to do with that reaction). Seriously, I ONLY USE MY NALGENE FOR WATER. Why is it so gross?!

//

Loved by You

Photos taken yesterday at Cheyenne Mountain Canyon. I was missing water, so I tracked it down.
Each time, it's the same thing: God is the same, and I am not. But when I feel these changes happening to me, I tear around the new territory, terrified of who I am and what this means, confused by the fact that it feels like God is different.

But He's not.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)

The problem is, knowing He does not change makes me assume that my relationship with Him will also not change. Utter crap, obviously.

I've been fighting the changes. And, most importantly, I've been fighting the way my relationship with God looks and feels like. Instead of allowing things to come to pass, I've been frustrated by my inability to control what is going on here. I expect the record of our relationship to be a steady incline of growth, always taking steps upward on a logical path to "success" - that ultimate point where I get to commune with God in Heaven.


Instead, I have felt far away from God. As if there's a wall of white noise between us. I either fill this silence with prayers that jump around from a list of needs to intercession for others to pleading for a sign...or I just sit with my Bible open before me, silently muttering, "Where are You? I don't feel You here. This just feels fake. Like a lie."

Notice the recurrence of the word feel.

You may or may not know this, but every relationship must be based on truth. Otherwise it cannot function (for long). Feelings are always involved, certainly. But they cannot lead the charge. And I've been letting them. I can blame pregnancy hormones, because I am very pregnant and will cry without any sort of reason. But it goes deeper than that and I know it.

So today, I am taking deep breaths and focusing on the simple, repetitive words of songs like these:

Forever Reign 

by Passion Worship Band

"...You are good
You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love
You are love
On display for all to see..."

Good, Good Father

by Chris Tomlin

"...You're a good, good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am..."

There is no need to fill the silence between us. No need to beg for constant, verbal affirmation by God. He's already told me how much He loves me. Everything I knew before is still true.

I am not the same. And I never will be again.

Pregnancy has forever changed my body. Marriage has affected my time and personality. Being in the place I am has altered the way I think.

All that is required of me is this:

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"  

(Psalm 46:10)


My Ultimate Third Trimester List

Let me begin by saying that you should not necessarily take my advice - this is my first time on the pregnancy/baby journey, and obviously I'm not a pro. However, I have spent most of this pregnancy in a constant flood of information from books, pinterest, other women with kids, classes, and blogs. I love to research. (At the bottom of this post I list the resources I found to be the most helpful.)

I keep asking moms what they wish they would have done differently in the third trimester. Two things prevailed: more sleep, and a babymoon. I confess that both of these wishes confuse me because a), sleep is almost impossible in the third trimester, and b), so much money is going towards the baby that it makes it hard to feel good about spending any money pampering myself with extras. How did you handle the third trimester?

My favorite part of Phoebe's pregnancy. haha. Courtesy of Friends.

My Ultimate Third Trimester List

(Or, you know, stuff to do in the second trimester when you have energy and half a brain.)
Items in bold have yet to be completed.

  • Stock the freezer with meals for postpartum
  • Wash and organize baby clothes according to size
  • Install infant car seat
  • Put together crib (and marvel at how much space you've now lost in your bedroom)
  • Stockpile essential items (wipes, diapers, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, kleenex, trash bags, laundry detergent...)
  • Prep breastfeeding/diaper changing stations (I made two baskets, one for the living room and one for the bedroom, since we don't have a changing table and our apartment is small)
  • Tour the hospital 
  • Pre-register at the hospital (no way am I doing paperwork when I'm in labor)
  • Get a breastpump - through insurance, if you can (there are places that will loan, rent, or give you used pumps, but that super does not appeal to me)
  • Write your birth plan
  • Pack the hospital bag
  • Continue taking cute baby bump photos so you have documentation to look back on (even when you feel fat. Take advantage of this fatness; you feel like a whale, but everyone around you continues to gush how cute of a pregnant lady you are)
  • Make "postpartum padsicles" and place them in your freezer...without grimacing
  • Interview and choose a pediatrician
  • Do your Kegels every day!
  • Drink red raspberry leaf tea (I only drink 3-5 cups per week, but it's nice to have something healthy and not sugary to drink)
  • Prepare yourself for labor. There are a million mental and physical ways you can prep, depending on what type of birth you are wanting to have. Do your research, and know yourself. I have a tendency to allow fear to shut me down, so I chose to make a list of things that I think I will be most afraid of and how I want to handle them. 
  • Talk to your husband. This is a big one that I am still working on. In order to assess what both of you know, are prepared for, and are feeling, you need to share everything. Especially what you expect life to be like once the baby comes.
  • Make yourself some nursing tanks. (Easy tutorial here.) 
  • Allow your nesting instincts to take over. Getting in some last-minute organizing and cleaning isn't a bad thing! Just don't overdo it. I've had several days where I felt great and did a bunch of stuff...and then felt dead for the next two or three days. Don't overdo it. 
  • Take a birthing class and/or breastfeeding class. It helps to do a few hands-on things, meet other new parents, and have your husband join you in preparations.
  • Stay active. Short workouts, light walks, swimming, whatever type of exercise you enjoy. Fitness now will help your body snap back after the baby is born.
  • Pamper yourself. I know you've been trying to eat healthy and stay strong for your baby. Excellent! But have a few minutes of weakness. Sit down with an entire pint of ice cream. Beg your husband to go to the supermarket at midnight for that cheese you've been craving. Have a date night - with the girls, or with your husband. I haven't taken my own advice yet, although I did demand that my husband help me make cookies at 10pm one night...
  • Practice some soft skills. Use the baby wraps/carriers that people bought you, familiarize yourself with the stroller and carseat buckles, and swaddle some teddy bears. 
  • Buy the leftover items from your Amazon Baby Registry. If you register on Amazon, you can get a 10-15% discount on any items that people don't buy for you. I signed up for the Amazon Prime one month trial, ordered the last few items with the discount, and got free 2-day shipping. Then I just canceled my Prime subscription. Worked like a charm :)
  • Get a photoshoot done. This is something I probably won't get around to, sadly. But you must document the pregnancy in some way, even if it's just selfies. 

There are things that people just don't tell you about the third trimester. Probably because after the baby is born, you forget all of it. Things like your belly isn't perfectly cute and round all the time. As the baby moves and changes position, your belly morphs into some very alien-esque shapes. I'm constantly awed and appalled by this.

Also sometimes you don't want to eat.
You might start to snore, even if you never have before.
If you eat too much, you trade lung capacity for stomach room. Not even kidding. I ate a big meal and then felt out of breath for the next hour.
People assume that you're swamped - when the reality is that you're just sitting around waiting to have a baby.

What's on your list?

Resources:

You'll notice I list baby books as well as pregnancy books. Why? Because at some point during the pregnancy you are going to freak out about being a mother and all that it entails, and you're going to need some facts to cling to. Don't wait till the baby is in your arms to try to educate yourself on breastfeeding. 

1. Pinterest (obviously)
2. What To Expect When You're Expecting The default choice in pregnancy books,
3. The Birth Book Super informative on all birth and labor procedures, and why going natural makes the experience so different.
4. Baby Wise A friend gave me this book and after reading it I felt so empowered to breastfeed and take care of my baby (I was going to say "in control" but we all know that there's no controlling breastfeeding!)
5. Mothers. They have a wealth of information, and they are able to calm you down about anything you might be freaking out about. 

P.S. It will never stop being weird to me when random strangers congratulate me. Thank you, but...are we supposed to be friends now?
How the third trimester really feels - courtesy of Friends. 

Control


I love driving off the main highways and getting views like this on Colorado road trips.
I've always been sort of a "go with the flow" type of person, and I have a good time just being...without having to take charge of the situation. But for some reason, whenever the control I do have (perceived or real) begins to slip away, I start to freak out. I scrabble around in the dirt trying to find it again.

It's like chasing leaves in the wind.

Why? Because "control" is not something I really have in life. I can make my own decisions, sure. But their outcome is leaps and bounds away from anything I've ever been able to predict.

I cannot control the driver next to me. My friendships. The shoppers in the supermarket that I have to steer my cart around. My husband. Even the unborn child inside my tummy is outside of my control! So why do I keep trying to preserve this authority? I never had it in the first place.

Don't believe me? Read Romans 7:13-25. Paul obviously has experienced a fight for power to control his own thoughts and actions. "So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." (vs. 25b)
One of my first climbing excursions at Shelf Road. Man was I unprepared for the mental challenge of climbing. 

Pregnancy has now reached the point where it has taken over me. Every day I feel more of myself slip into an abyss (and if the mom stories are to be believed, I will probably never be getting most of those pieces back). Things like...

  • my brain I'm telling you I have lost the ability to make efficient decisions and finish projects of any kind!
  • my ability to get comfortable (the couch, floor, bed; no matter where I am, as soon as I find a sweet spot, I have to get up to pee, which brings me to...)
  • my bladder
  • my energy levels (I'm tired, so...should I eat? take a nap? exercise? no clue which one - if any - will actually boost my energy)
  • my desire for food (hungry all the time, yes; but do I want to eat food? no)

I cried about it last week. Pathetically, I might add. I cried about losing my mind. About being confused as to how to take care of my body. How on earth do you rally your physical self into action when you can't tell how to pacify it? Food might only aggravate whatever is bothering it now.

I'm used to telling my body to suck it up. This is how I get enjoyment and motivation for working out, rock climbing, snowboarding, going to social activities, cleaning. I tell my body to get it together and then I do it. But now, it's different. Now I have to listen to my body. Take care of myself. Rest more. Not be afraid of naps.

It's war, I tell you. Every day.

And I feel powerless to actually make the right call. If I listen to what I, personally, want to do, then my body literally commits mutiny and stops working properly. If I listen to my body and give it what it wants, I end up feeling purposeless and having nothing to show for the day. I freakin want my control back.

God, however, keeps nudging it out of reach...and subtly pushing me into a place where I don't know what to do anymore. I'm quite certain I have no idea how to be a mom. But ready or not, this baby's going to arrive in a bit over a month...

All of the adventures in my life only became adventures because they shredded my plans within five minutes and took me for a ride that I could not have put together. And they happened with people that let the plan go without a fight, and went running into the unknown with abandonment.

A backpacking trip that turned into surfing-in-a-small-town for two or three days (who needs to hike when you have the ocean to play with?). A road trip to Montreal that somehow did not kill us, even though we took an hour+ ride with a strange man in a van because our car gave up on life. A five-month detour working at a ski resort in Colorado that became a yearlong adventure of mountains...and then two years...and is now my new home (I'm a resident and I've been here for three years).

The point of all this, you may be asking?

I don't know where my life is headed. I barely even remember how I got here. But I am ready to relinquish all control I think I have and simply be on this adventure with God. Here's to living with abandon. 
At the top of my first fourteener, Mt. Democrat