What do you do when your pregnant friend is complaining about leg cramps and heartburn…and it’s impossible to relate? You might be thinking…How did “mucus plug” end up in our conversation?? Why can’t she lie flat on her back, again? Is a baby really that expensive? Maybe you’re a dude. Maybe you’re free and happily not there yet, or maybe pregnancy is something that happened eons ago and with the exception of of a few stretch marks, the child rearing process trampled all records of your bodily changes. Below area a few tips on how to love your pregnant friend (or spouse) for the next nine months and beyond.
Food evolves into its own love language during pregnancy. Whenever John took me out, I’d be the queen of YogurtLand smiling into my bowl of chocolate swirl and strawberry gummies. Your preggers friend will feel extra special if you do any of the following:
- Shop the grocery aisles with your friend (and her future baby) in mind. Add nuts to your cart, granola bars with ingredients that you can read, veggie chips, her favorite fruit/veggies etc., and then drop them off whenever you visit. Eating every two hours can grow dull. She’ll appreciate trying new brands and flavors.
- Whip up a smoothie! And sneak in that spinach!
- Cook together. Make some organic mac ‘n cheese and eat it from the same pot. Try new, healthier desserts to settle her sweet tooth too.
- When your friend reaches the third trimester, add some crockpot dinners to her freezer because she won’t have the energy to cook once baby’s born.
A safe space
I’ve gone out with so many moms who feel the need to explain their menu choices as if I’m the OB police. Sure, everyone has the right to their own opinions but moms have the right to ask for it or not. Your pregnant friend is most likely to have researched sugar and caffeine levels, and is obviously more aware of her baby and body altogether. As long as your friend isn’t smoking or drinking a margarita then order that pizookie she’s been craving.
Does she plan on breast feeding or formula? Cloth diapers or Huggies? Pacifier or no pacifier? These questions are not for you to gawk and gab about later. If you’re a true friend, then these questions will come from genuine curiosity followed by words of assurance. Rock on, mama!
The gift of sleep
My brother-in-law scored serious brownie points on this gift for my sister. After week 20, pregnant women should avoid sleeping on their backs due to the weight of the growing uterus adding pressure to the mother’s intestines and vena cava (major vein). Pass this tip to your friend’s hubby and tell him to read the reviews if he’s not convinced; they’re all from very pleased husbands.
The gift of time
Is your expectant friend on her second or third baby? Pregnancy is hard. Children are hard. Life is hard. And it’s especially hard to offer your free Saturday night to a cooped-up mom in need of a babysitter. Love is hard too. Give the poor woman a break and watch her kiddos a few hours so that she can sleep, wear fancy clothes, date her husband, go to the gym, stroll the park without a stroller, and do whatever she darn well pleases.
Stocking up her closet
New maternity clothes are grossly expensive. Help your friend cut the cost by shuffling through the clearance section at Old Navy. Their maternity clothes are sold online only but eventually make their way to the clearance racks.
If your friend isn’t picky then go thrift store shopping. The maternity section can be a hit or miss but the following items are a goldmine:
- Large and long t-shirts
- Stretchy pants
- Regency dresses
- Maxi skirts
- Baby clothes for that boost of motivation
The internet is a scary place for a pregnant lady. Combat any unsolicited advice and fear with soul-centering material.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting: There’s a reason this book is on its 5th edition and has a movie named after it. If your friend is a new mama, this book is for her. It’s filled with applicable advice and the miracle week-by-week insight of her growing baby.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: My friend Amy, mama of four boys, recommended this book. She reread it with every pregnancy thus revisiting the miracle of motherhood and renewing her inner strength. I started the book yesterday and my eyes are glued to the pages!
Baby Catcher: You’d think the topic of birth would get old because labor has the same storyline, right? There’s lot of pain in the beginning, more pain in the middle, and then the scream of a newborn babe at the end, correct? Not a chance. Peggy Vincent is an incredible writer and midwife who reshaped my perspective on birth and the power of the female body.
At this point in our move to Uganda, I feel like a slow, pregnant body that is too tired to think and fully process our new whereabouts. We are currently staying in Eldoret, Kenya for John’s flight training and check ride. Our temporary home is a cosy guesthouse situated on a compound shared by four other families. My other half is in South Sudan learning the ropes of his new job with Samaritan’s Purse. I’ll be posting photos and details on what John is actually doing in East Africa. Stay tuned ( ; In the meantime, I’ll be writing in my hobbit house and hanging out with the SP wives. One wife stocked the guesthouse with real food. Goodbye airplane peanuts! The fruit basket even held two avocados…I almost cried.