Happy New Year's Eve! Today marks the 39-week point in my pregnancy with our third child, so in addition to reflecting on the past year and the possibilities of the year ahead, I'm also highly aware that our family is about to embark on the adventure of birth and postpartum adjustment. It's like being at the front of the line for a roller coaster that you haven't actually seen. I'm not fearful, only excited, but I also have the sense that the next few weeks and months could be quite a ride!
Here's what I've been doing in these days before baby's birth:
- Sleeping. This explains the lack of blog posts over the past week and a half. I don't write when my children are awake, so now that pregnancy is requiring more sleep, carving out time to write is challenging.
- Cleaning. It's satisfying.
- Getting Our Children's Passports. This task isn't usually on the new parent to-do list, but we're planning a family trip to France this summer and it will be our children's first time traveling internationally. Of course, baby will require a passport as well, but getting two out of the three passports we need is a helpful start!
- Starting Baby's Birth Album and Journal. For each child, I fill out a baby album as well as purchasing a blank, lined journal. The album records footprints and milestones, but the journal is a more personal, ongoing letter to our child that starts with some notes about my pregnancy with him or her, or at least with the birth story.
- The Baby Album: I try to complete the album by their first birthday--this gives me a deadline before I forget dates and milestones. We choose not to find out baby's gender before birth, so in the past I've used gender-neutral baby albums featuring Babar and Peter Rabbit, and this time I'm using a sweet, modern baby book from Compendium that I spotted at Anthropologie.
- The Parenting Journal: In contrast to the first year baby book, the journal is my ongoing chronicle of parenting my child as he or she grows. I write in the journal every few months, mostly when I'm struck by a new way in which this child is growing and changing. My updates are selective and brief, but I hope they'll be meaningful for my child someday. I write in English, mostly because I don't know how fluent my child will be in written French as an adult--but I hope French will always be our spoken language together.
What I should be doing:
* Making freezer meals. Instead, I'm going to rely on the sweetness of friends who have offered to bring a meal, and in between I will appreciate my husband's cooking abilities. After all, our freezer is already full due to the quarter share of grass-fed beef we purchased this past fall. (Sorry, vegan friends!). Nonetheless, if you have any fabulous freezer meal recipes, please let me know!
What I'm not doing:
* Buying adorable newborn outfits. Not knowing baby's gender keeps me from buying unnecessary baby clothing and accessories. I'd love to buy sweet little gender-specific outfits and gear, but it's easy to confuse buying baby stuff with being prepared. Finding non-materialistic ways to prepare for baby is probably wiser--at least for our bank account.
* Arranging a nursery. Now that we're having our third child, we no longer have space for a nursery, but we're fans of co-sleeping anyway. Baby's needs are met more quickly and naturally when he or she is in the same room, and we all get more sleep in the long run.
How would you prepare for birth and postpartum life in the final week(s) of pregnancy? Leave me a comment--I'd love to know!
I haven't forgotten about the great language teaching tips that I gleaned at last month's ACTFL convention, and I still have two additional beginning French lesson plans to share, so stay with me--I'll share these soon, along with a birth announcement!
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