Pregnant holidays can present some joys and some challenges. Allison of Divine Doula Services, Emma of (Em)powered by Birth Doula Services, and Johanna of Nested Mama Prenatal & Postpartum Doula Support collaborated to share their best tips and suggestions for making your way through a holiday season full of expectations!
Many families also spend their first trimester keeping their pregnancies on the DL. A few things with this - there is absolutely no rule or proper etiquette when it comes to announcing a pregnancy besides announcing at the time that is best for you and your partner! You can't announce too early or too late. If you want to announce in the early weeks of pregnancy because it is the holiday season and you have family around to celebrate with you and also support you during this time - then announce and celebrate! (As I am writing this, I just looked up holiday pregnancy announcements and they are just the cutest.) If you and your partner choose to keep your news to yourselves, set up a plan prior to going to any sorts of gatherings to be sure you will be able to get the space and time you need to keep yourself healthy and happy.
This holiday will be unlike any other! Enjoy the beauty of the season, the company of so many loved ones, and the excitement that your little "poppyseed" will be a sweet baby to snuggle by the tree at this time next year!
Eat as much as you would like:
Hold off (until next year):
As your pregnancy becomes increasingly visible, you may find friends, family, or random people while you are out running errands making comments about your size. First of all, anyone who says anything to you other than that you are beautiful and glowing needs etiquette lessons. Secondly, know that your body is doing exactly what it needs to grow that sweet little babe, and anyone who assumes that you are "having twins" or "ready to pop" or declares with astonishment that "you should have had that baby already" has no obstetric knowledge and no conversational skill, either.
If you find that people are reaching out to touch your growing belly without your consent, feel empowered to say no - this is your body and no one should touch you without your permission. The work of establishing your little family will certainly come with moments where you have to emphasize boundaries and advocate for yourself. This is the perfect, if totally annoying, chance to practice. Know that you are strong, and you've got this. And, baby will be here soon!
Feeling all ready for baby? Check out all the services offered by Doulas of Iowa City and see how we can support you before, during, and after birth.
There is something truly magical about baby's first holiday season. Seen through the eyes of our children, the lights on the tree take on a whole new kind of wonder.
But, if you are like me, the stress of the holiday season (especially when weathering the witching hours, teething, or developmental leaps with baby) can take its toll.
Here are a few tips for starting traditions that will nourish your family for seasons to come!
Keep it Simple
Often the gift-giving aspect of the holiday season can be a source of joy and stress. Baby's first holiday season is the perfect time to embrace simplicity that will allow you to focus on being together. For example, a three-gift approach - something you want, something you need, and something to read - or a four-gift approach - something you want, something you need, something to grow on, and something to read - offer concise, catchy frameworks for gift-giving for the family
This may also be the perfect time to shake up family traditions. If gift-giving with extended family now includes lots of nieces and nephews, moving to a gift exchange where family members draw names instead of purchasing a gift for every person can make those gatherings less about stuff and more about enjoying time together.
What was your favorite holiday memory from childhood? Seeing the Nutcracker Ballet? Riding the Polar express? Singing carols door to door?
Whatever tradition speaks most to you, if the thought of enjoying it with babe in arms or carrier sounds appealing - go for it.
But know, too, that traditions will grow, change, and deepen as your family does. Maybe between the middle of the night wake-ups and the pumping at work and the holiday obligations, adding one more thing sounds like the opposite of holiday joy.
So, pick something small, something meaningful, and something you can circle back to each year. Maybe it is hot cocoa by the tree. Maybe it is a winter walk to see the lights. Maybe it is hitting your favorite trail as a family. Whatever it is, make time for it, and forget all the pressure to do ALL the things.
Your baby isn't holding a checklist - he or she just wants to be close to you and wrapped in your love. It's truly that small and that big.
Starting your own family often comes with the task of setting boundaries with your family and friends - and holidays tend to be more the rule than the exception when it comes to this particular work of family making.
Do you know that playing "pass the baby" stresses out both baby and you? Does baby nurse best nestled in the carrier and then stay there for a snooze? Do you need to have baby swaddled and shushed before 6 p.m. or things go sideways, making the 7 p.m. holiday dinner too tricky?
You know your baby. You know yourself and your partner. Trust your instincts for what works for you and establish boundaries that help your little family flourish.
Offer options and compromise when you can - so you can't make that 7 p.m. dinner, but, wow, baby is SO happy in the morning. What about suggesting everyone meet for brunch the following morning so they can get their fill of your beautiful baby at a good time? Be collaborative, be creative, and know that one holiday season soon your now-babe-ever-so-soon-kiddo will be able to stay up and munch on cookies and drink cocoa way past bedtime - but it is okay that this holiday isn't that time. Yet.
Find the Magic
If nothing else let this be your guiding principle - do the things that give you all joy and forget the rest. And truly, holding your little miracle in your arms in the glow of the lights is a magical tradition that you can enjoy for years to come.
The Doulas of Iowa City blog contains guest posts by Doulas of Iowa City member businesses. We are excited to share with you about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and surrounding communities and to help you connect to fabulous local resources.