A Mom’s Perspective on Pregnancy

There is only so much insight I can offer with regards to pregnancy, so this week’s post features an interview with my wife. Read on to get the real scoop on pregnancy from a woman going through it! My questions are in bold italics and her response is below. I added a comment or thought below her response, in italics.

What was the first emotion you felt when you found out you were pregnant?

I felt excited! I wanted to be pregnant for over a year and although we weren’t trying, it was always on my mind and I just couldn’t wait! When I found out, It was a surprise! I felt ready, hopeful, and very excited.

She was definitely excited, but she has her worries and fears as well. That’s normal, and it’s okay 🙂

What was the first thought you had after you knew you were pregnant?

After the initial excitement I started to think back on the past month. When did we actually conceive? How long have I been pregnant and not known it? Mostly I thought of how crummy I had felt the past month emotionally and physically and it began to make sense that I was pregnant!

Life works like that, and it’s God’s way of shaping us. Sometimes we learn something, and events that didn’t make sense before are now crystal clear. The hard part is learning to trust before we can see the whole picture.

What has been the most difficult part of pregnancy?

The most difficult part for me has been the physical changes. Eating, drinking, sleeping, moving, breathing and/or doing any physical activity has been harder and more complicated for me. Eating: I have become way more picky and temperamental about different foods and beverages. Sleeping: I can’t sleep in the same positions that I did before, so that’s been a huge adjustment. Plus my sleeping and restroom patterns have changed. Moving, breathing, and/or any other physical activity: these areas are laughably altered. I say laughably because although I don’t find pain and exhaustion funny, I do wish someone could record me trying to move, or get up off the couch, or climb two or three stairs because I am quite sure I look and sound like I’ve suddenly aged 75 years and can’t handle it.

You should see her walk these days; it can be quite humorous. Don’t worry, I only laugh because she laughs 🙂

What has been the best part of pregnancy?

The very fact that I am growing a human inside my body is amazing to me! It’s liberating and humbling at the same time. I feel so strong within myself and so blessed to be able to be a part of this process. Besides the fact that this is all a miracle from God, I love feeling my baby kick and move. Before he started noticeably moving it was harder for me to feel like he was real. After I could feel him moving I just felt so much more connected to him. Sometimes I get giddy just sitting feeling him move around!

It’s so fun to see the expression of delight on her face when our baby boy is moving around a lot inside her. At least, the times where he’s moving but not kicking her bladder or ribs. At those times, her face isn’t displaying delight. 

What’s the weirdest food craving you have had?

Pickled beets. This started after I tried them once on a salad and I started beet for blogcraving them at random times of the day or nights. Also, anything with vinegar in or on it.

This one worked well for me because we went to a pizza place that had a salad bar with pickled beets. Pizza for me, a salad with pickled beets for her. 

What are you most excited about once your baby is born?

Definitely holding him, bonding with him, breastfeeding him and kissing him ALL OVER!

Me too! Except the breastfeeding part.

What is your biggest fear for once your baby is born?

I sometimes fear that he will have some type of deficiency or not be perfectly healthy. I do not fear these things for myself, but I want my baby to be healthy for HIS sake. No parent wants to see his or her child suffer.

I have nothing to add to this. We pray for a healthy baby, and know that God is in control and He is good, no matter what. 

During pregnancy, what has been the most helpful thing your husband (me) has done to help you?

I have asked for many nightly massages from my hubby, and he has been very gracious! I notice a difference in the depth of sleep I get in a night when I receive a massage, as opposed to a night when I don’t get a massage, and although I don’t want to “put him out” I figure that I deserve it for all I am doing for our child, and if I sleep better, so will he!!! Besides that, he has been so encouraging and often thanks me for what I am doing… this is huge and always makes me feel better.

Massages are a little more difficult to give now that she’s 8 months pregnant, but I try 🙂

What would you have liked your husband (me) to do differently throughout this pregnancy experience?

More foot massages! It’s so easy to forget the feet, but they are super important and mine hurt all the time!

For the record, since learning this I’ve been doing the feet also. But I’m sure there’s more that I could be doing to help in addition to this and she just doesn’t want to make me look bad.

What advice would you give to a friend who just found out she is pregnant?

I think I would try not to give her advice unless she asked for it. Each woman is so different in her beliefs and approach to pregnancy and my advice will only be helpful to her if she wants it. I think too many people give their advice way too freely to pregnant women. It can actually be really overwhelming and disheartening if you haven’t asked for advice or inquired about a particular subject specifically. I know people mostly have good intentions but I know as a first time pregnant women that I only truly appreciated and accepted the advice of other moms if I asked for it, and not if it was thrown in my face lovingly or forcefully. I would try instead to be excited for her and be supportive.

No one ever accused my wife of not having strong opinions or feelings 🙂

If you had to give one piece of advice to an expecting mother who is reading this, what would it be?

Try to eat what you are craving within 30 minutes from the time you started craving it because after 30 minutes the thought or smell of it may either make you puke or no longer be what you are craving and this can be a very frustrating cycle.

Excellent advice!

Finally, what advice would you give to her husband?

RUN to the nearest store or restaurant that has what your wife is craving and get what she asked for. Meanwhile pray hard that once you get back to her she is still craving what you got.

So very true.

What’s In a Name? How to Name Your Child

Names are important. Names become a part of our identity. We did not choose our name, and our name is not intrinsically a part of us, like our mind, body, or soul. It is given to us when we are born, before our parents really even know our personality or traits. Yet it’s been a part of us for as long as we can remember. It’s what we hear our parents call us from our first day outside the womb. Our name is very important, and it becomes a part of our identity.

As a child, you had no choice in your name. But as a parent? The name of your child is your responsibility. Don’t mess it up! I’m only half joking. You often hear parents talk about reasons they did or didn’t choose a certain name. You more often hear people criticize a name.

“Who would name their child that?!?

“Poor kid is going to get picked on so much.”

“Good luck explaining how that’s spelled.”

Now, it’s not all negative. Certainly you hear people compliment names, probably as often as they criticize. The point is, as parents, you want to give your child an awesome name. A name they will be proud to identify with, and a name that has special meaning or significance to you. It couldn’t be simpler, right? Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy!

Reaching a Consensus

You and your spouse have different backgrounds, ideas, and beliefs. As with anything in marriage, you will need to work together to name your child. Talk about it, respect one another and your unique tastes and backgrounds, and reach a consensus that you both can be happy with! Hopefully this post can be helpful to you as you go through this journey together.

Questions to Get You Started

  • Do you want to name your child after someone important in your life?
  • Do you like familiar names, or more rare, unique names?
  • Do you like long names or short names? Single syllable or multiple syllables?
  • Do you care more about the meaning of the name, or how it sounds?
  • Do you want a normal spelling or an abnormal spelling?
  • Do you prefer names to be distinctively masculine or feminine?

For some of these questions, your answer may have been immediate and decided. For others, you may have needed to think it over a bit, or don’t care either way. Regardless, once you know the answers, you need to think about the more important question: why? Why do you like long, unique names that are spelled differently? Why do you want to name your child after someone? Why do you care about how it sounds? Understanding the reasons behind your preferences will be helpful as you decide what name to give your child.

Get a Baby Name Book

It’s not easy to just come up with names off the top of your head! You need to get a baby name book. I highly recommend a book that gives the origins and meanings of the names, like The Name Book by Dorothy Astoria. You can begin perusing through the book randomly, or look up specific names that you are interested in. Either way, it’s a very helpful resource!

How Do I Approach Choosing a Name?

Once you have thought through some of the starter questions, and have a baby name book to use as a resource, you need to determine what approach you want to take.

There are several different approaches you can take to finding the perfect name for your child. None of the approaches are right or wrong. It’s all about what fits you and your spouse, your personalities, and how you want to do it. The important thing is deciding together how YOU want to do it!

Hopefully one of the approaches will resonate with you, and help guide you and your spouse as you choose a name for your child! The approach you take certainly doesn’t have to fit into one of these categories, this is only a guide to help 🙂 Some of these approaches are tongue in cheek. If you can’t tell the difference… oh well.

The Approach Guide

Pre-Emptive Approach

If you’re already expecting your child, you’ve either already taken this approach, or it’s too late. My wife and I did not take this approach; I learned about it from a friend once we were already expecting. He and his wife knew they wanted kids, so they kept a notebook of names before they even started trying to get pregnant. Each time they came across a name they liked, they would add it to the notebook. Periodically, they would go through and eliminate some of the names, so it was an ongoing process. When they found out they were pregnant, they began narrowing down the list until they got down to one that they thought felt “right” for their baby.

Last-Minute Approach aka “The Inspired Approach”

In stark contrast to the pre-emptive approach, it’s never too late to take the Last-Minute Approach! Perfect for procrastinators, this approach involves thinking about and talking about a name for your child, but not making a decision until it’s absolutely necessary. This is not the approach I will ever be taking, because my personality won’t allow for it. But for some, pressure is exactly what is needed in order to make the best decision. This approach is for when the child is already born, and you still don’t know what you want to name him or her. You need to choose a name for the birth certificate, so you and your spouse summon all of your mental energy to come up with a name for your child.

Here’s a real-life example from a friend of my wife’s. This friend and her husband had not decided on a baby name yet. She went into labor, they went to the hospital, and the baby was born — a sweet, beautiful little girl. They had talked about names, and now it was time to choose. As she held her little bundle of sweetness, she turned to one of the nurses working in the room.

“What’s your name?”

“Christina.”

“I like that name.”

She turned to the other nurse in the room.

“What’s your name?”

“Myriam.”

“I like that name also.”

The name they chose for their newborn girl? Christina Myriam. The Inspired Approach!

The “Your Turn” Approach

Also known as the “Every Other” Approach. You and your spouse take turns naming your children! This approach will work best if you have very different tastes in what and how to name your child. Maybe one of you likes long names, the other short. One likes unique, the other likes names of ancestors. This really only works if you are planning to have multiple kids. When using this approach, you still do need to let your spouse have input when it’s “your turn.” You don’t want to name your child something they hate or can’t stand; after all, the child is still both of yours. 🙂 But, the final say goes to the spouse whose turn it is.

The Gendered Approach

If you have decided not to find out what gender your child is until he or she is born, this is the approach for you! You have double duty, needing to be prepared with a boy name and girl name for when you child is born. You will need to combine this with another strategy; it can easily be used simultaneously with the “Your Turn” approach. One of you could have final say on the boy name, and the other can have final say on the girl name.

The Interactive Approach

Invite others into the process of choosing a name for your child. The decision is up to you, and obviously you are not having someone else name your child for you. This approach is best done by asking for input from people you value. This could be your parents, close siblings, or friends. But the best use of this approach is if you already have children old enough to understand what is going on. I know a couple who wanted their children to have input into naming their sibling, so they looked at lists of names together and considered names that their children liked. Exactly how much influence you let your children or others have is up to you!

The Random Approach

There are several websites that will choose a baby name for you! Just google “random baby name generator” and choose a site. The key to this approach is to go all in. You must commit to whatever names the site gives you. No flip-flopping allowed!

The Famous Person Approach

Make a list of the famous people you and your spouse like and admire – this could be actors or actresses, historical figures, sports stars, musicians, etc. Start narrowing the list down, and if you can’t get it down to one, choose randomly!

The Significant Event Approach

Name your child based on a significant event or happening in the year he or she is born. This could be historic or more personal. For instance, a couple naming their child after Jackie Robinson when he broke the color barrier in baseball. A recent example involved Major League Baseball star Ben Zobrist and his wife Julianna Zobrist. During the 2015 season, Ben was traded to the Kansas City Royals. The Royals were doing well and headed for the playoffs. Ben had never been on a World Series Champion, and the Royals had not won a World Series in 30 years. Ben’s wife Julianna was pregnant, and their baby was due around the time of the end of the playoffs. The Royals, greatly aided by the stellar play of Ben Zobrist, made it all the way to the World Series, eventually defeating the Mets and becoming World Champions. Shortly after the Royals won the title, Julianna gave birth to a daughter. They gave her a middle name of “Royal” in honor of the team Ben won a World Series title with just days before.

If something significant has happened in your life recently, you might want to consider incorporating that into your child’s name.

The Pattern Approach

If you’ve already had one or more children, you might want to consider using some sort of a pattern. For example, my wife’s name is Joy. All of her siblings names start with “J” as well. Her parents like J names and decided to follow that pattern as they named their children. Here’s wood-cube-473703_640another example: name your children with consecutive letters of the alphabet. The first child’s name could start with A, and the second child’s name could start with B, and the third child’s could start with C, and so on. Another form of the Pattern Approach would be naming each child after a relative, or after a type of flower (Rose, Violet), or something else significant or important to you. Keep the pattern going for all of your children.

The Normal Approach

This is the approach that my wife and I took. I call it the normal approach because, obviously, whatever we do is “normal.” Duh. We actually did a hybrid of the pre-emptive approach, because we started talking about and thinking about baby names before we were expecting. We talked about names that we liked or didn’t like. We eliminated names of people that we already had a personal connection with…we wanted a somewhat unique name, at least for the first name. We wanted a name that both of us liked. We did look at name websites a little, but mostly just thought through names we had heard before, or variations of them. Eventually, we came up with a name that we both liked, both for its sound, its meaning, and its uniqueness. We communicated with one another, were honest with our thoughts about different names, and went about it in a way that we both were happy with. The biggest difficulty came when we were trying to decide on exact spelling. But the end result was a name we are excited to give our child!

As you can see, there are many different approaches you can take to choosing a name for your child. What’s important is that you work together with your spouse, with whatever approach fits you best, and have fun choosing a name for your child!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Should We Find Out the Gender of Our Baby?

When you find out you’re going to have a baby, one of the first thoughts to enter your mind is “are we going to have a boy or a girl?” You will think about this every time you think about your child.

The majority of couples decide to find out the gender. One study showed that 58% of mothers and fathers decided to learn the gender of their child before delivery. The study showed that there are many factors involved in whether or not a couple wanted to learn the gender of their child.

The question is, do you want to know?

There are good reasons to find out your child’s gender before he or she is born, and there are good reasons to wait. Whether or not you do is entirely a matter of personal preference!

My wife and I decided to find out our child’s gender through an ultrasound. Here are some of the reasons…

Reasons to Find Out the Gender in Advance

  • We were curious! We just wanted to know, and since we didn’t have to wait… why wait?
  • This was our first child, and we wanted to be able to prepare as much as we could. By knowing the gender, we could get gender specific clothing, and decorate the baby room with confidence
  • Choosing a name would be easier. Instead of having to decide on a name for both genders, we could focus on just one. Of course, we ended up deciding on a name for both genders anyway 🙂
  • Finding out the gender is exciting! And so is telling everyone about our baby’s gender. We figured that the birth and first days wouldn’t be any less exciting because we already knew the gender, so why not have that excitement during the pregnancy?

Of course, there are good reasons not to find out your child’s gender as well…

Reasons to Wait until Birth to Find Out the Gender

  • For you, perhaps waiting and wondering is enjoyable.
  • Surprise! If you love surprises, and would enjoy finding out your child’s gender once he or she enters the world, then waiting will be easy!
  • It’s more natural and traditional. For thousands of years, mothers and fathers have experienced pregnancy not knowing if they were having a boy or a girl. They found out when their child was born. Waiting to find out is how the vast majority of people have done it.
  • Keeping others in suspense. It can be fun to have everyone wondering if you’re having a boy or a girl!

There are many other reasons that you may or may not want to find out your child’s gender before birth, and hopefully this has helped you think about what you want to do, and why!

Don’t Blink: How to Remember the Precious Moments

The age old sayings are filled with truth. Time flies. Time goes by so fast. That seems like yesterday. Don’t blink or you might miss it. This is especially true as a dad awaiting the birth of a child. Apparently, it’s not true at all if you’re the mom, given my wife’s snort and derisive “yeah right” in response to me stating as much.

I guess the passing of time is all about your perspective. If I were to blink, I feel that I would miss something significant occurring, something special and unique. My child is alive and growing, and though I can’t see him all of the time, I know he’s there. And I don’t want to miss anything… or forget the significant moments of his life.

One of the significant moments that I hope to always remember is the first time I heard my child’s heartbeat. My wife and I were having our first sonogram, in the 10th week of development. Our child’s major organs were already formed, despite his tiny size of 1.5 inches tall. We could see his form on the ultrasound (though we didn’t yet know he was a he), and for a few seconds, the audio was played. A steady beat… for a few seconds, I was mesmerized. The miracle of life overwhelmed me. Something about hearing his heartbeat helped reality to sink in, and brought about a wonder and awe in me… not towards my child, but towards his Creator, God, and the miracle of life.

How do we cherish these moments? How do we make sure we don’t forget?

Here are several practical ways to insure you remember the precious moments:

  • Write about them – keep a journal. You don’t need to write daily, but whenever there is something that you want to remember.
  • Pregnancy Calendar! My wife and I received one from our doctor the first time we visited him. You fill in the calendar starting with the date of conception, and it allows you to easily track where in the pregnancy you are. It tells you what is happening developmentally with your child during a given week. And it allows you to record significant moments along the way!
  • Save the pictures from your sonograms. The first sonogram picture of our son will always remind me of that first time that I heard his heartbeat. Other pictures can be of the mother’s baby bump as it and the baby grows.
  • Keep a video log. Make short videos of you and/or your wife, and talk about what is happening. Talk about feeling your child kick and move around, talk about what you’re feeling. Your child will someday love to watch these videos!
  • Talk about them. Don’t keep those special moments to yourself! Tell your parents, siblings, and friends what it was like when you found out you were a parent, or saw your child, or heard the heartbeat, or found out you were having boy. Sharing those special moments with others will strengthen them in your heart and memory.

The truth is, time does go by quickly; we are busy, and “normal life” goes on after pregnancy begins. But the life of your child, while normal, is a spectacular miracle! You will experience many special moments. Don’t blink. Don’t miss the moments. And make sure that you will always cherish and remember them. Put in the effort and time to record the moments and what they mean to you. You will not regret it!

If you’ve already had children, comment with what you did to help remember significant events. And I’d love to hear other ideas!