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Lessons in Parenting
How I Wish I'd Spent My First Trimester
Published on August 2, 2012 by guest author: J LeBlanc
About two years ago I found out I was pregnant with my son. I was thrilled. I was also exhausted. Not only had being busy both in my personal and professional lives caught up with me, but I had a bad case of first trimester fatigue. I spent a lot of time napping and reading. When I wasn’t doing that, I was obsessing about a lot of very unimportant things. What should the theme of the nursery be? I really liked Beatrix Potter, but it wasn’t easy to come by related nursery items and, while Peter Rabbit items popped up occasionally, what if I had a girl — what then?
I tried to motivate myself to undertake some craft projects with a more unisex theme and failed. Sadly, I even tended to avoid spending time with friends because I couldn’t stand the idea of not talking about this major impending life change.  But most of the summer was spent sleeping and reading, if not novels, then baby and pregnancy-related literature.
In retrospect, it would have been a lot smarter to have spent my time on other things. Here are a few:
1. Baby proofing the house. I avoided this until after my son was born — a very bad idea. Granted it is hard to pinpoint everything that could pose a hazard if you haven’t had a lot of kids around your house, but if possible, borrow one.  Preferably, a crawling baby and a toddler. Follow them and their parent around your house and watch for grimaces and all-out panic on the parent’s face.
2. Spend time with friends, even if you don’t want to break the news. It is tempting to talk about the baby all the time — both before and after he arrives, but it is good practice to avoid it. It serves as a reminder that you have other interests and if you cultivate them during pregnancy there is a greater chance you’ll stick with them after the baby arrives.
3. Forget the nursery theme or at least lighten up. Whether or not you have a theme, people will give you stuff that doesn’t match. Picking a general theme — like monkeys, for example — will make your life a lot easier than picking something as specific as Beatrix Potter. For the record, I did stick with Beatrix Potter, but the only themed items are some old calendar pictures featuring artwork from her books, which I framed, and some curtains on which I plan to sew pages from a cloth Beatrix Potter counting book. For the rest, I tried to stick with animals reminiscent of those in her books.
4. Do things requiring energy and flexibility now! Yes, I was very tired, but I didn’t try all that hard to push through it. It would have been better to go on hikes or do physical (but safe) sorts of things that I felt too awkward to do later in pregnancy and just didn’t have time for after the baby arrived. A good example was when I decided to reorganize my file cabinet during my third trimester. Normally, I would just have spread all the papers around me on the floor to organize them, but it was incredibly uncomfortable sitting on the floor, so I had to transport them to a large table and there was still a lot of bending over to re-file them involved.
If I had done these things, it would have been better and easier for me in a lot of ways later.  But then again, it’s hard to argue with getting a lot of sleep while you can …
J LeBlanc is a former high school teacher who resides in Lebanon, N.H. She is currently taking a break from teaching to stay home with her 8-month-old son.
Previous Posts By This Author: Making a Friend
Raising a Bilingual Child

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