I looked forward to this for a while. I had been working almost non-stop for 10 years and most of it at a very high pace.
When the day rolled around, it dawned on me: What was I going to do on maternity leave before the baby? I was weeks away from my due date.
I wanted to travel, but that’s no longer possible. I wanted to enjoy sunshine and parks and walking outdoors, but who am I kidding? I live in Toronto where there’s a snowstorm on March 31st and I’m 34+ weeks pregnant. I can’t walk for more than 15 minutes without needing to pee. I could go to a coffee shop, but I’m limited to 1 serving of caffeine per day and I usually have it in the morning. I have never had this much free time in my hands and been this limited, physically.
I literally did not know what to do with this time and if I allowed myself to get in that confused state of mind, I knew I’d panic. I know it sounds silly, but if you’ve worked non-stop like myself for a big portion of your life, I think you’ll get me. When you’re working, you always have a long list of things you want to do and never have enough time to get to them. When you have free time, all of a sudden it feels like you have NOTHING to do and don’t know how to pass time. Having said all this, I will still be working on my own content, Youtube channel and website which take a decent amount of time. But not having the standard full-time job and constant flow of emails that I had is just… different.
Coming up with a bucketlist for maternity leave, before baby
As the maternity leave date approached, I started doing (lots of) research and listed out things I should be doing, along with everything I didn’t find enough time to do before now. I now feel I have an amazing list to go through and would love to share it with you for that special time in your life!
Workout (as much as possible)
If you’re feeling healthy and well, these are the last weeks before your baby arrives and by now you probably know how important exercising during pregnancy is. I’ve had a pretty good pregnancy overall and I’m sure I partly owe it to keeping consistent with my exercises. It’s also critical to get the baby in a good position, to relax, to strengthen your muscles for labour and to keep your weight under control (along with many other good things). Also you might not be able to exercise for at least several weeks after you give birth.
Whatever you like to do as self-care, insert here. I’m talking about massages, manicures, facials, chiropractor visits to relax your body, seeing movies, shopping for you, baby or your partner. Take your time to do these as you’ll miss these once the baby arrives.
There’s so much to read. About parenthood, birth, mindfulness, in general. Catch up on the reading you haven’t been able to do in the past years and won’t have time to do during your life with a newborn (unless your baby comes sleep-trained, lol).
Here are a few of my top reads these days:
- Becoming – Michelle Obama
- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari
- The Whole-Brain Child – The Whole-Brain Child
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Heidi Murkoff
This is one of the smartest tips I’ve read online and I am definitely taking this seriously. If you don’t have neighbours who will bring you trays of delicious meals after you give birth (which is common in my home country Turkey), pre-made dishes stocked up in the freezer will be a life saver.
Postpartum recovery kit prep
Another tip I learned during my research and it sounds so important and so smart that I have put this as a critical item on my bucketlist! A friend of a friend from hypnobirthing said putting pads into the freezer helped her greatly during her recovery phase and at the time, I didn’t really get how. When I was doing research, I came across this as an essential preparation task on Pinterest and saved the pin instantly! I haven’t even tried it yet and I can already attest that this will be a life saver. Here you go and you’re welcome. 🙂
Find your community
We are entering a new world with our babies, which means we need to make new friends and find new resources to help us out along this journey. Finding mom groups online or in your neighborhood, discovering blogs and social media accounts that share helpful information will be great to have.
Letters to the baby
This is one thing that I’ve had on my to do list since the day I found out I was pregnant, but I wanted to be in a certain mindset and kept postponing. I love the idea of writing letters or emails to the baby and sharing with her/him at different times in their life.
Organise & clean
Another thing you probably haven’t found time do tackle for a while. Organizing folders, photos, house, pantry, closet, everything. Get rid of any clutter, old and useless things – digital or physical. Clean each room, your kitchen cabinets, carpets, curtains, everything. Could this be the biggest cleaning festival your house has gone through? Possibly.
This is a tip I take seriously and really appreciate. 2 will soon become 3 and you’ll no longer have your evenings or special moments all to yourself. It’s essential to spend quality time with your partner before the chaos begins and there’s someone that needs your attention 24/7.
Pack the hospital bag
This probably doesn’t even need a reminder, but here it is anyway. Around week 36/37, it’s recommended you pack the hospital bag for yourself and your baby. There are many great hospital bag checklists available online and I already have an idea of what I’ll be putting in mine. Once I pack my bags, I may share my checklist with you as well.
Pick a pediatrician + get on daycare waitlists
For some, this may be quite a late time to do this as my pregnancy app started to recommend doing this as soon as I found out I was pregnant!! It’s crazy because I had no idea it would be tough to get into a daycare or find a pediatrician that accepts new patients. But apparently this is the system in Canada and if you haven’t done it until your last weeks like myself, you might want to take care of this now.
Wow, that ended up being a long list of things! I guess my free time is now full and I don’t have to worry about what to do with my maternity leave before the baby arrives! =) I hope you find these helpful as well. What are some of your ‘bucketlist’ items for those weeks of maternity leave until your baby arrives? Do share in the comments and others might benefit from your tips!