Ah, the holiday season. The most wonderful time of the year, people will tell you. Those people probably aren't in their third trimesters though. Here's how to survive Christmas when you're pregnant.
December is always a parade of festivities; glorious food, sparkles forever, and that neverending list of nights out and fancy-pants lunches. Usually.
This year may be different but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a challenge when you are growing a human.
Because although Christmas should be a time for indulgence and relaxation, in reality, you need the stamina of a small elephant to get through this season.
For first-time mums-to-be, the first Christmas while growing your future bundle can be pretty tough. Christmas parties to navigate (yes, even on Zoom), champagne to ignore (or not!), and depending on your yuletide agenda, a lot of small talk with relatives to get through.
Meanwhile, all you can think about is inhaling entire cheese plates and having mini snoozes, well… everywhere.
You may feel a little more elephant than elfin at the moment, but once you adjust your holiday expectations you can focus all your energy on the really important things… like attempting to put on tights.
Things to note when you have a Christmas bun in the oven: Every Christmas ad will make you cry. The unusual gift your sister came up with for you will make you cry. Your partner forgetting to pick up sellotape will make you cry. Every single rendition of “Oh Holy Night” will make you cry. The mean man who took your parking space in Dundrum Town Centre will make you cry.
You see where we are going here?
Eat the food. Eat ALL the food.
Take advantage of that baggy maternity wear. It’s not like there is anything that sparks fashion joy out there exactly, but despite the disappointing lack of stylish maternity wear (empire line fatigue, anyone?) there really is no better time to sit around snacking on turkey and After Eights.
Say yes to that mince pie, stick your feet up and remember, if baby needs a second helping of trifle you have no business denying that poor mite.
Indulge in the Mocktails
Nobody leaves baby in the corner. You may be pregnant but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your A-game when it comes to your tipple on the 25th. Did somebody say iced gingerbread mocktails?
Enjoy having loved ones around you
When we have sore backs, heartburn, and swollen ankles, it is easy to feel a little under pressure, especially when you have hostess duties over Christmas. Try to slow down and see this month for what it really should be — a chance to be around those who love you.
And even though these are the same people who make you scream most of the time, they are your people. Enjoy the moment. These times are precious.
Buy the lovely things!
Let’s get a little realistic here. You will not want to hit the physical shops. The idea of queuing in Penneys for an hour and then battling the car park makes me want to puke in my mouth a little now (and I’m not pregnant, whatsoever).
Get online and let online Santa deliver all your goodies. Heck, indulge yourself with a nice outfit while you’re at it, heavy on the sparkles, easy on covering those varicose veins. Hello, elasticated waist of dreams.
Everyone knows that the baby daddy’s main job is to mind you; and that usually includes cooking for you, shopping for you, and rubbing your poor tired feet. Soon you will have to do all the minding, so lap it up and make it easy for them. (We know deep down they are only delighted to help.)
Remind your nearest and dearest that they are responsible for the tea in team. Stick on that kettle and enjoy admiring the tree that they put up and decorated beautifully under your very watchful eye. Pivot, PIVOT!
Do not make any major life decisions
This may sound odd, but it is a well-known fact that it is impossible to make big decisions when you are past the 24-week mark. Things like baby names, bathroom tiles, and what you are going to get your mother-in-law for Christmas suddenly turn into weeks of agonising.
Weird choices come out of nowhere when you are with child and nobody knows why. Make sure to run any big changes to plans past someone you trust first or you could find yourself waddling up to your parents-in-law’s door on Christmas morning clutching a neatly wrapped steam mop that you thought was a good idea at the time. Hint: You can never go wrong with a scented candle.
Celebrate the magic
I have spent three Christmas days pregnant.
It is a challenging season when all you want to do is lie on the couch and eat Magnums in between shots of Gaviscon.
In the grand scheme that is your life, it is a very short time. You will look back at this time fondly as you watch your baby grow from helpless newbie to excited toddler.
Next Christmas you will be bombarded with those ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ baubles for the tree. You’ll get to dance around the colourful lights with your mini-me, kissing their excited little face. Enjoy the anticipation. This is all part of the experience.
Under that sparkly satin maternity top, under the mummy-to-be tights, under your stretched skin, and snuggled deep in your core is one beautiful life.
It is a life that will bring you unbelievable joy, it will push you to limits you never knew possible. You will do anything for this baby.
That’s the real magic. Christmas will never be the same again. Prepare to be mesmerised.
Photography via Unsplash