Pregnancy Planning – Are you thinking about having a baby?

Pregnancy Planning

Planning for a baby and getting ready for pregnancy is perhaps the biggest life-changing step you are ever going to make. If you have a baby on the mind, then it probably means you are at the stage in your marriage and life where you are ready to take the plunge. You are thinking about starting a family soon, then it probably also means that you are mentally prepared to take your life and relationship to a whole new level. But now that you are mentally prepared is your body really prepared to take the big step? Let me tell you this while the decision of having a baby can be frightening overwhelming, having the right information can save you from a bumpy ride and make the journey rather smooth.

Creating and growing a life inside you takes a great deal of responsibility on the mother’s part. A mother needs to provide the unborn baby with a healthy environment required for its healthy growth and development. So let me share with you how I prepared myself and embarked on this beautiful journey.

Getting ready for a baby!

The 3 key steps in planning for a pregnancy involve:

1) Preparing your mind for pregnancy

As I already said, being ready mentally marks the first and the biggest step towards starting a family. Having a child, without a doubt, is a lifetime commitment and calls for responsibility on the part of both the partners. So it’s time you thought it through. If either of the partners is unsure or having second thoughts about it, it’s important to reconsider your decision. Having a baby should be a mutual decision involving the consent of both the partners and both should be equally committed to being parents. Therefore, it is very important to have an honest discussion and be open about each other’s thoughts on having a child. Neither should you force or get pressurized yourself or even resort to emotional blackmailing and stuff. If both partners aren’t unanimous over the decision, it is best to hold it off for some time.

2) Preparing yourself financially

Starting a family also calls for considering your money matters. Prenatal checkups, prenatal vitamins, medicines, tests, procedures and other medical bills can account for a major part of your salary. So it is best to be prepared for it beforehand so as not to put an unnecessary delay on anything. Opting for a good health insurance (if not already) is always a good bet to cover your prenatal expenses and lift some of the financial load off your shoulders.

3) Preparing your body for pregnancy

So now that you are mentally and financially ready, it’s time to take the next big step which is getting your body ready for the life that you are going to grow inside you. Here’s how you can do that:

(a) Scheduling a pre-conception visit

Visiting a good gynaecologist from the very beginning is a good idea to start a healthy pregnancy. A pre-conception check-up involves reviewing your personal and family medical history by your doctor. The practitioner will take a detailed account of your personal health, any kind of medication you’re taking which may be unsafe for the pregnancy and also about any unhealthy habit you have, such as smoking, drinking, etc. She would discuss with you about the tests and immunization which need to be done and also recommend you prenatal vitamins. Choosing a good and trusting doctor plays a key role in planning for a baby because only a good and experienced doctor can make you at ease and guide you properly through your journey.

(b) Starting on prenatal vitamins

Ideally, it’s said that starting on a folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms (mcg) a day, 6 months before you plan on conceiving is very crucial to carry a healthy pregnancy. But if not started earlier, at least 1 month prior to conceiving is a must. This not only prepares your body for conception but also prevents your baby from having certain birth defects, including a neural-tube defect like spina bifida to a great extent.

(c) Following a healthy lifestyle

Since you are trying to conceive and nurture a life inside you it is utmost important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s time you stopped your unhealthy habits such as smoking or drinking, cut short your caffeine intake, and check binging on junk food. Instead, it would be great if you started making healthy and nutritious food choices very early in your journey so that your body gets packed with the necessary nutrients you need to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Try to incorporate a balanced amount of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and milk and milk products in your diet. If you are a non-vegetarian intake of eggs, poultry, meat and fish are also a great choice. But it should be borne in mind that milk, meat and fish should come from a pasteurized source, disease-free animals and non-contaminated water respectively. You should also give doing yoga and/or moderate exercise a thought for a well-rounded fitness and a healthy body. You should also avoid working in a hazardous and unhygienic environment to avoid infections.

(d) Trying actively and tracking your cycles

If you are on birth control pills it’s time to stop those and bid adieu to any other kind of contraception you might have been using, and actively try (meaning every other day). Women on pills may take a month or two before they start ovulating again. Although some would prefer a more calculated approach of keeping a track of the ovulation dates and fertile window, I suggest it’s best to actively involve every other day if your cycles are sporadic just like mine. While keeping a record of your cycles is equally important to get a clear picture of your fertility days, doing it every other day increases your chances of conceiving. But it does not mean you have to mechanically do it. It should involve love and passion and you should enjoy it. It isn’t called “lovemaking” for no reason.

(e) Aiming for a healthy weight

Women with a higher or lower body mass index (BMI) may find it a little difficult to conceive. Starting off with a healthy weight right from the beginning not only helps you in conceiving more easily, but it also helps you to avoid weight-related complications in pregnancy and prevent you from delivering a premature or an underweight baby. Women with higher weight are also associated with risks of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, etc. So weight goals should be kept at aim right from the start.

(f) Keeping updated on immunization and vaccinations

It would be a plus point if you are updated on your immunization of flu shots, chicken pox, rubella (German measles) etc. It would help to avoid any complications during pregnancy which might lead to miscarriage, birth defects or stillbirth.

So these are some of my experiences and learning which I am happy to share in the hope to guide you and prove helpful in your journey towards a happy and healthy pregnancy. Making a right start at the right time can help you get the right results. But make sure to follow and maintain the same healthy lifestyle during as well as post-pregnancy. This is the second post of my pregnancy series. Don’t forget to read my previous post on Discovering being pregnant with those “two pink lines”.

Love,

Mrs. Sunshine

Do you have a baby in mind?

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This day that year – Discovering being pregnant with those “two pink lines”!

Those “Two Pink Lines” – Discovering I was pregnant!

It was 24th March of the year 2016. It was Holi – the Indian festival of colours and this time I was to celebrate the festival with Mr. Husband after 2 years. But I wasn’t sure if I was keen for the celebrations because, since past few days I had not quite been feeling normal with fuller achy breasts, bloated tummy and the urge to urinate frequently. These are the typical pregnancy symptoms, right? But these symptoms had long ceased to interest me over the years of countless failed attempts to get pregnant.

Very early in the morning, when Mr. Husband was still sound asleep, I sat up and mechanically taking a home pregnancy test from the drawer I sneaked my way into the toilet. I very distinctly remember that historic day. It was very early in the morning, the sun hadn’t risen yet. There was just the pink sky before the sunrise and the morning birds had only begun to chirp. For the years that I had been trying, I had watched the urine reach the other end without batting an eyelid, waiting eagerly for the result – each time more hopeful and excited than the previous. But this time, as I sat on the toilet pan, unmindful of the process, the last 4 years of struggle, hope and faith started to unfold and flash before my eyes.

For the past 4 years, it had become a routine that whenever we were together and I missed my periods, even for 2 days, I would religiously take a home pregnancy test in the hope that this time it comes positive. I would keep looking at the test with my eyes wide open until the test completed only to see the white evaporation line each time, and that solid pink control line mocking me. But unfortunately in our 4 years of marriage, and amidst I don’t know how many pregnancy tests (I had lost count of), I hadn’t had one single test positive. It wasn’t that we were trying throughout, but we weren’t “not trying” either. Initially, my mother would just give hidden cues, but now even she had started to talk about it openly and directly. It had been so long now that not only people, but even I had begun to question my fertility and almost convinced that something was definitely wrong with me. Many a time even the thought of adopting a child had crossed my mind.

I had watched close friends who married after we did become parents. Some of them became parents even before they celebrated their first marriage anniversary. Nobody had ever pressurized me about the matter, not even my in-laws. Mr. Husband had also been understanding and supportive throughout, but his silence spoke volumes about his desire and disappointment. It had all begun to grow on me and I was becoming desperate. So much so, that I spent most of my time endlessly reading pregnancy related articles on the internet, obsessively tracking my cycles keeping tabs of my fertile window and active days, and absently wishing to be pregnant. And the pressure inside me kept building.

Being a Virgo I have a habit of planning everything beforehand, and even before I got married, I already had a list of names of babies with me. I had even thought about the innovative ways I would break the news with family, friends and Mr. Husband, of course – a different way for each one. I had planned it all. Now all I needed was to be pregnant, and that was the one thing that wasn’t happening for us. Pregnancy still remained a lost dream.

My periods have always been irregular so tracking didn’t help much; but still, I kept on tracking it to maintain my sanity intact and in the hope that I might be lucky to get one cycle right. So, though I was more than a week late and was feeling a bit off I did not suspect a thing. And looking at my past record of several negatives how could I? It had now become more of a routine.

Suddenly, with a thud sound, I was brought back to the present. As I came to my senses I realized it was the newspaper boy throwing the newspaper roll in the balcony. Without much interest, I carelessly looked back at the test that lay there at my foot waiting to be read. And as I looked at the test my eyes started to widen in amazement and I could feel my nervous heartbeats thumping hard against my chest. I rubbed my eyes to get a clearer look at it as I stood there with trembling hands and legs, gaping at the pale faint pink line, shimmering and dancing beside the dark pink of the control in front of my eyes. For an instant I was numb. I don’t know how long I stood there staring at it in surprise or shock (I still don’t recall). I was totally bewildered at the unexpected and unbelievable result. The sight of those “two pink lines” which seemed to smile at me exhilarated me to the core. I felt so alive on the spur of the moment that it couldn’t be described in words.

I was so thrilled that I remember even pinching myself to be sure if it was for real or I was having a dream. I wouldn’t have been shocked if it were a dream because getting pregnant had become so consuming that it had begun to haunt me. But not this time. I was so used to seeing the white nothingness of an evaporated line that those “two pink lines” amused me immeasurably. My happiness knew no bounds and it was getting difficult for me to control my emotions. After all those sleepless nights of wetting the pillow with silent tears and I don’t know after how many earnest prayers God had finally decided to shower us with His blessings.

I quickly gathered myself, washed my hands and joyously went to wake Mr. Husband up who was blissfully asleep, snoring away, still unaware of how our lives were going to change course. I had always imagined for this moment, devising several ways to surprise Mr. Husband with the “good news” and all I could do was wake him up to show him those “two pink lines” and say “Hey! You’re going to become a Dad!” (How cliché! I know). But in that glorious moment words did not matter, only feelings did. And it was overwhelmingly emotional. We hugged and rejoiced. Our lives were going to change forever, we knew it, only yet to discover it how.

And all of a sudden I was eager to celebrate Holi – the festival of colours because we got our “bundle of joy” as Holi gift. And as colourful this beautiful festival of colours is, we knew instantly that in a similar manner he is going to colour our lives with his amazing baby colours and give our lives a new meaning. And since that instant, our life canvas has been getting painted with the prettiest colours there could ever be.


This piece of writing marks the beginning and is the first in the series of pregnancy-related posts where I am going to share my pregnancy journey. Keep watching the space for more updates and interesting pieces.

Love,

Mrs. Sunshine

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Surviving the Loss of Your Mother while Pregnant

A Mother is the “Best Gift” of all!

Mr. Husband’s Viewpoint

“A mother is someone who we’ve known longer than we’ve known ourselves.” I lost my mother when I was 20, but got another in the form of my mother-in-law when I married my wife. I could talk to her freely for hours about anything and never get bored of it. She used to tell me stories about how my wife was as a child and how she had grown to be the woman she now is. In the 4th year of our marriage, she had started dropping us hints that she wanted a grandchild and that we should start a family soon. She wanted us to have a baby more than anything in the world.

And then Shaarav happened. Our bonding had grown so strong that I used to call her up to ask her every bit about what my wife could eat and what not. I used to ask her what if my wife wanted to binge on junk food at this stage of her, and my mother-in-law was more than glad to tell. She was very proud of me and she sort of “kept flaunting me” among friends and relatives.

The Untimely Loss

But unfortunately, when we were into the 16th week of our pregnancy, she too left us for the heavenly abode due to a heart condition. She had a major heart surgery and she succumbed to it. My wife was devastated to hear the news and cried and cried and cried inconsolably. She was my wife’s rock. My wife never even got to say goodbye as she wasn’t allowed to travel at the time. I was devastated too, but I had to stay strong for her. I had to stay strong for our unborn baby.

My wife had so wanted to share the news of the pregnancy with her friends once she completed 4 months, but now she couldn’t without talking about her mother and controlling her sobs. She wanted to grieve, but she was too frightened it would harm the baby. She felt guilty for even having a life growing inside her when her mother’s life was taken, and this guilt was consuming her. Some days were like she couldn’t breathe, she cried so much. She still hoped it to be a dream – a bad dream.

From Being a Motherless Daughter to Being a Motherless Mother

We are well aware of the fact that a woman needs her own mother the most when she becomes a mother herself. But that was not going to happen for us.

She was now a “motherless daughter” who was soon to become a “motherless mother”.

The entire pregnancy she missed her dreadfully, she misses her still and she just wants her back, she just wants her here with her, for her. She wanted to share with her mother all that was happening to her, wanted to ask her about the things she was experiencing and the emotional stuff she was going through and the names she had picked for the baby. But the reality was harsh. She was no more with us and her absence is massive.

Time is a great healer they say. And not a day goes by reminding of her, but now my wife has made peace with the situation and takes comfort from the fact that though her mother isn’t here with her now, she has taught her everything about being a good mother just by her example.

I try to convince my wife that at least she knew about him, knew he existed, but it’s never going to be the same. Yet, we like to think that she is looking down on him, on us, and we try to look after ourselves as best we can, bringing this brand new life into the world. We believe “she is our son’s guardian angel”.

After Shaarav was born there have been some very sad days where my wife would just wish that she could talk to her and get some advice or even just a hug. And whenever I think of her I couldn’t help myself thinking how, despite my wife’s every word of caution, I still couldn’t resist myself spilling the beans and she was the first person whom I told about. And I very vividly remember how excited she was about the baby.

Finding Ways to Pay Tribute to Her

And now about a year and a half later, my wife finds ways to pay tribute to her. My wife tells Shaarav how much his “Naani” loved him even though he wasn’t born and shows him pictures of her. My wife uses this as an opportunity to bring her to life again through her stories, morals and all the wonderful things my wife grew up learning, and to pass on to him the same heritage. Best of all, she tells him about the ways in which she can see her mother’s characteristics and qualities reflected in him. The sadness never goes away, but this way it seems to get easier to cope with. But deep within, she has this gutted feeling that Shaarav would never really know his “Naani” and would have to settle for her memories.

In the whole turn up of events I have had to stay strong for my wife, for the baby, and more than anything for us, knowing that I am the next shoulder she would lean on. I had to become her next rock and I will always be.

Coping with the loss

Going through the loss of your mother while you are going to be a mother yourself can be the most dreadful thing to happen to anybody. Coping with such a great loss can be the toughest thing to do. But, it becomes a lot easier if there’s someone to provide with the right kind of support.

I lost my mother when I was 4 months pregnant. She was the most cherished soul and still is. Mr. Husband was very fond of her too. But till date I kept shut about it, never sharing a word of how I felt with anyone, not even Mr. Husband. Feelings kept building but I didn’t find a way to express it until today when I started writing my own blog.

Thoughts and feelings are many, yet, I find myself writing about her so consuming that I feel choked with emotions. It’s easier for me to express from Mr. Husband’s point of view than writing from my own without crying again. Mr. Husband is the kindest soul I’ve ever known. He has been an unfaltering source of my strength this entire time. I feel privileged and proud for having him stand by me, supporting me in every endeavour of mine, giving wind to my wings. Nonetheless, someday I wish to be able to share my feelings from my own point of view when it’s a lot less hurting to express.

Love,

Mrs. Sunshine

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My Post-pregnancy Care Journey

I’m a beautiful mommy (I like myself to call that) to our perfectly happy and healthy 14-month-old. I delivered through a c-section in November 2016 and I had gained a whopping 20 kilograms during my pregnancy.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I had grown so huge that random people often asked me if I were carrying twins. But I was soon able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, which caught many people by surprise. People also complimented me for the same and were eager to know how was I able to shed all that baby fat so quickly.

My Journey

I told you I was huge!

Being a mother is a beautiful feeling, but mothering is a hard work and highly demanding, and in the overwhelming frenzy of being a good mommy it’s very easy to neglect and stop caring for yourself. Unfortunately, I fell prey to the same thing. I thought it was selfish of me to take time away from the baby and tend to my own needs.

But what I didn’t realize was that by neglecting taking care of myself not only was I risking my ability to take care of the baby, but also my ability to enjoy my motherhood to the fullest. So then Mr. Husband had to step forward and explain how vital it is for me to be well rested, eat healthy, be stress-free and remain healthy both physically and emotionally. So here I am sharing my post-pregnancy care journey, how I took care of myself (still do) and what I did differently:

1) Massage:

Having delivered through a c-section massage wasn’t an option for me until after about 2 months when the stitches healed properly. I was reluctant about having massages initially as c-section wasn’t easy on me. I was too shy to let any “maalishwaali” give me a massage. But Mr. Husband was adamant about giving one and after getting massages I was really rejuvenated. It helped relax my sore back and leg muscles, get my body toned. Not only having regular massages helped me get back in shape, but also fastened my recovery.

2) Eating healthy:

Eating healthy hasn’t ever come naturally to me as I am very fond of junk food. But when I was pregnant, I was overly particular about timely having healthy and nutritious food since I knew that whatever I ate would be directly affecting the baby. And I continue to do the same for whatever I eat still affects the baby indirectly if not directly. I drink plenty of water to keep me hydrated, which is also good for a healthy skin.

3) Taking proper rest:

Feeding the baby every 2-3 hours really took a toll on me and left me sleep-deprived (read turning me into a zombie – a Mombie, if that’s even a word). Well-meaning relatives advised me to nap when the baby naps, but you know it’s easier said than done. I honestly did try, but it only left me with pounding headaches. So, initial 2 months were really difficult for me until the baby got set into a proper sleeping and waking pattern. Now I enjoy good amounts of sleep if not for very long hours.

Happy to be pregnant! Pregnancy Photoshoot.

4) Exercise:

Having been gifted with an athletic body I never felt the need to exercise as such, but I continued having brisk walks and leisurely strolls regularly for an hour or so, both in the mornings and evenings. This helped me recuperate back to my shape and restore my health. Losing those extra pounds wasn’t difficult for me, all thanks to breastfeeding the baby exclusively for the first 6 months.

5) Personal care:

During pregnancy, I suffered from the skin pigmentation which resulted in dark and patchy looking skin. I had pigmented and patchy looking skin all over my body, especially tummy, neck region and underarms, for which the pregnancy hormones were to be blamed. I was very upset, but whatever I did about that didn’t improve my condition one bit. But now that those hormones are getting flushed out of my system the darkening is fading out itself. Still, I used to frequently lather those areas with a good moisturizer which also kept my skin moisturized.

6) Maintaining mental and emotional health:

Maintaining a sane mind in pregnancy and post-delivery can be quite tricky. All thanks to pregnancy hormones! With all the sleep deprivation, frequent mood swings (read anxiety) and round the clock demanding baby it can really get on your nerves. But a good mom is the one who maintains close relationships with friends and gets help when she realizes she isn’t coping well. She needs to talk to any trusting soul and ask for help if needed. I have kept in touch with my friends and other moms from my various communities to get all the information I need on baby care and mommy care and also ask for help if need be. It not only makes me stress-free but, also helps me cope better, have a positive attitude and get relaxed.

This is how I have been taking care of myself and now I’m far more equipped to raise a healthy child. In the end, kudos to all the mothers for their unconditional love for their little ones. And yes, we are definitely not being selfish by taking care of ourselves! So stop feeling guilty. Go on and pamper yourselves as much as you can.

Love,

Mrs. Sunshine


I am learning how to grow my blog with Neha from Bloggingmadeeasier.com. In case if you are interested in joining for next batch – Join grow your blog challenge here (https://bloggingmadeeasier.com/grow-your-blog-challenge-fundamentals-of-a-profitable-blog/). Also read Lessons I learned from my pregnancy by Deepshikha, Power Yoga For Healthy Mind & Body by Silja and How I Lost That Baby Weight – 10 Realistic and Practical Ways by Kuhoo.

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