Top 10 New Year's resolutions of a first time pregnant mom

With a bun in the oven, ‘Business of Being Diva’s’ Jennifer Grassman lists her baby-centric 2012 goals. Photo: Doriana S.

HOUSTON, TX, January 6, 2012 – 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, December 14, 2011 was when my husband Jason and I found out. Clearly, two bars had materialized on my First Response Pregnancy Test. Jason was getting ready for work and I had taken the test under the assumption that I was not pregnant, but simply getting fat and feeling extra cranky.

In my naive noggin, I theorized that even if the test came out positive, I’d have the wherewithal to plan and carry out a cute way to tell Jason. But when I spied those two pink bars I simply screamed, “I’m pregnant!” This of course, elicited an equally enthusiastic (albeit slightly less crazed) response from Jason. He ended up being late for work because we lost track of time parsing out those little lines and chattering about what to do next. “Call your doctor!” was Jason’s sage conclusion.

We planned to wait until Christmas before telling our parents, figuring, “What better Christmas gift than tidings of a pending grandchild?” However, given that my jeans would no longer button, and that my navel kept peeking out underneath my form-fitting tees, we figured we’d better tell them sooner rather than later.

We picked up a few bibs bearing cute platitudes like, “I love Grandma,” and “What happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandma’s.” Then we wrapped them up and presented them to our moms as early Christmas presents. (We’d already surprised my father-in-law at work with a Merry Christmas card from his upcoming grandchild.) Seeing everyone’s faces light up as the big news hit home was priceless.

Needless to say, these last few weeks have been very exciting, busy, educational, and exhausting. We had our first ultrasound at 6 weeks and 3 days, and already, a little heart could be heard beating steady and strong. Seeing that cute, tiny, peanut-shaped blur on the monitor was fascinating. Hearing that heartbeat was life altering. 

All of which gets us to my Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2012:

1. Pray constantly, even when it isn’t practical to close your eyes or fold your hands. Don’t talk to yourself; talk to God. He’s available to listen 24/7 to all your sentimental concerns and maternal worries, and he’ll never get tired of hearing you chatter.

2. Communicate. When reading the Bible or a book or magazine, read out-loud so baby can hear too. Sing songs and talk out loud while doing the dishes, driving, and going about the daily routine, so baby can get to know your voice. Daddy can chime in too!

3. Eat healthy:

  • Enjoy fish in moderation (6 oz. per week) to avoid toxic mercury levels. Avoid sushi, raw eggs, and raw meat to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk and cheeses to reduce the risk of consuming Listeria, a bacteria that can cause infections, premature labor, and miscarriages.
  • Wash all veggies and fruit thoroughly.
  • Lower your caffeine intake.
  • Ask your doctor for a printed list of foods and medicine you cannot eat. Here’s a list my doctor gave me of safe medicines: PDF file.

But try not to read too many websites about dietary stuff. Most are unreliable and many will only scare you. Get a good book and pepper your doctor with questions. God knows your baby doesn’t need Howard Hughes for a mother! All things in moderation is your new golden rule.

4. Involve your husband in your experience as often as possible. Invite him to all doctor appointments, go shopping together for maternity clothes, and take him up on his offers to go out on late night expeditions to find the prunes and wild rice you are craving.

5. Take prenatal vitamins. Most of these contain fish oil pills providing DHA and Omega 3 (baby-brain-building fatty acids) minus the mercury our aquatic friends often contain. They’re safe and can help replace fish in your diet. Unfortunately, fish oil pills make me really nauseous. Thankfully, I found one vitamin, called Vitafol-One, which incorporates the Omega 3 and DHA nutrients without using fish oil. My doctor said not to worry too much over which prenatal vitamin I’d been taking, since I’m very healthy and already eat a well balanced diet. She gave me a large bag of samples to try, but mentioned that sometimes, prenatal vitamins can cause or exacerbate constipation (just what we don’t need). If that happens, she said I could switch to a double-dose of Flintstones Vitamins*. Sounds Yabba-dabba-doo to me!

6. Exercise every day, but don’t do anything that causes pain or discomfort. Avoid exercises that strain your stomach muscles (abs or obliques), like sit-ups, or that torturous “bicycle” leg workout so many fitness gurus swear by. Also avoid getting short of breath, because if you’re not getting enough oxygen, neither is your baby. Breath deeply and evenly, imagining all the wonderful life-giving oxygen going straight to your child. I found an instructional prenatal yoga video at Wal-Mart, which has mapped out routines for all three trimesters. I also plan to use my stationary bike as much as possible (which will give me plenty of time to watch my favorite BBC shows on Netflix!). Just take everything slow, focus on relaxation, breathe, and don’t push yourself.

7. When tired, take a nap. I love the fact that I can legitimately put “extra sleep” on my New Years resolutions list. If your stomach is upset, prop yourself up with pillows to elevate your upper body. You can also stick pillows under your belly for support. Or, if you really want to be a preggo-pro, get one of those cool Boppy pillows from MotherhoodTarget, or Babies “R” Us. I’m putting it on my wish list!

8. Drink 12+ cups of fluid a day. Water is best, but you can also enjoy pasteurized juice, tea**, and soup (the low-sodium kind can help avoid dehydration). While 12+ cups may sound like a lot, I find I gulp down water like a parched camel at a desert oasis.

9. Prep the house for baby. Once I know my baby’s gender, I’m excited about decorating the nursery and collecting infant gadgets, like a car seat, crib, walker, et cetera. It’s never too early (and really quite fun) to start putting together a baby shower wish list. Some stores, like Babies “R” Us, will even give you gift cards when you register.

10. Take lots of photos and keep a journal of this amazing experience. Chronicle your journey from the initial bump, to funny cravings, and first kicks and conclude with the blessed event.

Not listed here are two important rules: avoid alcohol and abstain from smoking. The only reason I didn’t put those in my personal list, is because, thank God, I have come to find the smell of alcohol extraordinarily revolting, and I have never smoked. Some will find such restrictions trying, so here is my advice: A bottle of sparkling cider or a six pack of O’Doul’s makes me feel included at parties and social gatherings where drinks are being served. If you’re in need of stress relief, try dark chocolate, warm milk, or another comfort food that will ease your stress when a glass of wine won’t do.

* Ask your doctor before double dosing on any vitamins, even kids’ supplements. My doctor’s advise is tailored to me, however, and isn’t necessarily right for everyone. 

** Some medicinal and specialty teas (like Throat Coat and LaxaTea Wellness Tea) are unsafe and not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. Read the back of your tea package to check for warnings. If ever unsure, always call and ask your doctor. You can find special teas formulated for pregnant women from Traditional Medicinals. In general, mainstream brands like TAZOBigelow, and non-medicinal selections from Celestial Seasonings, are generally regarded as perfectly safe. TAZO’s Organic Ginger Tea is caffeine free, and has helped ease my morning sickness. However, in all circumstances, be sure to check with your doctor on these or any other suggestions you may come across.

About Jennifer Grassman:
Singer, songwriter and pianist, Jennifer Grassman is an award-winning recording artist based in Houston, Texas. She pens the Washington Times Communities column, The Business of Being Diva, and will shortly debut a new column on pregnancy and life as an expectant mother, so stay tuned! Subscribe by RSS feed and read more from Jennifer at www.JenniferGrassman.com. You can follow Jennifer on @JGrassman or Facebook.com/JenniferGrassmanMusic


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Jennifer Grassman

Jennifer Grassman is a singer, songstress and pianist who inadvertently became a music industry trailblazer in the wake of the digital revolution. In addition to penning her quirky music industry column, "The Business of Being Diva," Jennifer writes songs and performs concert tours. Jennifer’s accomplishments include being nominated Houston’s best female vocalist and best songwriter and was named best keyboardist in the 2010 Houston Press Music Awards. She assisted in a campaign that raised more than $100,000 for CrimeStoppers and was commended by musician Tori Amos for her charitable efforts on behalf of domestic-abuse victims.  Jennifer has released three CDs, the most recent of which, "Serpent Tales & Nightingales," received accolades from Christianity Today, the Houston Chronicle and Brian Ray and the guitarist of Paul McCartney's band. You can check out Jennifer’s music at www.JenniferGrassman.com, like her on Facebook and tweet her at www.Twitter.com/JGrassman.

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