There’s a blue line… there is… right there… look!
Oh, my goodness… that’s it… we’re pregnant!
And there it is… the whoop.
The mixture of excitement, blind panic and total disbelief that rushes in…
I remember that feeling SO well. I had it three times. Each time was different, but each time it came with that whoop.
Then came the realisation… and silence fell…
That deep realisation of the ENORMITY of it.
The HUGENESS of what we were doing.
We were making a baby, another little person who we were responsible for… totally and completely FOREVER!
I am one of those people who have ALWAYS wanted to be a mum. Like forever… at 12 I remember wishing I could just have a baby. My dolls had a battering with all the play they had over the years (mostly me making them wee and wet their nappy, SOOO much fun!!), so I was desperate to see that blue line and devastated that it hadn’t happened within the first 5 minutes of deciding to have a baby (even though my husband and I were actually making supper at the time, had all our clothes on and were nowhere near each other!). But seeing that blue line when it did happen REALLY wasn’t like it was in the films! ‘Cos, aren’t you meant to have a glow, and excitement, look lovingly into each other’s eyes and delight in the moment with an orchestra striking up behind you??? Yeah… that didn’t happen for us; I even think for one of my babies my husband’s response was, ‘that’s fab! Are we having baked beans for supper?’
But it was different for me…
I FELT different. I KNEW I was different.
I was growing a baby!
I SO wanted to know what to do for the best for this tiny, tiny person. I wanted to start straight away. Quite frankly I wanted to shout from the rooftops, ‘I’m special’, but no one was really that interested, and you are supposed to keep it quiet for the first 12 weeks anyway, aren’t you…. If you know me, you will know QUITE HOW hard that is for me to do!
So, I had my little secret.
It was time to check in with the midwife; I was excited and sure they would be too… but apparently it wasn’t that special, it was what they do every day; I was just another mum with another baby…
Honestly, disappointed was NOT the word!
So that was that… I went home and had secret chats with my baby and waited to become a mum.
If only I had known the science back then that we know about now!
It turns out that you CAN be doing a whole heap of really important stuff before your baby is born. And this stuff can really affect your baby’s life outcomes.
You can begin working towards being an amazing parent right from the very start. Thinking about things like what you want for your baby, what YOU think is important, what you would see as success for them IS really important… and discussing that with your husband or partner is ALSO super important because it helps if you both happen to be thinking the same sort of thing! If you aren’t, it doesn’t matter as that can be worked out, but it’s GREAT to know that BEFORE it becomes an issue between you.
Then, you can start building your baby’s brain. You can do that by working on you; looking at your stress levels and bringing them down, you can take up exercise so that you can be as fit as you can for when the baby comes. (If you haven’t exercised in the last 4000 years, PLEASE don’t decide to take up marathon running, now’s not the time! This is more about going swimming, taking walks or continuing with the low impact classes that you have already been doing).
Then as your baby gets bigger, you can start helping to grow their brain, you can be talking to them, rubbing your tummy, thinking about them, getting in tune with them. All this is all going towards building the bonds between you and building them a strong brain.
You can get together boxes of textured things that when your baby is older you can give them to play with. You can make shakers for them; you can begin to collect second-hand baby books to read to them. You can even read to them now… YES, I KNOW you are going to feel silly, but HONESTLY, you are doing amazing things for your baby and their brain if you do. So put the feeling silly aside and crack on, grab a book, a cuppa and snuggle down and read to your bump, or even better, get your partner to read to your baby, because you see, as far as I am concerned, parenting starts now…
Parenting starts with you. Building your baby’s brain starts with you…
It’s about getting YOU ready, getting YOU into the right frame of mind, learning the new things that you are going to need, understanding more about your baby’s needs. That’s what early parenting is and the more you prepare for it, the better it will be for both your baby and for you.
So here are my top 5 things to do when you are pregnant to get you started in your early parenting:
- Talk to your baby ALL the time
- Talk with your partner about what they think is important for their baby’s outcomes, decide on your own outcomes
- Start collecting books and share them with your baby
- Start finding out about your baby’s development (the Oliiki app will help you with this)
- Start thinking about how you want to be as a parent (again… there’s a little app that has this covered 😉)
All of the things on your list are part of your baby’s education… I know… it might seem a bit odd that I’m saying that talking to your partner about your baby’s life outcomes is education, but it is… because it is all about the steering that you will be giving your baby; the direction you will be taking them in.
And I think putting education at the centre of your parenting is THE NUMBER ONE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR BABY’S LIFE OUTCOMES after ensuring that you are as healthy as you can be…
I honestly do…
That’s why I built the Oliiki app, so that I could show you, every day, through simple daily activities quite WHAT amazing things you are doing for your baby even in the tiny things you do for them.
If you do nothing other than seriously think about putting education (in its broadest sense) at the centre of your parenting, then you will have set yourself out to be an AMAZING parent. And if you want help with it, then the Oliiki app has your back. We are there for you each day, every day from conception to when your baby is two years old, showing you QUITE how AMAZING you are being for your baby.
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