Rest does not come easily to me. I am a potterer, a do-er, a juggler. I bustle and I buzz, both mentally and physically; able to carry out seemingly endless tasks at once. My loved ones find it at best perplexing, and at worst exhausting. I am nearly 7 months pregnant and very busy with work pre-Christmas and realised recently that I was simply not resting properly considering I am growing a human WITH MY BODY.
I slumped down in a teary exhausted heap with Dave a few weeks ago and ended up writing out a plan that enabled me to focus on work but also to rest. My pottering, busy brain really responds to lists, so I thought I’d share it here, and talk about some of the ways I am creating small (and big) moments of rest every day. Because if I can make time to rest, anyone can.
How to boost rest in pregnancy
- Our bed is a thirdhand freebie from my sister in law, which came with a thirdhand, mattress. We finally got a new Leesa mattress for it a couple of months ago. Having a new, properly supportive, 3 layer memory foam mattress has honestly been a game changer for both of us. Dave has a twisted spine and literally can't remember EVER not waking up in pain, until we got this mattress. That is a fairly miraculous testimonial I realise, but it's the truth. My back pain hasn’t completely gone but is vastly better. I can walk properly and even quickly again! We are genuinely impressed, and immensely relieved.
- I flick some Lavender and/or Rose Geranium oil around the bedroom every night before bed and also use both generously in the bath. The idea is that I strongly associate these smells with rest and relaxation and can use them as 'triggers' using labour. They smell divine and make me happy.
- Plants, lovely lamps, cushions and lush bedlinen all combine to make a bedroom I am always fairly desperate to retreat too. Our clothes are kept in the study which really helps keep the bedroom sparse and calm.
- I am in much better eating habits with this pregnancy than with my last. I’ve found that healthy eating breeds healthy eating, if that makes sense. So tons of fruit, veg, seeds and nuts, soup, stew and warm salads.
- I also have a carafe of water on my desk and huge jug in the kitchen, and I drink as much as I can. I like to think It's like giving my organs a little hug each time I take a sip, and it kind of IS like that.
Ok, this is a biggy, and the hardest part for me. Here is my plan.
- Hang out in bed. The new mattress means I want to basically live in bed. I have set aside weekend and Wednesday evenings as no work, bath and bed nights. If I don't manually schedule it in, I work.
- We are planning a mini hopefully spa-based break over Christmas/New year. (recommendations for Kent/London based ones needed please!)
- I am going for regular massages as much as I can afford too. GAME CHANGING.
- Taking regular candle lit baths is such a beautiful, simple way to show yourself some love. Frankie-Rose and I still have “princess baths” which involve lots of essential oils, epsom salts, music and candles.
- I am trying to find time every day to lay down, close my eyes, breathe deeply and listen to my hypnobirthing tracks.
- I’m starting maternity leave early. Last time I planned to work up until 38 weeks, and fully expected to have an overdue baby, as per most of the women in my family. Actually I worked right up to the day before I was induced at 37 weeks for pre-eclampsia. No rest time in between, and I was commuting every day in London. Never again! This time I have decided not to do any shoot days in the new year at all, until I feel ready after the baby arrives. I’ll blog and do writing projects, but otherwise I am hoping to deeply relax, read, meditate, practice my breathing, listen to my hypo tracks and get ready for the baby’s arrival.
- I am obsessing over The New Born Mothers blog at the moment. She proves that it is possible to be the sort of baby led mum I want to be, look after myself, AND have a fulfilling career too. She talks about not spending money on baby things as all they truly need is you and instead prioritising getting a cleaner or food prep service. I am SO all over this. So, a cleaner is starting this week. Twice a month for 2 hours will cost £40 a month. I can make that work with our household budget, just.
- Later on, I am also going to ask my local friends for super nourishing food I can store in my freezer, instead of baby shower gifts.
- Dave is pretty hands on and responsive, but he’s also very busy and not a mind reader (duh) so I'm making a special effort to communicate my needs to him, in a non-angry way (!). This ranges from asking for back massages (which he mostly obliges!) to asking him to clear up a little more. I’m planning on asking for help from family over Christmas and in the new year too, to make sure I can truly rest.
I can’t tell you the difference that having a rest plan has meant for me. Writing “rest” in my work calendar every week has really worked, as has visualising my New Year rest period. Even on weekends where I’ve worked every day, I’ve made time to go for walks, lunches, listen to my hypo tracks and get a couple of back massages from Dave too.
I’ve always been crap at resting, but how about you? Pregnant or not, do you find it easy to make time to rest and truly relax? What little or big things do you do to rest and love yourself each week? I would love some more ideas, and spa recommendations too!
A bit more on Leesa: They operate a 100 day return policy which means online mattress shopping is a breeze. Any mattresses that are returned are refunded and donated to a local charitable cause, or if one can’t be found - will be recycled. They also donate one mattress for every ten sold.
It comes in the most unfathomably small box as the mattress arrives compressed and rolled up. We made a little video of the unpacking process because it is quite miraculous to behold (and quite sweet at the end too! Frankie was VERY excited and has been insisting on sleeping in our bed!) They have kindly given me an offer code for my readers: use this link to get £50 off your first order.
This post was written in collaboration with Leesa, but the opinions are my own. I would have sent the mattress back if it didn't work for us, our backs are too messed up not too, but we are genuinely super impressed with it.