Girl Tries Baby: 31 Weeks – Self Care

Hey baby,

Holy moly, do I ever feel like my belly popped this week. You’ve gone from feeling mushy, or “pudgy” as your Dad says, to being a solid baby bump. It’s kind of cool, and I feel properly pregnant now.

It’s been a week of ups and downs. We had a pretty rough Thanksgiving weekend, which is sort of what has inspired today’s post on self-care. Before we get into that, though, on the positive side I also received so much love from my coworkers and my network. You were showered with baby gifts, your first library. People gifted me with their favourite childhood books, ones that I can’t wait to curl up in bed with you and read. I’ll try and do the voices. I pretty much rock at the Gruffalo. Your Dad was over the moon at the gifts as well, and he’s also eager to share in reading time!

31 weeks

So, self care.

Without going into details on this past weekend, let’s just say that it capped off what has been a phenomenally stressful year. I cried. I sobbed. I was pretty devastated. Time and again you’d kick me mid-emotional-meltdown, reminding me that you come first.

I know you do. Mommy has a tendency to get caught up in the stress.

I spoke with my doctor yesterday and at least got confirmation that I’m not going crazy. Between layoffs, an awful economy, parental divorce, the passing of a coworker, shingles and more… she said that most pregnant people going through one of these things would feel overwhelmed. Pile them all together and she was not at all surprised that I’m struggling to keep it together.

In all likelihood, she’ll be signing me off work earlier than planned, but we’ll decide the exact date at our next appointment.

What that brings me to is the importance of self-care. Whether you’re going through my exact situation, or even one of the events on my crazy list, self-care is paramount. If you can’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of anyone else in your life? How can you offer support? How can you contribute to your community? You probably can, but not in the way you’d like to. Not to the best of your abilities.

31 weeks

I see this in people all the time. Be it work, home life or what have you, we all tend to go, go, go, past the point of burn out. Getting to burn out? Bad, bad idea. Take it from me. I’ve been there… a few times. Learn my lesson the first time, not the second, third or fourth.

What am I going to do to take better care of myself for the next nine weeks (and hopefully beyond)?

  • Sleep when I need to sleep, which is often.
  • Yoga. I’ve been giving this a big miss lately, and my body isn’t happy.
  • Physio. Again… I fell off the physio wagon and my back and hips ache.
  • Walk more. I don’t do a lot of exercise at the moment, but walking is something I rock at! 10,000 steps a day is my goal. Yesterday I hit 17,000 so we did well! The fresh air, as well, that helps me process my thoughts.
  • Attempt to eat more nutritious food. When I’m stressed, I move to comfort foods. While my weight gain is on target, I know what I’m putting in my mouth, and I could be doing a whole lot better for you. I’m sorry about this in advance, but I’m going to try and turn things around.
  • Focus on what I can control. I have a pretty incredible supervisor at work who, despite all the recent stress in the industry, continues to focus on what she can control. I admire that focus and am going to try my best to emulate it with what time I have left at work. Work aside, it’s a pretty good life lesson in general.
  • Breathe. Simple, right? Except, studies show that when we’re stressed, we tense up and are often not breathing as much as we should be. Decrease the amount of oxygen to your body and you’re only doing yourself harm. So… breathe.
  • Remove myself from harmful situations. I’ve had to practice this recently. When I get extremely stressed at the moment, I start to get sharp, pinching pains from deep in my belly. I don’t know what it is, nor does my doctor, but it can’t be a good sign. Next time, rather than wait for it to happen, I’m going to have to proactively remove myself from these situations, for you as much as for me.
  • Spend time with your Dad. We have so little time left as our family of two that I really want to maximize these opportunities. It can be seeing a movie, eating dinner or just chatting when I get home, but I want to make sure we’re soaking up the last of this time together. Because it will never just be the two of us again. To that effect, for your Dad’s birthday, we’re heading to Canmore for two nights. We’re just going to eat, walk, chill and enjoy the mountain air. Pure relaxation, I hope!

I think life is getting more stressful, not less. We talk about technology and innovations to make our lives better, more efficient, but it seems like we’re simply putting more things on our plate, not less. We’re seeing teenagers and even small children developing anxiety disorders. There is something seriously wrong with this picture.

31 weeks

Whether we like it or not, you’re going to get overwhelmed at some point. I encourage you, and will aim to be a model of this, to practice ongoing self-care.

We all have to put ourselves first. Does it sound selfish? Sure… if you think about it for ten seconds. Think about it for eleven, and you’re actually doing yourself, your friends, your family and your community a favour.

I love you.

Mum x


  • You are as big as a pineapple and weigh between 2.5-3.8 lbs.
  • I’m frequently out of breath, as you’re taking up precious lung space.
  • You’ve developed a movement pattern. Each day around 8 p.m. as I lie in bed reading a book, you start to have a little dance party in my belly. You kick, punch, wriggle and roll. Hint: NEVER look this up on the internet, because it will tell you your baby is having seizures. The doctor assures me you’re fine… and that Googling is the devil.
  • Your nursery is well-stocked, thanks to your Aunt and Uncle. They dropped off a bassinet, diapers and a HUGE stack of clothes this week. No matter if you’re a boy or a girl, we’re more or less ready for you. Next step: car seat.
  • I love you so much and I don’t even know you. I’m getting so excited to meet you ‘on the outside’ and hold you in my arms. My vivid dreams tell me that you’re going to be a girl. Girl or boy, I love you already.


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4 Responses to Girl Tries Baby: 31 Weeks – Self Care

  1. Karen Gallagher-Burt October 18, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    Ah beautiful Victoria!

    You are an amazing human being with a wonderful partner and this baby will experience so much love with you both as parents.

    You HAVE had a stressful past 8 – 10 months, more than many people can handle. But you have handled it well. Crying is okay. Melting down IS okay. It is a combination of energy, emotion and hormones that is simply screaming ENOUGH! And it triggers all those wonderful things you spoke about. Sleep. need for exercise, outdoor time, emotional support from David.

    Learn this self care thing. And practice it every day in little ways. Because we as Mums are not very good at it and we need to model it for our children so that they learn to care for themselves too!

    You are beautiful inside and out…..and you amaze me my friend with your strength. Allow us to love you!

    • Victoria Smith October 18, 2015 at 10:19 am #

      You’re so sweet, KGB. It has been a tough few months, but I’m not going to lie, going on mat leave early per the doctor’s orders is a relief. One thing had to give, so I’m glad it has/will without causing too much extra stress. Lots of love to you and the family.

  2. Sabina October 18, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    Great post Victoria! Your post definitely provided very important reminders – especially the one about focusing on what I can control. It’s funny, I was having a conversation with my friend this morning – about it – I put my energy on the wrong things, things that are out of my control – at work and in my personal life.

    Self-care – a daily practice for sure. We all have our ‘bag of crazies’ as I like to call it, and it is ok to have that moment – and then release it. We are all human after all.

    You’ll do great Victoria – the fact you are aware of what you do and proactively taking the steps of taking care of yourself, it is important step in the right direction.

    I hope we catch up again before the wee one is born – which of course I can’t wait to meet him or her!!

    • Victoria Smith October 18, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

      Thanks, S. We definitely do all have our bag of crazy! What’s hard for one person is old hat to another and vice versa. But as long as we all have a little bit of patience and kindness for one another, and ourselves… well, then we’ll probably all be alright.

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