Yay! You’re pregnant!
Now you can freak out about everything you need to do.
Working takes up so much of our time, and we need to make sure the right things are taken care of.
This is excluding any of the fun stuff, like decorating a nursery fit for this century or organizing baby clothes into a closet that trumps anyone that I’ve had for myself. Most repeat moms completely leave that out of the baby process, from what I understand. But there are some business sided things to do before maternity leave, and that’s what I’ve curated for you here.
Here I am (or at least my swollen feet) with 20 days to go before baby! I am so lucky to be near some of the World’s best beaches.
I mean seriously, LOOK AT THAT SKY (and water)
I want you to be prepared for REALITY and everything it has in store, and as modern moms, we need to know what we are missing out on.
There are so many things you could do, but these are the necessary things to do before maternity leave:
1. Save some $$$
This goes without saying. With a pitiful guaranteed family leave like we Americans have (a whopping zero weeks), you better get saving. 9 months isn’t forever, but it’s a good while. Besides, pregnancy never goes fast for the pregnant. Even if you have paid leave (fully or partially), starting a baby fund was the greatest thing I did! I am still sitting on thousands of dollars I saved for maternity leave almost 2 years ago!!
This money was saved for things like:
- Hospital Bills
- Takeout lol
- Surprise baby necessities
2. Seek out any incentives and policies with HR
Inquiring with HR is NOT the same as telling your boss. In fact – you’ll want to hit them up before telling your boss you’re pregnant.
Your company may offer some awesome benefits for expecting women. I waited so long to expose myself and did not research enough. Basically, I missed out on a $200 Visa gift card……. Ya, don’t be like me.
People love pregnant ladies! You might just get a literal cookie. Who knows?! Figure out your benefits, and talk to HR about adding a newborn to an insurance policy. NOTE: Babies are charged delivery fees. Don’t forget insurance! *** click here to read my bit about the benefits of an FSA! You can thank me later.
3. Decide on when you’ll leave
This is tough because you have two options:
- Begin your leave before the baby is coming, and use some time you could spend at home with your baby
- Wait to stop working until your water breaks/labor starts
I went with the latter and would recommend it (with contingencies). Waiting for a baby, alone, at home, can be mind-numbing. Not to mention, wasting precious leave time meant for that precious babe! However, since I was working right up until the very last second, I was running around being too busy to take care of myself.
I ended up going to work with my water leaking out of me because I had an appointment that afternoon, and I had no idea that is was amniotic fluid (I actually thought I was just peeing my pants lol)… I wasn’t even 39 weeks! Not the worst thing in the world, but my May Babe was born in April ha. Being so busy kept me from doing a couple things on this list….
4. Tell your BOSS
I know this is obvious, but as inevitable as your maternity leave is – you still need to break the news properly.
There is a right a wrong time to and way to do this. Just one more thing to make pregnancy tougher for millennial working moms (yay).
- The DOs and DON’Ts for a Professional Pregnancy Announcement
- When and How to Break the News to your Boss
6. Work out when you’ll come back/communication plans
Coming back is a big deal. And the first step is getting the date on your calendar (more on this later). Human Resources will provide you with an end-of-leave date, and it is somewhat flexible. Any details need to be discussed with anyone you report to. Maybe you come in for 2 days a week starting at week 8 of Maternity Leave and work your way up to 5. There are options!
Most importantly, when does leadership expect to hear from you? Once a week? Hopefully not, but you need to know and discuss what you determine to be reasonable. And of course, who the hell is out of office and can keep you company?! Find some fellow moms or reconnect with old friends that dropped off the radar after their baby came around.
7. Get the word out
Now is the time to start finding mom friends! The friends that know EXACTLY what a recovering mom & baby need.
Announcing your pregnancy friends can happen in the blink of an eye (thanks Facebook), but I’m talking about sharing your plans with friends and making new friends! The kind with kids or current pregnancies.
Let people know if you’re interested in playdates, trading babysitting services, etc.
8. Treat yo’self
Get Out!! Of the office. The house. Get out of your routine. Things are going to change…. Even if this isn’t your first baby, You need some “you” time. Indulge! Pamper yourself. Have that ONE glass of wine. You will be wishing you had.
seriously, take a day off work.
Take TEN! Any days off after the baby will not be for you.
No matter how hard you try to convince yourself otherwise.
10. Prepare potential visitors
This is huge for me, but not everyone. Prepare upcoming visitors with guidelines. i.e. call before coming, bring fooood I absolutely could not handle the prospect of unannounced visitors during my maternity leave. They probably wouldn’t have bothered us, but I couldn’t stand to think about it. Call me neurotic. I don’t care. Whatever you expect out of your maternity leave, you need to communicate your wishes.
No one can read minds (i hope) so prepare for disappointment when someone does EXACTLY what you don’t want them to do. If you’ve found yourself with an overbearing relative, you need to get those issues settled! It can be incredibly toxic, but is easily resolved in most cases. Find the boundary-breakers in your circles, and remind them of mama bear instincts. Any calm and sweet demeanors will change after baby sucks all the sleep out of your night!
11. Arrange home/pet care
Who will bring in your mail? Feed the cats? Take the dog? Maybe it’s your husband, but these details need to be ironed out before that labor window opens (at 36 weeks).
12. Establish assigned chores
I don’t want to say “establish chores” because I’d sound like a dictator. But everyone should hold their weight around the house. I’m an open opponent to housework, but I think it should be evenly distributed. None of this “woman’s work” garbage. Before maternity leave, we established the basics. He does dishes. I do laundry. Etc. Most importantly:
- we grocery shop together
- he puts the groceries away
- walking the dog is out of my hands until 6 weeks after
- I handle feedings and most diapers
- I order the takeout lol
You get the gist…
There need to be some “unwritten rules” in place. Or hell, write ’em down! Figure out what needs to be done and by who so there isn’t an argument over piled dishes while baby (or mom) is napping.
13. Take some Maternity Pictures
One of my biggest regrets in life is avoiding a camera.. I still do this, although it isn’t always my fault!
Because I was working so hard during my entire pregnancy, I didn’t prioritize a maternity photo shoot, which isn’t the end of the world
14. Find that pediatrician
This is one of those things that is on every list, but I blew it off thanks to my busy schedule. You don’t need to interview them, but if you get a few friendly referrals, I’d go for it! Don’t just wing this one. Changing your pediatrician is easy, but it’s reassuring to know that this doctor has seen them since birth.
I ended up choosing the doctor closest to my house and switching after a few appointments. I could’ve known it wouldn’t work if I had just taken a field trip or gave them a call.
Bedside manner is easy to gauge with the simplest interactions.
15. Research Insurance Options
Surprise! Your newborn will be billed by the hospital. You have 30 days after the baby is born to add him or her to your insurance policy.
Whether it’s through your job or your husbands, you are in for an increase. In my case, the insurance was entirely through me. I personally LOVE the high deductible/low cost plans that often include an FSA, but not when my daughter was born. I used her birth as a rare chance to change our policy to the LOW deductible/highER cost plan. It costs more each month, but I/we were not hit with a GIANT hospital bill.
My pregnant work-partner (and most moms) end up paying over $3,500 with insurance for a regular delivery. I paid less than $250.
So do your research.
16. Practice & Prepare
Bringing home a baby comes with a steep learning curve for most of us. There are a lot of things to do to prepare your life and family for the new, all-encompassing arrival.
To prepare your dog, check out how we retrained our dog and prepped our totally insane, high energy breed to be the sweetest big brother.
17. Pack a damn bag…!
This was discouraged in every blog I found! Or it at least sounded hard. The tricky part about packing is what to wear. Any pregnant woman can tell you, there might be 5 items of clothing that fit in those final weeks. How the hell are you supposed to pack them away?! You are NOT. Let me break it down…Your prepared hospital bag doesn’t need clothes in it. (Maybe just a delivery robe for instagram worthy photo ops)
As soon as you show up to the hospital in your last pair of pants, you upgrade to a hospital gown and live in it for 2-4 days.
Just prepare the things you won’t need while you’re waiting around for contractions to hit.
- Cute robe in case you aren’t digging the hospital look
- Refillable water bottle
- Snacks for you and dad!
- Nursing pillow (for practicing with the newborn)
- Car seat (installed)
- Spare chargers
- Minimal makeup essentials
- Baby’s going-home outfit….!
- Backup shirt for mom!
annnnnd wear the same pants you got to the hospital in! Done!
Maternity leave will come and go before you know it, and that time is best spent bonding and being mommy. There will be plenty of things that come up from your recovery to your baby’s adjustment to the whole wide world! You’ll want to take care of as many things as possible before that blissful period. I hope this sets you up for a stress-less maternity leave 🙂
Now enjoy shameless ice cream eating and a few pedicures. You deserve it!
- The Ultimate List of Things To Do on Maternity Leave
- 6 things New Moms Can Expect During the First Week Home with Baby
- How to Pump at Work with a Busy Schedule
- The only 15 Things a Newborn Really Need
- Returning to Work After Maternity Leave, Like a PRO
- Breastfeeding Essentials for the First Month Postpartum
I know it can be hard to make everything happen. Trust me! But if you can make any of these happen, you’ll be glad you did!!