What helped get me through my first pregnancy was a who: Kathy. She sat at the desk next to mine at work. Her youngest child had just left home, leaving her with an acute case of empty-nest syndrome, so she adopted me and my pregnancy as her pet project. Kathy watched my diet, kept me off my feet, urged me to drink gallons of water, eased my fears, and stayed so thrilled about the tiny newcomer that I couldn't help getting caught up in the excitement.
Whether it's a friend's TLC, your husband's gentle back rubs, or an ample supply of chocolate-chunk ice cream, we all need to find a soothing way to survive those nine long months. Here's what ten new moms say helped them.
The bigger my belly got, the more effort and energy it took to run even the simplest of errands, like grocery shopping. I was carrying around too much body weight to also haul heavy bags of bottled water, milk, and juice home from the supermarket. That's when I discovered the beauty of Internet grocery services. It cost a little extra, but having everything I needed dropped off at my doorstep was really helpful.Deborah, New York, N.Y.
Medical complications kept me on bed rest for five months. During that time, I devoured close to 100 mystery novels. Reading about faraway worlds of murder, espionage, and betrayal helped take my mind off worries about the baby. I was too busy trying to unravel the complex plots to dwell on every minor ache and pain.Anita, Memphis, Tenn.
Before I got pregnant, my husband was the perfect nighttime snuggly. But once I got big, he wasn't much help -- until he bought me a body pillow. By swinging one leg and one arm over it, I found a place to balance my growing belly and could finally get some sleep.Cathi, Moreno Valley, Calif.
I took prenatal yoga classes twice a week throughout my nine months. It was the perfect gentle workout. The postures strengthened my back and legs and even helped when it came time for labor. All the meditation we'd done in class really prepared me to relax my mind and body during childbirth.Alicia, New York, N.Y.
A full-time job plus chores at home kept me pretty busy -- and tired. During my third month of pregnancy, I gave in and hired a part-time housekeeper to do some of the cleaning and laundry. I was able to spend more time resting and planning for the baby, rather than mopping the floor and folding clothes. It made all the difference and helped keep me sane.Andrea, Tempe, Ariz.
During my last pregnancy, daily walks with my dog or pushing my two older kids in a stroller helped me sleep better at night. The exercise also eased the swelling in my legs. I was pregnant in the height of summer, and when it got too hot to be outside, I'd go to the local pool to swim laps. Floating weightless in the cool water helped my queasy, ever-growing body feel normal again.Sarah, Concord, N.H.
Pregnancy indigestion meant that I was often popping TUMS antacid tablets, which my doctor had told me was also a good way to get calcium. I bought them in bulk and always kept a stash nearby -- in my car, my bedside table, my purse, my desk at work. I'm the district manager of a chain of retail stores, and word got out about my love affair with these antacids. Each time I showed up at one of my stores, waiting for me next to a pile of paperwork was an economy-size bottle of the tablets.Debbie, Melbourne, Fla.
With each of my four pregnancies, I relied on those little kicks (and later big ones) to tell me that I had company in there. All my kids had their own style. My first baby kicked in sets of four, the next rolled a lot, and the third gave me big single jabs. My last child was more of a squirmer. These precious kicks helped me get to know each child months before he or she was born.Elisabeth, Damascus, Md.
Ben and Jerry were my best friends during pregnancy. I could polish off an entire carton of Chunky Monkey in one sitting. It was a lot of calories, sure, but isn't it nice to know that ice cream counts as a source of calcium?Valerie, Laurel, Md.
It's a long walk from the parking lot to my office at work, and by my third trimester, my feet were killing me. They'd swell up from my morning trek and hurt for the rest of the day. And because my work is so hectic, I rarely got a chance to prop my feet up long enough for the swelling to go down. But I discovered that putting insoles in my shoes cushioned me during my long walks, kept swelling to a minimum, and left my feet feeling comfortable all day.Michele, Orlando, Fla.