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Week #14 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 14

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           Your baby's sweet little face is changing a lot this week!  His cheeks are becoming more distinct and the bridge of his nose is beginning to appear.  His ears have moved up from the side of his neck and are now higher up on his head.  Not only have his ears been on the move, but so have his eyes which are now set closer together.  Your baby's facial muscles are also developing and this week are getting quite a workout as they exercise their strength and cause your little one to make several different facial expressions.  Even at this early stage of development your baby is already working on the "Oh, Mom, not peas again!" grimace, which will make you smile as well as the "I love you, Mom!  You're the best!" grin that will melt your heart.

       This week also brings with it a lot of changes internally for your baby.  By now, your sweet one's kidneys have begun producing urine, which he will pass back into your amniotic fluid.  I guess you could say that this week marks the first time that your little one will "piddle" on you.  Just wait; it will probably happen again after he is born!  Not only has his thyroid gland matured and begun producing hormones, but his liver is now making bile and his spleen is busy producing red blood cells.  While it is hard to fathom that all of this miraculous growth could be occurring within your 3 1/2 inch and 1 1/2 ounce baby, believe it Momma!  You are in the midst of one of life's greatest accomplishments...growing your baby one week at a time!


Your Body
           Congratulations, Mom!  You are now in the second trimester of your pregnancy.  The second trimester, usually, brings with it great and exciting changes and is commonly referred to as the "golden" time of pregnancy.  Hopefully by this week your morning sickness (or all day sickness) has dissipated.  You should also be starting to notice an increase in your energy level, which after months of down-right exhaustion will also be a welcome change of pace.  You uterus is now the size of a grapefruit and your expanding belly will soon (if it's not already) be an obvious reminder to those around you of the miracle that is growing deep within.  One of the highlights of the next few weeks of your pregnancy will be experiencing your little one move for the first time.  Some women are able to feel their little one flutter as early as this week.  Others, on the other hand, don't feel these slight movements until closer to the 17th week of pregnancy.  If you have already felt your sweet one move, you know what a miraculous moment it can be!  If you have yet to feel these fantastic flutters, hang tight, your turn is coming and when it does it will be a moment that you will never forget.


  You're Wondering. . .
           Now that most of our friends and family members know that I am pregnant, I am suddenly surrounded by pregnancy and parenthood "experts" who are bombarding me with advice.  I know that they mean well, but their unsolicited suggestions are driving me nuts!  How can I get them to keep these "pearls of wisdom" to themselves?

       First, while your situation is frustrating, you should take comfort in knowing that you are not a solo member of the "Stop telling me how to make, grow, feed, burp, diaper, dress and raise my baby" club.   Unfortunately, most pregnant women at one time or another have found themselves in this situation and as charter members, can commiserate with you as the advice continues to pour in.  While you hit the nail on the head by stating that most advice givers mean well, that does not make their unsolicited expertise any less bothersome.  Here are a few tips to help you handle the unavoidable advice that may come your way as your pregnancy and parenthood journey progresses:
  • Examine the Expert.  Some friends or family members may be sharing information with you because they really do know what they are talking about.  A friend may want to tell you about a difficult pregnancy situation that she experienced because she is hoping that you will be able to learn through her hardship and avoid complications similar to hers.  Another may want to share helpful hints that aided her through morning sickness, heartburn, or pregnancy anxiety.  If the person sharing the advice with you is someone that you know and respect, keep an open mind and listen to what they have to say.  Who knows, their advice may just come in handy!  If, on the other hand, a close family member insists that there is no need to purchase a brand new crib for your little one because she has one that you can borrow and it worked wonderfully for her kids back in 1952, don't feel pressured into believing it!  Many well-meaning loved ones feel that anything that worked 50 years ago should still work for kids today.  In reality, several beliefs throughout the medical community have changed greatly over the years, so just because Grandma says its okay doesn't mean that it necessarily is. Anytime that you are given advice and are unsure of its validity or safety remember this saying, "When in doubt, check it out."  Don't ever hesitate to contact the real expert, your doctor, when you have questions about your pregnancy or your little one's care.
  • Do they "walk the walk" or just "talk the talk?" If a friend of yours with five unruly children begins doling out all sorts of parenting advice, remember that actions speak louder than words.  Take her suggestions with a grain of salt and if at all possible, change the subject!  If, on the other hand, you notice a friend or neighbor with really well behaved children and positive family dynamics, that mom might just be one worth listening too. Consider inviting her over for coffee (decaf, of course!) and ask her your pregnancy and baby questions.  Even early on in your pregnancy, it is never too soon to begin preparing yourself for parenthood by stocking your idea shelf full of great mommy-tricks.  Remember, anyone can claim to be a parenting expert.  We can all read the same discipline books and watch the same self-help shows.  It takes a true expert, and wonderful parent, to do the day to day work required to raise great children. These parents not only "walk the walk" but they do it well!  These are the parents worth listening to.
  • Let them down lightly. Because most advice-givers really do mean well, try to politely let them know when their advice is not wanted.  There is no reason to let an overly ambitious, advice giving friend or neighbor ruin your day.  So rather than becoming overly frustrated when faced with another round of, "You should really try this" why not respond to their suggestions with a wink, a smile and one of these retorts:
  1. Thanks, but I don't think that would work for me.
  2. I appreciate your concern, but my doctor and I have this pregnancy all under control.
  3. It's true that babies haven't changed in the last fifty years, but all that we know about them sure has!
  4. That's an interesting idea, but I'm going to have to check out that idea with edHelperbaby first!
  5. Oh shucks, I just received my last allotted piece of advice today.  Better luck next week!

       If these polite responses don't get the point across, simply smile and honestly explain to them that you and your partner are enjoying figuring out this pregnancy on your own.  Then tell them that if you do have any questions you'll be sure to call.  You might not call them...but you'll call someone.


  Your "To-Do" List
           Take a moment this week and plant something.  Now that you are in the second trimester of your pregnancy and thinking about "growth" (in the way your little one is developing or with regards to the numbers on your scale) seems to take up a lot of your time, why not create a symbolic and beautiful reminder of all that is growing and changing in your life?  You could plant some herbs in a kitchen window and then use them when making healthy, yummy meals for your family.  Why not plant a tree in the backyard?   You could begin taking your picture in front of it each month as you document your belly's growth, and then continue to take pictures of your baby in front of it every year.  If fresh flowers tend to brighten your mood, why not plant some sunflower seeds or those of your favorite flower.  As these plants continue to blossom and bloom, they may remind you of the way that your life is blossoming as well.  If you are not a world-class gardener, however, don't worry!  A green thumb is not a mandatory pre-requisite for motherhood.  In fact, your little one won't care if the plants survive at all as long as you let him or her play in the dirt with you while you are watering them.


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           As you reflect on your childhood do you remember singing?  When you stop and think about it, as children we learn a lot through music.  Most of us learned our "ABC's" with the help of a handy tune and with the exception of the letter "LMNOP" which we all sang, but doesn't exist, we learned them quite well! "Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star" encouraged us to gaze up into the night sky and wonder about all that happens out in space each evening.  "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" taught us cause and effect: The rain made the spout wet.  A wet spout made the spider fall.  The sun dried it all up and since it was no longer slippery the spider could once again climb.  The "Wheels on the Bus" taught mommies how to say "Shh-Shh-Shh" in the car!  It all comes back to music.  This week, as you think back on some of your favorite childhood songs, pick one and borrow its tune.  After selecting a tune, make up some new words about your pregnancy and growing baby and then sing the new song to your belly.


  My Experience
           I love to sing.  Notice I didn't say that other people love to listen to me sing, just that I enjoy doing it!  My kids and I sing all the time, and thankfully they are a gracious audience.  I began singing to them during my pregnancy and the tradition continues to this day.  I have found that I can take familiar tunes, change up the words and use the songs to teach my children difficult concepts.  The best part is they are not only learning this way, but they love it.  If as parents we can help our children enjoy learning at an early age, we are able to set the stage for a future full of bright educational opportunities. And if it takes my silly singing voice to do that...I'll gladly sing all day!


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