In my experience, when you're in your third trimester it doesn't take much to brighten up your day. In fact, when I was nearing my due date, if someone so much as asked how I'd been feeling, or offered me any semblance of kindness, my mood instantly improved. Both of my pregnancies were pretty difficult, so when I neared the finish line I realized that the kinds things you can do to a pregnant woman in her third trimester are often made up of the little things. In other words, you don't have to accomplish much to make a pregnant woman's day.
While my first pregnancy was far from "easy," my second pregnancy was the real doozy. It pushed me to the limit, both physically and emotionally, so I was more than ready to be done way before it was time to even think about labor and delivery. Then, around week 36 or so, my doctors noticed I was leaking amniotic fluid. I'd been in and out of the hospital more times than any mother with a 4-year-old daughter at home should, so to say I felt scared and alone and frustrated would be a grave understatement.
For me, the third trimester seemed to last forever. It took my partner and I multiple attempts, and I endured two miscarriages, before I found myself pregnant with my son, so counting down the weeks until I could hold him in my arms was downright torturous. Add pregnancy complications to the mix, and it's clear that I needed random acts of kindness on the regular. Thankfully, I had supportive people in my life to help me push through. You know, people who were willing to do the following:
Visit With Her
It may not seem like much, but visiting a pregnant woman in her third trimester can sometimes be the difference between her feeling like it's the end of the world or happily accepting the undeniable fact that her discomfort is temporary.
I didn't get many visitors during either pregnancy, so more often than not I felt isolated and lonely. So believe me when I say that having someone keep you company every now and then makes all the damn difference in the world. It reminds a probably uncomfortable pregnant woman that she's not alone. Misery loves company, remember?
Offer To Run Errands
When I was in my third trimester, I wasn't allowed to so much as stand. If I got out of bed my blood pressure spiked, my legs and feet swelled, and my unborn baby was put in immediate danger. My partner worked outside of the home, too, so I was left to my own devices.
I you want to do something kind for the pregnant woman in your life, offer to take something off her chore and/or errand list. Something as simple as grabbing a few groceries while you're already at the store is one of the kindest, and definitely most helpful, things you can do. At the very least, offer to do something around the house.
Help Prepare Freezer Meals
When an old friend friend of mine not only stopped by my house with a load of groceries, but used those groceries to cook a week's worth of freezer meals, I thought I was in heaven.
Do you have to go to your pregnant friend's house and work your ass off in their kitchen all day? No, but if you're making yourself a meal, why not make an extra one for your friend, too? That one meal might be the only solid meal she'll have the day she brings her baby home from the hospital.
If She Has Another Child, Offer To Babysit
I had a 4-year-old daughter when I was pregnant with my son, so I can't tell you how much an offer to babysit meant to me. There were more than a few times when I just needed time alone to rest, so I didn't even need a babysitter so I could go out. I just needed someone to watch my kid so I could nap.
I tried to follow my doctor's orders and stay on bed rest, but with a 4-year-old to care for I often put myself in medically dangerous situations. So, yes, babysitting another child while your pregnant friend focuses on themselves? Life-saving.
Ask What She Needs & Actually Listen
I don't know about you, but pregnancy can feel terribly lonely. Whether I was complaining to just relieve stress or trying to actually voice my needs, it seemed like, more often than not, I was dismissed.
If you want to be kind to a pregnant woman in her third trimester, ask her what she needs, or what you can help with to ease her worries, and then actually listen to what she has to say. More often than not, we just want to be heard.
Send Thoughtful Texts
You don't need to leave your house to be kind. Make a call, forward an email, or send a text. You know, just check in on the pregnant woman in your life to let her know you're thinking of her.
Take Interest In Her Pregnancy
By the time I reached the third trimester, I was hyper-aware that everyone was sick of hearing about my pregnancy, my unnerving complications, and my soon-to-be baby. So do the pregnant woman in your life a favor and take a genuine interest in her life. Be excited when she talks about whatever fruit the fetus is. Be engaged when she discusses her latest OB-GYN visit. While you may be sick of hearing about her heartburn or her birth plan, she will be taking note of those who really, truly cared.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.