Realizing that your baby is due around Christmas can be a little bit overwhelming, particularly if you have other children. Whilst you may understandably be feeling a little anxious about the prospect of going into labor whilst tucking into your turkey, it’s worth remembering that only 5% of babies arrive on their due date. As such, the reality is that your baby may not actually be born on the big day itself.
If the thought of an eventful Christmas (even more so than normal!) is filling you with fear, here are some practical steps to help prepare for the event of a Christmas Day arrival!
- Plan your presents early
If you’re going to be heavily pregnant in December, it makes sense to start your Christmas shopping early, opting for the convenience of online shopping where possible. Rather than leaving all your wrapping to the last minute, wrap a few at a time and stash them away so that you are ready for the unexpected. If you can rope someone in to help – even better!
- Arrange your caregiver well in advance
If you have other children, this is perhaps the most important of all. Arrange for a trusted friend of family member to be on hand should you go into labor, even if this is late on Christmas Eve. Ideally this should be someone that lives locally, wasn’t planning on travelling at Christmas and with whom your child feels safe and comfortable.
If the likelihood is that your child will end up waking up somewhere else on Christmas morning, it can be helpful to have a bag of Santa’s gifts ready and easily accessible just in case he needs to visit an alternative location this year! Whilst it’s understandable to feel guilty about not being with your child on Christmas morning, the presents can certainly help cushion the blow and your care giver can capture some photos of their excitement on your behalf.
- Talk to your child in advance
This will depend on the age of your child. However, if your child is old enough you may wish to explain to them what could happen well in advance so that it doesn’t come as a shock. Explain that their baby brother or sister could arrive at any time, but reassure them that no matter what happens, Santa knows where they will be and that you can celebrate properly when you all return home. Try and focus on the positives, such as the fact that you get to be a family of four for Christmas and avoid getting emotional (although this may be easier said than done!).
- Consider celebrating in advance
For younger children, or if you are booked in for a C-section that will leave you in hospital on Christmas Day, there is also the option of celebrating Christmas a few days in advance. Your child will be too young to know whether it’s officially Christmas Day, but this may allow you the family to celebrate relatively normally and be less disruptive than suddenly disappearing in the middle of opening presents.
- Stay local
This may go without saying, but if your due date is very close to Christmas, it may be sensible to spend Christmas Day at home rather than travelling to friends and family. Not only can this be far less stressful (no heavily pregnant woman wants to sit in the car for hours on end) but it also allows you to create your own schedule and plan a day that works best for you and your family. If that means staying in your pyjamas all day watching festive movies, so be it. This is a time to be selfish for once.
- Make sure the car has gas and the hospital bag is packed
There is nothing worse than realising the gas tank is empty when you’re leaving the house in a panic. In the weeks approaching your due date, ensure that you keep an eye on your tank and keep it full where ever possible. Keep the hospital bag packed and by the front door ready to go. This could save valuable minutes when the moment comes!
- Buy a gift from the baby
If your baby does arrive on Christmas Day, chances are it may have been a little disruptive for your other child/children. Having a gift from the baby to their brother or sister can be a really beautiful way to welcome them to the family.
- Try not to stress
Whilst we appreciate this is easier said than done, your baby will come when they are ready and other than preparing for every eventuality, the rest is fairly out of your hands. Embrace a calm and quiet Christmas at home and chances are, you may still be waiting a day later!