I have to admit… I’m quite the minimalist. Not the ‘all my furniture is white and if it doesn’t speak to me I throw it out’ kind of minimalist. But more the ‘do I actually need this’ kind. So when it came to pregnancy, I knew I needed to approach it with the same sort of ideals – do what I need, and not give in to the hype. Pregnancy as a minimalist was interesting, that’s for sure.
Now, I have to add here that minimalism and how you approach it is a completely personal style. There is no ‘right’ way. What I do as a minimalist may be different from what you do. So, for the purpose of this article, we will be approaching the idea of minimalism as a way of conscious thinking about your purchases, your surroundings and your choices. That’s it. Simple hey?
After going through pregnancy as a someone who thought about things a little differently, I wanted to share how I approached pregnancy as a minimalist and how you can do it too.
1 – Avoid Pinterest and Instagram
I swear you can tell when I have spent too much time on Pinterest or Instagram just by looking at my bank account…
The thing with spending a whole heap of time researching Pinterest nursery ideas or scrolling through Instagram and seeing elaborate birth announcements is that you feel like you need to keep up.
Okay, maybe you don’t, but I certainly did.
I felt like if I wasn’t having a gender reveal party, or having eyelash extensions put in for labour and birth photos (it’s a thing apparently) then I wasn’t doing enough. That I wasn’t enough.
Trying to ‘keep up’ is a dangerous game as a minimalist. It’s the opposite of what you want to do. You don’t want to keep up, you want to carve your own path based on what matters to you.
2 – Ask Yourself ‘Do I Actually Need This’
Have you seen how cute all the baby things are? The stuffed animals, the cute clothes, the sweet little blankets… they’re all SO adorable. But, you know what? You don’t actually need most of it.
I remember going to a baby expo when I was pregnant with my son (first time Mama) and felt so overwhelmed by all the things there, all the gadgets I didn’t realise I was ‘supposed’ to have, all the bits and pieces that promised to make life easier. Thankfully, I didn’t buy any of them, because I didn’t actually need them.
I was more conservative the second time around with my daughter (I bought a lot of clothes for my son that he never wore), and I always asked myself ‘do I need this?’ If the answer was no, I would then ask ‘but do I want this?’ and if the answer was yes then I’d consider purchasing it, but these two questions helped me to not let the hype of all the baby things take over.
3 – Buy As You Go
We decided with my daughter that we would buy most things as we went along, and it was the best decision when trying to have a minimalist pregnancy and newborn stages.
Instead of buying a ton of maternity clothes, I purchased them as I needed them, and tried to make the most of the clothes I had. Instead of buying new maternity jeans straight away, I used a hair tie to extend my jeans, and wore leggings with longer shirts and a cute belt to show off my waist/baby bump. I would wear stretchy tank tops and an open button shirt over to avoid having to buy maternity clothes for as long as possible.
We bought everything we needed as we went for the pregnancy and we did the same for the newborn stage. We had a few necessities (a few sets of clothes and basic baby needs) and everything else we purchased as needed.
4 – Make The Most Of Gift Registries
When you have a baby shower, or if you have friends and family that want to buy you gifts, it can be really difficult to ask for what you want. But, as someone who is buying the gifts, it can be difficult to buy for someone when you don’t know what they want. This is where gift registries help so much.
There are so many places you can create registries from your major department stores, you can create a list of what you’d like from multiple stores or (my favourite) the Amazon Gift Registry – they have almost everything.
All you need to do is go through and select what it is you’d like and then let people know you have the registry and they can shop and buy you what it is you want/need. This way you don’t end up with 50 newborn sized onesies, or 5 pregnancy pillows, and it honestly makes gift buying so much easier. And my favourite part of the Amazon Gift Registry is that you can set it so that multiple people can contribute to bigger gifts so you really can get what it is you want.
5 – Use The Magayver Method
The Magayver Method is pretty simple, you make do with what you’ve got to achieve the desired outcome. Essentially it’s just about thinking if you can create the outcome you want with what you already have instead of needing to purchase new items for it.
For example, we had a Moses Basket for our daughter which we used all the time for her to sleep in, and was easy to carry around the house. When she outgrew it, we decided to safely co-sleep instead of buying a cot.
We didn’t know if co-sleeping was going to work for us, but we used what we had (our bed) and made it safer (things like removing the bed and using the mattress as a floor bed so we weren’t up high as well as following safe co-sleeping guidelines) and we decided we would purchase a cot if we needed to.
As it turned out, we didn’t need to buy one (and we are still co-sleeping two years later which is working well for us), we saved hundreds of dollars and have a sleeping arrangement we love.
This doesn’t mean you have to co-sleep, it just means using the minimalist mindset to think about what you have on hand and make a conscious decision of whether or not you need to purchase more items to achieve your goal outcome.
6 – Do What Suits You
At the end of the day, this is your pregnancy, your experience, your time, and as such you need to do what suits you. While one person might say they never used a cot for their baby, you might prefer to have one and are adamant about using it and that is absolutely fine.
Likewise, with pregnancy, you might be so keen to buy all the cute maternity clothes and wear them, but have a more minimalist approach in other areas.
The thing I love the most about minimalism is that there isn’t a one size fits all approach. You get to create your own minimalist pregnancy in whatever way suits you.
It’s less about the materialistic things and more about the mindset, making conscious decisions and not getting caught up in the hype. But most of all, it’s what you want it to be.
7 – Don’t Forget The Sentiment
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the minimalism, which is amusing considering you’re trying to avoid getting caught up in the hype. But what that can do is mean that you’re missing out on the sentimental things.
For example, when my son was in NICU he had all kinds of things going on. He had ECG leads, earmuffs, daily notes, all the things that are very much part of the normal NICU life. BUT… I kept some of these things (including his central line) because they are sentimental. They are a reminder of what he went through and his fight for life.
At the time they were normal everyday things, but now looking back I am so grateful I kept them.
Don’t get so caught up in minimalism that you forget that sentimental things are important too.
When you’re pregnant, you’re probably not thinking about minimalism directly, but applying some minimalist ideas like these to your pregnancy can help you avoid the overwhelm that comes with the pregnancy hype. Pregnancy as a minimalist is possible (and enjoyable) with a little extra thought and intention.