‘Mom, Why Are You Tired?’
Expecting a new little one is a joyful time, but the pregnancy can be exhausting. You want to do your best for everyone in the family — your current children as well as the one on the way. It’s a balancing act to manage pregnancy symptoms while caring for your family and attending to household and work responsibilities.
The following are some easily applied suggestions to help you manage these areas gracefully. During normal pregnancy conditions, a little planning and organization will make the nine months easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
Store up on provisions
As soon as you see that second little line appear on the testing stick, run, don’t walk, to stock your pantry, fridge and freezer with healthy, yet simple, meal fixings. Nausea will hit in a few weeks or even a few days, so be prepared. If cooking is your thing, spend a few hours in a bulk-cooking session and prepare lasagnas, casseroles, stews and soups to freeze.
You might even invite some friends to celebrate with you and head to your closest meal-prep kitchen for a night of cooking and laughter. If food prep is the last thing on your mind, at least stock up on ingredients for easy meals. Grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta and jarred sauce, and baked chicken and veggies will hit the spot and not take too much energy or thought to prepare.
Request transportation assistance
Cars, commute times and congestion can contribute to stress on your mind and body. Enlist as much help as you can. Coordinate schedules with your husband and close friends or relatives so that you see as little drive time as possible. Investigate carpooling with another family. Better yet, ask if they can cover driving duty for the first three months. You can volunteer for the second trimester when you start to “glow.”
Don’t forget to say “no”
This is a time when it’s OK to limit outside activities. Inevitably, the PTA or team mom will ask you to bring snacks or volunteer for some project. Be bold and resist the urge to say “yes.” Politely decline and offer to participate more in a few months when you will have more energy. The less outside responsibilities you have, the better off you — and your family — will be.
As much as you can, try to keep the regular workings of your household consistent. Observe regular bedtimes and weekend rituals. It may be difficult while you fight morning sickness and the other aches and pains that accompany pregnancy, but do your best to keep things on an even keel. This provides a sense of security for your current child. She will have plenty of other changes to deal with after the baby’s arrival.
Get plenty of shut-eye
If you remember your first pregnancy, you know that this is a time when your body is using lots of energy and needs abundant rest. Plan your day so that you can take a nap at some point. If your older child still naps, commit to snoozing when he does, rather than trying to “get something done.” A little rest in the afternoon will see you through the evening hours. Make a point of going to bed earlier than usual. Sleep is a necessity now.
Make date nights a priority
It might be difficult to remember the last newborn phase, but alone time with your sweetie may be compromised once this little one arrives. Set aside time each week to enjoy one another and just be “a couple.” It doesn’t need to be a fancy or expensive night on the town. A simple lunch or dinner at your favorite restaurant can be just the ticket for taking a time-out from family life. Your relationship’s growth and success is key to the happiness of your family as a whole.
Enjoy your older child
Your family will feel different and function differently after this birth. Some have said that adding a second child can change the family dynamics more than the first. Make the most of this season as your family exists today. Enjoy the moments to sit and read books with your little one or hop in the car for an impromptu trip to the park. You may be curbing your activity once again postpartum, so after the nausea and fatigue dissipate, get out and about with your child.
Increasing your family size is a thrilling time as you dream of what new little personality will join you. Don’t let the sometimes-difficult aspects of pregnancy overshadow this. Plan and adjust as you are able. You will not only survive this pregnancy, but you — and your family — can thrive.
Jessica Fisher is a wife, mother of five, and a freelance writer. The Fishers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the newest Fish Baby.