Being pregnant and remaining somewhat sane don’t always go hand in hand.
Most nights, by the time the kids are in bed and most social events are kicking off, I am so knackered. All I want to do is whale out on the couch with my snoring partner and reminisce about the good old days when I could see my toes.
By the third time around I was well versed in surviving to tell the tale of my pregnancy. In fact, I devised a set of tactics to get through the ordeal. Staying sane while pregnant almost needs an instruction manual, so here it is.
Be ok with saying NO
The very thought of having to actually contribute to conversation is exhausting, let alone having to get dressed in something other than my beaten up maternity jeans and actually leave the house. So, I say no to things…and people don’t really mind that much.
But say YES as often as you need to
You still NEED to see your friends. Even though being alone is a rare treat when you have kids, being lonely is a reality for many parents, and being pregnant can add to that feeling, particularly if none of your friends are pregnant too. Ask your friends to do things you can manage – see a movie, go for an early dinner, or go for a walk to catch up.
It’s so important to connect with other mums who are having babies around the same time you are. Check Facebook for a group you can join, and if there isn’t one, consider starting one yourself! Connecting online can be a wonderful way of staving off isolation, and finding women who are going through pregnancy at the same time as you creates an amazing sounding board for all the things you’re dealing with.
Keep up appearances
It’s really easy to lose yourself a bit when you’re a mum. When you’re pregnant, on top of mumming, it can become even easier. It might sound superficial, but doing your best to keep looking like you, is an easy (ish) way of still feeling like you. Even on those days when you feel like your entire purpose in life is to wipe tiny butts, fill tiny tummies and clean up 4000 not-so-tiny messes.
Not many mums still have the time for self-maintenance that they once did. Committing to a few things that are important to you can make all the difference. For some it’s getting eyebrows shaped, or roots touched up before they can be seen from space, nails done or eyelashes stuck on. Whatever it is that makes you feel like you at least look remotely like yourself (even on the days when you’re not even 100% sure who you are anymore), try to make it a priority.
Be honest with your kids
Being pregnant isn’t always easy and being sick or tired or achy or all of the above can have a major impact on the way you parent your existing children. I’ve found being honest with my four year old about how I’m feeling and why, has made the tough days a bit easier. It doesn’t hurt kids to see that their mums are human too. They might surprise you with their care and compassion and willingness to compromise to make things easier for you.
Don’t be a hero
Just because this isn’t your first rodeo, doesn’t mean you don’t need help. If people offer to cook for you when the baby comes, or to mind your kids so you can get some sleep, or fold your mountainous pile of washing, just say yes. This isn’t always easy, but once you start letting people help, you’ll realise that you’re not in this craziness all alone, and that is a pretty amazing feeling.
And if all else fails, a little iPad never hurt anyone, right?