Early Pregnancy + Parenting. How to Survive!

Danny de Hek

Posted on March 24 2019

Early Pregnancy + Parenting. How to Survive!
Written by Charlotte Cummings

Managing early pregnancy can be a huge challenge, before adding the need to parent other children at the same time.

I am currently 18 weeks pregnant, and have a nearly 18 month old and a three and a half year old.

The first fourteen weeks of pregnancy are pretty rough for me in terms of nausea and tiredness. Then, I have a mostly energetic second trimester, before feeling like a beached whale for the last few months.

I went searching for advice (Google!) on how to parent little people while pregnant, and didn’t know whether to laugh out loud or bang my head against a brick wall when faced with some of the overly simplistic suggestions. Sleep when they sleep is great, if your older children sleep. Lowering your housework standards is great, but didn’t they know how low parenting had already pushed my standards?!

So, the following is a little list of things I have actually done, which I have found actually helpful!

Some ideas:
- Put a box of toys and books beside your bed. This way, you can delay then need to leap out of bed early in the morning. Instead, you can snuggle/read/play with your older children, while you wait for your body to feel a little more ready to start the day. Having a box of toys and books by your bed is also a great excuse for an afternoon quiet time activity – all jumping in to the parent’s bed for quiet time.

- Put a snack or drink you find palatable beside your bed at night before you sleep. This way, you have something on hand to eat or drink after those extra middle of the night toilet stops, the toddler wake ups, or in the morning before getting out of bed. Some ideas I liked were crackers, nuts, a muesli bar, a lemon/ginger drink etc.

- Schedule some naps. Talk to your partner, a friend or a family member about your next opportunity or a regular opportunity for a nap. Don’t wait until you feel tired and desperate to sleep. Schedule a nap and when the time arrives and your other children are being cared for, you will no doubt feel like that sleep! What this looked like for me was talking to my husband about our weekend needing to include two naps for me, and us working out where they would fit in.

- Limit how often you have to cook. Having to keep feeding your family when the smell of food makes you feel like barfing was my biggest challenge. Cook double batches of meals to minimize your need to cook, keep on hand some frozen foods that just require heating, and cook at a time of day you find you feel better. For me, cooking in the evening was a nausea disaster and meant I definitely couldn’t eat dinner, but if I cooked mid-morning, I could sometimes stomach eating some dinner. Also, come up with a default meal you find easy – ours was a roast chicken from the deli (definitely not cooked at home!), some fresh buns, and salad fillings.

- Take your children on a scenic drive when you are low on energy. Play ‘I spy’, have plenty of toys in the car, and even go through the McDonald’s drive through if that bag of small fries buys you a tiny moment of peace!

- Fill your house with smells you like. I promise I’m not trying to sell you essential oils here, but I did find citrus oils and peppermint really helpful for my energy levels and nausea. They are great in your water bottle, applied to your body or diffused to help the urge to be sick subside.

And, when all else fails, remember the incredibly unhelpful piece of parenting advice people share – that “this too shall pass” – and at least you can have a laugh!

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