Today we have the wonderul Sian from quitefranklyshesaid.com on the Love Boo blog with a guest post on balancing pregnancy and young children.
Ever since I announced that I am expecting my third baby, the thing that I hear the most from people is: “You must be mad!” People mean it in the nicest possible way of course, but pregnancy often brings about its own challenges, such as morning sickness, tiredness and a changing physical shape. When you add two small lively children into the mix it can make it feel a little harder! Here is how I have coped with pregnancy whilst looking after my four- and two-year old children.
During the first trimester I really struggled with morning sickness, which lasted all day and all night, along with migraines and tiredness. Instead of going to all the groups and activities that we usually went to, I slowed our pace of life right down. We had a lot of days at home, with me opening up the patio doors and filling the sand and water table, putting out our ride on toys and leaving the boys to play while I quietly watched. We have a small playground around the corner from our house, so we would often walk there for half an hour of play. Colouring books and crayons became my new best friends as the boys love colouring and drawing, and giving them free reign with our box of craft materials was another fun idea.
Like a lot of expectant mums, I didn’t want to tell anyone about the pregnancy until after our 12 week scan. The problem with this is that those first 12 weeks were when I struggled the most, but nobody knew and I couldn’t ask for help without giving our secret away! My Nanna visits us every week and I knew that she would eventually worry about why I was ill week after week, so when I was about 6 weeks pregnant I told her. It was really helpful to have someone to talk to about how I was feeling and who could then offer support with the children. If there is someone you can tell about your pregnancy in confidence I think it is a really good idea to do so.
You might laugh, because when do us mums ever get any me time! My eldest son goes to nursery school and my youngest is still at the age where he has a nap most days. Naptime is usually when I get on with housework, but instead of doing chores, I started having a lie down with him! I didn’t sleep, as I worried about sleeping through the school run, but it was good to have some rest and read a chapter or two of a book. We forget how hard our bodies are working during pregnancy, so it’s important to get enough rest especially when you have the demands of other children.
TELL THE CHILDREN
If your children are at an age that they can understand what a baby is, then do tell them. You will be surprised at how empathetic they will be and it also helps to prepare them for the arrival of their new sibling. My boys were just shy of their fourth and second birthdays when I told them that there was a baby growing in my tummy. They now understand why I can’t carry them up and down the stairs, or why I need to sit down for a few minutes before joining in with their game. When I was expecting my second baby, I bought my eldest son a doll and the role-play of caring and nurturing the doll definitely helped when my baby was born; he knew to be gentle with his hands and to be quiet when baby was sleeping - things that we had practised with his doll!
Pregnancy and parenthood are so different for everyone, but if you simply relax and go with the flow it will make things a little easier!