I have long and painful labors. I’m talking 18-26 hours long with back labor and epidurals that do not work. However, believe me when I say I would much rather go through that and get it all over with in one day than mess with this first trimester nausea day after day after day. It’s hard. Probably the hardest part of life I’ve had to learn to adjust to.
And yet, I like my children a lot. Enough to want more of them, apparently. So this is the price tag I have agreed to pay. Expensive? Perhaps. But rarely can you get something valuable for cheap. I’m 7 weeks along now and morning sickness has already had me on the couch for going on 2 weeks now. From past pregnancies, I’m guessing I have another 7 weeks to go. I’m used to waking up in the morning and hitting the ground running. But life has seasons, and this simply isn’t one of the ‘running’ ones.
Today’s post is aimed at answering one of the comments in my last pregnancy announcement post:
“So now you’ll have to write a post on how you deal with nausea and tiredness and 2 kids running around. I am still waiting for serious practical tips. If I hear one more time that you should “just rest” and drink ginger tea I will…I don’t know what! That can only work for women with their first baby who don’t have a job. So how are you coping? Are you just going with your usual schedule, meal plan, housework etc as you usually would, or do you have any special tips?” -Angelika
First of all, I do NOT go along with my usual schedule, meal plan, and housework as I normally do. That would make me Super Woman, which I’m not. No, instead I’ve set my sights a lot lower. Seriously lower. Nowadays, my complete to-do-list usually looks like this:
- Keep Meals Down
- Pick Up the House at least Once (a brief pick up, nothing thorough, usually done in 15 minute increments)
- Keep up with Dishes, Laundry, and empty the Trash (enough that nothing starts smelling and gets me gagging)
- Keep up with normal hygiene like baths and make-up if you normally wear it (it REALLY helps you feel better)
- Spend time with the boys and husband
That’s it. My bare-bone priorities. No closet organizing. No cleaning. No cooking anything fancy. If we have clean laundry (not necessarily folded) and dishes, and if my boys have been loved on and don’t feel ignored, I’ll consider these next two months a success.
But let’s talk some more practical tips. Things to make life a little less miserable.
Morning Sickness – Keep it as under control as possible.
Here’s an Article I came across earlier. I’ve since started taking B vitamins and Magnesium supplements and have noticed a bit of improvement. Definitely give this a good read through and take notes. Of course, if you are miserable enough, take advantage of modern science and get a zofran perscription.
Prepare to eat like a hobbit for the next few weeks. I’m talking first breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies… Small meals, snacks really, but keep them consistent throughout the day. Plan your snacks in advance, so something’s already prepared before you start feeling sick. Keep that blood sugar as even as possible.
If the weather’s nice, get outside. Vitamin D helps you break down those B vitamins and minerals, plus the fresh air gets rid of all those whiffs and smells that can really bother a pregnant woman indoors. Open the windows in your house if possible. Air the place out. It’s refreshing, rejuvenating, and great for morale.
Perhaps exercise is the furthest thing from your mind today, but a basic yoga routine (you can find a dozen on youtube) or a simple stretching routine can help you feel so much better. It will increase circulation, stretch out sore back and shoulder muscles, and better your posture. It certainly won’t hurt anything.
Put on some cheerful music. Something relaxing or joyful in the background. Keep your spirits up. Make yourself smile, even if you don’t feel like it. The only thing that could possibly make you feel worse is SELF-PITY. Avoid it like the plague. Remember, a cheerful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Have a plan for the other kids. Keep their toys interesting by rotating them (learn more about that here) and have special entertainment ideas that don’t involve a lot of energy on your part or clean up time. Think playdough, chalk, coloring supplies, potato heads, mega blocks (provided they’re old enough to pick them up on their own), or other special toys they only get to play with on special occasions. Bring each toy out NO MORE than once a day and don’t let them play with them until they’re totally bored. If the toys retain their novelty, they will continue to be exciting and special. Something that will help you get some quiet time when you need it most. Currently, Gabriel’s favorite special toys include a few knights and dragons with his ‘doll-house’ style castle.
Stay hydrated. Drink regularly, little sips at a time if that’s all you can handle. Try fruit juice or water with lemon. Try hot broth or sprite if it’s easier on your stomach. Not only will staying hydrated help keep morning sickness at bay, but it will also help ease other unwanted pregnancy side-effects (constipation, etc).
When you’re exhausted, make couch time a guilt-free family affair. Put a movie on and cuddle together with your other littles. Despite what you might think, you are being very productive. You’re bonding with your older children and making another life, just by lying there. That’s a good days’ work, even if the floor doesn’t get swept. In theory, you could lie there for a full nine months and still have made one of these. No one else can do that. No one else was called to. This child has to be made by you and no one can do it in your place. So quit beating yourself up about not being ‘productive’. You couldn’t be more so.
Speaking of movies, I refuse to believe that all television is automatically a waste of time. Though some cartoons are stupid entertainment for entertainment’s sake, they don’t have to be. They can be very educational, if you choose your programs or stories wisely. My 3-year-old and I have been watching a lot of Super Why lately. Sitting next to him gives me the opportunity to push Gabriel to answer the cartoon character’s questions. “Which word starts with ‘S’? Point to it. Good job. Can you sing the alphabet song out loud?” Make them interact and think while they watch it. This is much easier to do when you’re sitting beside them anyway.
See if you can hire a teenage girl to come once a week for two hours or so and prep your meals, snacks, or catch up on light housework or laundry. At the very least, they could watch your kids for an hour while you take a much-needed nap. Also, if you’re not pregnant yet but desire to be, stock up your deep freezer with pre-made meals NOW! It will make life much easier later on.
Don’t forget your husband. You may be feeling like crap, but this whole thing is hard on your husband too. He’s at least needing to be patient with your recent lower household expectations. He’s probably helping a bit extra with the kids when he can too. So even if you can’t help him bodily, be there for him in other ways. Don’t play the martyr or guilt trip him for his failures (which will suddenly seem more apparent when you’re not feeling well). Give him a smile, encourage him verbally, thank him, even when he unloads the dishwasher and puts everything in the wrong cabinets. The point is that he helped you. Thank him for it.
Lastly, give thanks for this child. Give thanks for the sickness that means your hormones are going strong. Treasure each exhausted, morning sick day because it means you’re a mother again. It means you have a life growing in you. If this child were to leave for heaven early, you’ll want to look back on the few weeks you had with him/her and think: “I have no regrets. I treasured my child to the best of my ability while he was with me.”
Not pregnant yet but want to be? Read about this post about
Also, here’s another good post by a mother of ten about running your home when you don’t feel well (could apply to any situation, not just morning sickness).