July 6, 2022

How to Cope: Pregnant with a young child

Motherhood and my bump

Every woman’s experience of pregnancy is unique, we all have differing coping strategies. My pre-conception, and indeed misconception of pregnancy, was of glowing expectant women, happily anticipating the birth of their babies. Maybe with the odd, strange craving or pair of swollen ankles thrown in for good measure. But I guess this is just the bits that you see. The good bits. It’s all the unseen moments of discomfort and despair that piece together the more realistic account of those 9 months.

Pregnancy first time around was a hard enough battle for me. Well, the first 24 weeks certainly. I suffered with severe morning sickness that had me bed bound. I would struggle to even keep a glass of water down. Too ailing to make it to the bathroom, other than to throw up, I would easily go a week and a half without showering. My pillow pressed hair became a matted mess of tangles, as I lay day-after-day, trying to sleep through the sickness and nauseating headaches.

Every little bubble of my energy was focused on me. I was pretty much oblivious to what was going on in the rest of the world. I had no capacity to cope with that as well. It just didn’t matter, as long as I got through this.

I did get through it. At about 25 weeks my appetite started to return, the sickness faded away and for the first time in 4 months I was able to get up, get dressed and follow social protocol once again. It felt great and I was able to finally enjoy my pregnancy with all the anticipation and excitement that I had hoped for. I took care of myself: I ate well, attended pre-natal yoga classes and napped in the afternoons.

Baby Yoga Bound Angle Illustration

So with baby no.2, I naively expected more of the same. That’s roughly what I got, but this time with the addition of a one year-old depending on me for her every need. Boy, those first 2 trimesters hit me hard. The sheer exhaustion that strikes you in those early days had me flat out on the sofa for most of the time. I would muster every ounce of energy and enthusiasm to set-up an activity hub of toys and books on the rug in front of me so my little girl could play, whilst I lay sprawled out, trying to conserve enough energy to make it through to the next nappy change or mealtime. I have to say; my food and smell aversions didn’t help me here. The mere hint of a whiff of a dirty nappy was enough to send me running to the bathroom, and just opening the fridge door was asking for trouble. Luckily, a couple of months in and she was determined to feed herself, so meals were prepared quickly and stored in the fridge. Her MAM bowls with the covers were a great help r this and I could fill up her MAM cup so she could drink by herself.

MAM Baby Post Birth

I felt terrible guilt that she was missing out on the things that we used to enjoy doing together. The baby classes and groups that we used to attend came to an abrupt end. My lovely mum-in-law would take her to her favourite class once a week; buying me some much needed shut-eye. I worried about other things too. Lifting her in and out of the car seat and her cot were now daily tasks that I didn’t encounter last time around. I soon developed debilitating pelvic girdle pain and simple things like a stroll to the park with the buggy became impossible.

It was definitely a lot harder to look after myself, and my bump, whilst already in the role of motherhood but it did prepare me a little for what our family life was about to become with Two little ones tugging me in opposing directions.