There is no shortage of advice for first time moms on how to manage your first pregnancy. When I found out I was expecting again I was of course excited, but I never considered what it would be like caring for a toddler while being pregnant. It wasn’t long before I realized things are going to be very different this time around now that I’m chasing a little ball of energy around.
During my first pregnancy I had nausea, food aversions, and horrible dizziness where I was unable to do anything. My husband literally had to carry me from the car to the house and he was my chauffeur driving me to so many doctors’ appointments trying to figure out why the dizziness was so bad. As soon as I hit the second trimester the dizziness had disappeared and we never figured out what was causing it. The rest of the pregnancy went smoothly and we had a healthy, happy baby girl.
Fast forward to this time around and thank goodness I’ve had no extreme dizziness, but I was dealing with some cramping due to a subchorionic hematoma (read more on that here). Between the cramping, nausea, and fatigue I was thinking where in the world do I get the energy to care for my toddler and myself.
I’m just now getting into the second trimester, but I think having survived the first trimester with a toddler is a big success. I believe my daughter could tell when I was having a rough day and most of the time she was respectful of that. She would let me lay down and would entertain herself with her toys or chase our dog around the house. Another positive was we both enjoyed snacking on saltines and cheerios throughout the day.
Don’t be so hard on yourself
I’m still learning on the days when my energy is decent I need to lower my standards. I tend to overdo it by getting as much done as possible because I have no idea when I’ll have the energy to be this productive again. Sometimes I do so much that it takes me several days to recover. I keep reminding myself it’s ok if the dishes don’t get done or if the dirty laundry piles are getting bigger.
Independent play is something we need to work on here. When she does play on her own it’s a great opportunity for me to get some extra rest. By encouraging more independent play will also be good when the new baby arrives.
Naptime here has been a little out of whack and I’m working on getting more scheduled with those. I don’t nap every time my toddler does. When she does go down I take advantage of the quiet time to do a 20-30 minute meditation. There have been times where I have fallen asleep while she was awake. It’s not an ideal situation, but she is independent enough to wake me if she needs me and not get into something she shouldn’t.
Let your toddler and others help
I try and find ways my toddler can help me out. She’s not able to do the bigger chores like vacuuming, but by having her clean up her dishes after eating, or getting her to pick up her toys can make a difference. It makes her feel good and it’s one less thing I need to worry about. I don’t have a big belly yet so bending over for things isn’t an issue. When it does get uncomfortable I think it will be nice to have her help pick up the things I drop. Calling on friends and family who are willing to help is also a great way to get extra rest.
Overall it’s important to take care of yourself while pregnant. Just keep in mind to take it easy, accept help, and enjoy the experience.