Surviving Pregnancy When You Have A Toddler
Mum-of-three Kate Gunn shares her advice on how to survive pregnancy with a toddler in tow.
Do you remember your first pregnancy? It was an amazing time, full of wonder and learning. But it was tiring too. It always is, making a human.
You would get in from work and flop down on the couch hoping that your other half would bring you dinner in front of the TV. Or if you weren’t too exhausted you might meet up with a friend for an evening stroll – got to keep those fitness levels up ... Little did you know how good you had it!
It’s only when you’re pregnant for the second (or third/ fourth/fifth) time, that you realise how lucky you were to be able to use that sofa, or simply leave the house on a whim. Throw a toddler into the mix and it’s a whole different ballgame. So how will you cope?
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An honest discussion with your partner early on in the pregnancy may be in order. He (or she) needs to understand how you feel physically and mentally, and what you can and can’t do. They will need to step up to the mark and may have to help out a little more than they are used to. Not only is it good practice for the challenges to come, it’s also a great way to strengthen the bond with their toddler as they spend more and more time together.
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Every family’s situation is different and sometimes it’s just not possible for your partner to help out as much as needed. Don’t be afraid to look further afield. Family or friends may be willing to assist in the short term, or you may be able to pay a local mum to do a few hours childminding each week to give you the break you so badly need. If you can manage to get a cleaner in once a week or even fortnight it will make all the difference.
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Lower Your Standards
You don’t have to be supermum. Something will have to give – or else it will be your health and sanity. Lower your standards in at least one area of your life. It might be how clean the house is, how many meals you’ve made from scratch this week, how much quality time you spend with your toddler, how many late hours you work, or how many times the bedsheets get changed. See what areas of your life you can relax on and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Sign up to a supermarket delivery service. The first couple of orders might be time-consuming but once you have your standard list in place it gets much easier. Having your shopping delivered to the door rather than lugging your bump and tantruming toddler around the supermarket is a no-brainer.
Emergency Surprise Box
For when you really just need five minutes peace. Buy some cheap and cheerful toys in Dealz or Tiger and keep them in an ‘emergency box’. When you’re running low on energy and patience your child gets to close their eyes and take a lucky dip. New play-doh, bath paint, jigsaws, balloons or crayons will give you that little reprieve when you most need it.
Movies / Screen Time
Let your well-intentioned screen time rules take a nose dive. An hour or so playing on an app or watching YouTube videos isn’t going to kill anyone, but it might just save your life. Even better, get the blankets and popcorn out and snuggle down to watch a movie together. Who cares if you’ve seen it a thousand times already?
The shopping is already taken care of, but what about your growing toddler? If they are used to being lifted in and out of the car, or carried around from place to place, then it’s time to get them used to doing things for themselves. Can they climb into the car with a little encouragement? It might be quicker to hoist them in yourself, but your body won’t thank you for it in the later stages of pregnancy.
Be Kind To Yourself
Being a pregnant mum can certainly be a challenge, but with a little support you’ll make it through. Be kind to yourself and remember – two different pregnancies, two different experiences, two different babies – but one family.
Click here for more useful tips and advice on how you can look after your physical and mental health.