Originally posted January 30, 2014.
There are few experiences more exciting or exhausting than being pregnant…especially when you have other children already asking for your energy and attention. Balancing morning- sickness, doctor’s appointments, and caring for your own needs and the needs of several small children can at times seem impossible. How do you give your children the time and attention they need when you’re too tired or sick to get out of bed?
It’s not easy. But you are stronger than you think, and with a few pointers you’ll be able to make it through your second, third, or tenth pregnancy with both your health and family intact.
Ask For Help
There is nothing wrong with asking family, friends, or neighbors for help. You need to be able to give your children the love and attention they need, and sometimes the only way to do so is to sacrifice your total independence and ask for help with tasks that take up your time and energy.
Recruit the neighbor boys to mow your lawn or run certain errands, and take the time you would have spent on those chores to be with your children instead.
If you can eliminate as much stress as possible, you’ll be able to focus more on your children and less on the logistics of your pregnancy. Get the details in order before you become too sick or tired to manage the little things with as much efficiency as you used to.
Organize your finances. Make and freeze several dinners so that when you get home with a new baby you won’t have to cook for a week or two. Arrange babysitters for your hospital stay well in advance.
Call the hospital and make sure that your preferred doctor is available the week you’re due and that you have a room booked. Contact your insurance company in Calgary, Alberta, New York, or wherever you’re planning on having your baby and make sure that all of your financial questions about newborns and hospital care are resolved.
And most importantly, prepare your children for a new baby. Make sure they know that they’ll have to share mom and dad with a new little brother or sister. Explain their new responsibilities as older siblings, and help them understand that you are only adding to your family, not replacing them with a new brother or sister.
Trust Your Children
Your children are probably more resilient than you think. Children usually do best with routine, but if you’re unable to keep the family’s schedule the same, they’ll adjust. Just make sure that you keep as much of a semblance of normality as possible—and the more time you can spend with them in your new routine, the better.
Trust your children to take care of each other. Explain to them early on that you might not be as energetic or able to keep up with their needs like you have in the past, and that they might need to take care of each other a little more than they used to. If you have older children, ask them to step up and take more responsibility with their younger siblings. They will be more understanding and willing to help if you make it clear that you are relying on them for tasks you can no longer complete on your own.
Cut Unnecessary Tasks
You used to go grocery shopping once a week. You sat down every Monday evening and updated the checkbook. The living room was vacuumed like clockwork every Saturday morning. Book club met on Thursdays. The kids had weekly playdates at your house on Friday afternoons.
Well, it’s time to stop. Some tasks, like washing dishes and doing laundry, simply have to be done. But other projects can go on hold while you work your way through the most difficult months of your pregnancy.
The bedrooms don’t need to be repainted just yet. Tell the ladies at the book club that you’ll see them in a few months. Consolidate your grocery shopping so you only have to go once every two weeks.
Letting go of all the little unnecessary projects will allow you to channel your limited energy and patience into other more important things—like your children.
Just Say No
When the ladies from church ask you to participate in the church choir or the principal at your son’s elementary school asks you to come in to help with the classrooms, just say no. Even if you would usually agree to such a request, it’s ok to turn it down when you’re pregnant and trying to spend all of your time and effort on your own family. Your children come first. Once the baby is born, you can resume donating time and energy to your usual activities or responsibilities.
Finding quality time to spend with your children can be difficult, especially during your final months of pregnancy when your energy and stamina are at their lowest.
One way to spend some quality time with your children is to share appropriate comforting shiatsu touch together as a family. BirthTouch® Shiatsu and Acupressure for the Childbearing Year is a family friendly way to encourage bonding with your children and your expectant baby.
Communicate with your children, do your best to cut needless activities, and take a few minutes every day with each of your children to let them know you love them. Before you know it, you’ll have a new little baby, your routine will resume, and the challenges of the last nine months will be all but forgotten.
Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves reading, writing, and learning about how to care for her family with tips from companies like Anthony Clark Insurance.