So youíve decided to have a second baby. Youíve peed on a stick and those two little lines have come up pink. Congratulations! Now what?
Now, you brace yourself for some of the toughest weeks of your life. Pregnant life when you have a toddler is HARD WORK.
Here are 8 tips for getting through the first trimester when you have a toddler:
1. Sleep when your toddler sleeps
Ugh, this old cliche! However, there is something all-consuming about pregnancy fatigue, and having a busy toddler seems to make it so much harder. Even if youíre not a big nap-taker, you will absolutely hang out for nap time. It will become your favourite time of the day Ė donít bother trying to fight it. Just nap.
2. Ditch good habits if you have to
From healthy eating to exercising, you may find yourself putting good habits on the back-burner Ė and thatís okay. At this early stage, its important to find foods you can just keep down. Once you reach the second trimester and the nausea and fatigue settle down, you can start introducing those good habits again. Just try and keep your body hydrated Ė try sipping ice cold water or taking Hydralyte tablets.
3. Donít feel guilty about your toddlers habits either Have you been feeding your toddler the same breakfast every day? Letting them watch a bit too much TV? For the eight or so weeks when the nausea and fatigue are at their peak, donít worry about bad habits and donít feel guilty. The first trimester is about making it through.
4. Realise that everything takes a backseat to your toddler
Forget the housework when you can Ė just look after you and your first born above all else. At the end of the day, as hard as the first trimester is, you still have a little person demanding your attention. You will find yourself pouring what little energy you have each day into meeting their needs.
5. Don't forget about hygiene
When all you can think about is how sick you feel, it can be easy to forget to wash hands after changing nappies or leaving rubbish in the kitchen for a bit too long. Picking up a nasty stomach bug, however, can make pregnancy so much harder. Invest in some hand sanitiser for the change area, put nappies straight into a bag and into the outside bin, and clean down surfaces with Dettol to kill germs.
6. Prepare before the nausea sets in if you can
If you have a couple of weeks between finding out youíre pregnant and the nausea kicking in, perhaps try and prepare a couple of toddler-friendly meals you can whip up and freeze for those day you simply donít feel like eating. These include pasta dishes, tuna mornay, soups and casseroles.
7. Ask for help when you can
The first trimester is hard. Your body is not just growing a brand new human, but also GROWING A WHOLE NEW ORGAN. Until the placenta is fully formed, you will be tired, so ask for help. You canít call in sick to this job and at some stage you will need a break from your toddler, so finding help becomes imperative. If you donít have family and friends close, consider an occasional day care centre you can drop your toddler off at for a few hours if you do need a break.
8. Take everything one HOUR at a time
Be prepared to literally take things one day at a time Ė even one HOUR at a time. You may make plans and have to change them because of excessive morning sickness or fatigue. Just try not to take too much on and donít feel bad about changing plans Ė people will understand.
Just remember that you will get through this. In the grand scheme of things, itís a short period of your life and it may feel like hell for a few weeks, but donít feel guilty for letting good habits lapse, asking for help, or for simply trying to get through the first trimester by doing the best you can.
I'm a first-time mother and I've found that I can't go out with my son without somebody giving me advice on how to raise him. There seems to be a general assumption that new parents have no idea about children, and it is everybody's duty to share their wisdom.