It’s 3:00 a.m.
My toddler just woke up screaming for me.
I am acutely aware of my large belly and swollen feet as I drag my tired body out of bed.
As I rock her back to sleep, she puts her hand on my belly. She says, “Hi baby,” with her sweet soft voice—my heart explodes with love.
In a few short weeks, baby girl no. 2 will make her debut. I am so blessed.
But I am so tired. So tired. Every task has become difficult- lifting my toddler, bathing her, dinner time, my commute to-and-from work, my commute to-and-from daycare, playing on the floor with her, and even (as much as I love this part of my day) rocking her to sleep.
I keep telling myself that this is temporary, and I’ll be back to normal soon. I hope that is true.
If you are pregnant and parenting other kiddos, remember to give yourself some grace. In the spirit of doing the same for myself, here’s a list of things I’ve found helpful during this time:
Accept the season you are in
I told myself early on that this pregnancy might be hard. My first one was amazing—no sickness, limited fatigue, and much better mobility (I only gained 22 lbs.). Compared to this one, which has been riddled with morning sickness, depression, and utter exhaustion, my first one seemed like a dream. And most importantly, I didn’t have a 2-year-old running around then, which meant I could sleep all weekend long if I wanted to.
This is not the case with baby no. 2.
Over the course of this pregnancy, I told myself that I would do the best I could and not feel bad about it.
I order food more than I cook.
My toddler watches too much TV.
Most days, I leave the house with no make-up and wet hair.
This is the season right now, and I’m not apologizing for it.
Ask for help and say no
This was hard for me, but I’m glad I did it.
My husband and I are a great team. We both have stressful careers, but we try our best to split the division of labor in our home evenly. Early on in my pregnancy, I made a point to ask him for more help.
I asked my mom to visit more.
I leaned on my sister during the hard days.
I said no to work, and I canceled social outings.
The lesson here is to self-reflect, listen to your body, and ask for help.
Encourage independent playtime
I don’t know about you but crawling/playing on the floor while eight months pregnant was not on my to-do list. By encouraging my toddler to play alone, my body got a break, and my toddler learned some valuable skills.
By playing alone, she came up with her own games, finally cracked the pizza puzzle, and started taking pride in organizing her own toys. Experts say that independent playtime encourages self-reliance and confidence.
Let your little one play alone while you rest, mama. It’s in everyone’s best interest.