How to Cope During Pregnancy with a Toddler

As I type this post, I am sitting with my 32 week old baby bump resting on my lap, my 20 month old toddler fast asleep in his cot and a great big mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows at my side to give my weary brain enough power to string a sentence together coherently enough for you to be able to (hopefully) find this post of some help and use to your current circumstance.
If you are reading this, chances are you are in a similar situation of growing a small human on the inside whilst taking care of another small human on the outside. First off, I want to say a huge ‘Well Done!’ as I know first hand how bloody tough it is! Coping with Being Mummy to one addition whilst incubating a second is no small feat, regardless of their age really. But, as I am mummy to a toddler, I can only think of tips on how to help from what I have learnt through that perspective….

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BB with our scan pics for BB2
Be kind to yourself 
Don’t give yourself such a hard time about things. So what if you have a mountain of work waiting to be climbed? So what if your dishes are becoming congealed and welded to the kitchen work surfaces? So what if you are all walking around in clothes that have had their suspicious stains removed with a wet wipe? So what if the floor and hoover haven’t seen each other for a while? Just focus on putting your needs first and being kind to yourself. You may feel useless and frustrated when you look about your nest at all that needs doing, but ultimately, the important thing is that you’re fine, baby is fine and your other offspring are fine. I am still learning to embrace this tip, and often berate myself for trying to be perfect. Which leads me to my next piece of advice…
Don’t try to be perfect.

I am a bona fide perfectionist. I put pressure on myself for everything in the house to be just so, for every situation to go just right and if I don’t meet my own personal standards of perfect then, to be frank, I turn into a pretty mean bitch. Frustration and a sense of failure fuel massive rants and foot stomping sessions, hormones from pregnancy exacerbate the situation to the point where I become venomous to my nearest and dearest and my ‘Temper Bomb’ fuse becomes as short as a grain of rice. Not nice for me, not nice for my OH and most importantly, not nice for the little toddling slice of innocence who is witnessing every bit. Even Mary Poppins was only ‘practically perfect’ in every way. Not ‘100% perfect’ or ‘completely perfect’ in every way. If her straw hat could slide a little… so can yours.
Embrace Your Electronic Babysitters

I know this is controversial to say but, I really don’t give a hoot about my toddler watching telly. If I can sit and binge watch Netflix of an evening and still function, how can I be afraid to let him watch his Cbeebies programmes? It has been a complete godsend this pregnancy, to be able to pop the telly on and have just a small bit of peace so I could flop on the sofa and alleviate the vertigo and nausea that were part of daily life for 18 weeks or so! At that point in time, when I couldn’t stand or even raise a smile for our boy, I was grateful that he was distracted by the happy, bouncy theme of cbeebies… if he had turned to look at the sofa, it would have been more like a scene from Les Mis! Same goes for ipads and phones. The umpteen thousand appointments you have with midwives, hospitals and GP’s during pregnancy means a lot of time spent in crowded waiting rooms and small treatment rooms so keeping your tot occupied with a phone or ipad is necessary. Don’t feel guilty, their eyes won’t go square, their brains won’t become mush and you are not a bad parent!
Accept Help and Delegate

It is so helpful to have a good support network around you when facing the trials and tribulations of motherhood, especially when pregnant. I am constantly asking friends and family to pass me things, lift things and carry out small tasks that I know I either can’t do myself or that if I were to do them, I would regret it afterwards. When your ligaments resemble over stretched knicker elastic and your back feels ready to snap like a christmas cracker, you really need to get people to pick up, lift, carry and fetch for you. Especially because there is so much lifting involved with a toddler around. If you can get them to climb up and down stairs, or even master getting in and out of their buggy or car seat, that means less strain on your body too. Yes it feels useless and hurts the pride at times. Yes, you feel guilty for asking a barely out of babehood infant to start doing things independently. Yes it feels lazy. Yes it makes you go mad with frustration at having to wait and explain where something may be in a cupboard or a drawer but the point is, you are protecting yourself and your baby from damage. Plain and simple.
Additionally, if any of you lovely readers know a pregnant woman (especially one with a toddler in tow), a simple act of asking if she needs help with her shopping can work wonders. Or popping round in order to make the tea and watch her offspring whilst she takes a desperately needed nap can work wonders for her, mentally and physically. Simply ringing her up or texting her to say you think she is amazing and that she’s got this will even be a boost. Trust me, there has been many a lonely day in this pregnancy where I have felt boosted by a kind word from someone.

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Dealing with the first trimester sickness whilst BB watched Twirlywoos on the telly! 
Keep Activities Simple

I have found that, as much as I love taking our toddler to parks, soft plays and play groups, these activities usually need me to run around after him to make sure he doesn’t end up hurt or to lift him up and navigate him around obstacles and such. It’s just too much to handle on top of a bump so I have started to look at more sedate activities that we can do, just for the time being until I am no longer an oven cooking a bun. Painting, baking, playing with toys and building (easy) dens have all been popular choices that have been much less taxing to me whilst still keeping BB occupied. If I am with company then I still venture for the more physical activities as I can ask for help. But on the days where it is just us two, simple and sedate activities are the way to go!
Eat and Drink!
I know everyone is obsessed with eating and drinking well and there seems a real obsession with juices and stuff that looks like pond… but to be honest, my advice would be just to make sure you actually eat and drink at all! It is so easy to forget about meal times when you are tending to your toddler, and I have had many a day where I have gotten to 4pm and realised I haven’t had any lunch. So, work on remembering to eat and drink plenty throughout the day. Once you have mastered that, then you can start worrying about calorie content and all that other stuff. If you want to that is… when I was pregnant with BB I ate everything in sight (even dish sponges.. see here for an archives post where I first mention that weirdness) but this time round I have been craving mostly healthy fruit and veg instead of junk food. I have been putting my slow cooker to good use with lots of stews and pasta sauces. Still have an insane love for chocolate though but lets face it, that’s always been there! Pregnancy only enhances the love between us.

Do you have any tips for getting through pregnancy whilst taking care of another infant? Comment your suggestions below!

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Comments

  1. January 16, 2017 / 11:15 pm

    I applaud you! I'd be tearing my hair out by now lool these are some really good tips. Even for me with my twin 2 year olds I have the electronic babysitter, that comes in soo handy when I need to get away for a bit and get things done. I'm working on being kind to myself because I get really stressed out when the house is untidy and I'm the only one that can do the work.

    #MarvMondays

  2. January 17, 2017 / 11:46 am

    It is a rough few months- I was laid up with twins and had a three year old at my feet- but luckily she was a gem. Cant imagine being heavily preggers and having the crazy twinnies running free though. They are a whole other ball of wax.
    #twinklytuesday

  3. January 17, 2017 / 3:10 pm

    Yes! Embrace your electronic babysitters! I had my girls very close, and Sesame Street was a welcome hour of the day. I used to love listening to my little tot sing along …learning, mind you -double score …while I was able to have a brief respite to catch up on chores or prep meals. Or …on the occasion …I would sit and snuggle and sing along with her. Embrace the special gift that is unique to your family. It's so hard. SO HARD. But there's enough sweetness laced into the all the sweat and tears to look back and smile. I promise. Happy Tuesday! Megs

  4. January 17, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    I'd tear my hair out but it's constantly tied back in a mum bun..haha! Long live the electronic babysitters! They buy us just a little bit of time to regain order and sanity. But, yes, be kind and don't overstretch yourself. Housework doesn't make the world go round… it makes it pretty, but it doesn't make it go round.lol. Thank you for commenting! xxx

  5. January 17, 2017 / 5:04 pm

    OMG, I can't imagine carrying twins on top of caring for a toddler… you must be made of strong stuff! It helps if they're a gem doesn't it? Our son is happy to occupy himself and not demanding or clingy so I know it could be a lot worse for me. Twins though?! Yeah… completely different story I bet! Thank you for taking time to read my post and comment lovely xxx

  6. January 17, 2017 / 5:07 pm

    Very true… the sweetness is what keeps us going! Oooo, I loved sesame street myself as a kid… I wonder if I could find some episodes for BB to watch. I am always grateful for my electronic babysitters and have been known to literally embrace them.lol! The majority of programmes that come on are educational anyway, so I never see why it is so bad to let them watch it for a while. Thank you for stopping by and your empathy! xxx

  7. January 17, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    Brilliant tips. It is a bit of a distant memory for me as my youngest is now almost 8 but I do agree with all your tips particularly with letting people help! Thank you for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT 🌟

  8. January 17, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    So I have a background in neuroscience and I let my kid watch tv all the time. It's most harmful if you never take the time to interact with your kids and you don't cultivate an attention span in them in other ways. I actually think it can be beneficial for various reasons, but research seems so skewed towards finding out how it can do harm. Also, I watched tv all the time growing up and I have a PhD, so it can't be THAT bad! 🙂

  9. January 19, 2017 / 9:59 pm

    Tough times, definitely do what works! And hopefully make some great memories along the way.

  10. January 22, 2017 / 8:44 pm

    You definitely have to do what works! It's just the same when you have the baby haha!! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  11. January 22, 2017 / 10:52 pm

    Thanks Catie! See you tomorrow for the next linky 🙂 xx

  12. January 22, 2017 / 10:54 pm

    LOL! Obviously not! Exactly, TV definitely doesn't replace interaction in our house… it simply makes it possible for me to pee/wash up/hang out the washing in peace. Thank you for commenting! xx

  13. January 22, 2017 / 10:55 pm

    The toughest is yet to come when BB2 arrives but all hard work reaps the best rewards right?lol. Looking forward to all the memories yet to come. Thank you for commenting Janet! xx

  14. January 22, 2017 / 10:57 pm

    Exactly, the theme is 'Coping'. haha! My sister and I quote Dory throughout motherhood: 'Just keep swimming, just keep swimming'. Thank you for commenting, see you next linky! xx

  15. January 23, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    Such fantastic advice, what a great post! Thanks for joining in with #TuesdayTreasures x

  16. January 24, 2017 / 11:48 am

    It is really hard. When I was pregnant with Evelyn, Ethan was 2.5yo leading up to 3yo. I was so tired. Honestly, TV and just letting him play in the park were some of the best solutions. I think you have great tips and advice here. Thank you so much for sharing with us on #FabFridayPost xx

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