Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Top Tips Tuesday - Surviving Pregnancy

Someone asked, on an online group that I am on, how to cope with lots of little children during pregnancy.  It got me thinking about what helped me to cope, and how I struggled, during my prgenancy's.

Contrary to common opinion, I am NOT superwoman.  (I KNOW that some of you are well aware of that.....). Some people seem to think that I am, because I am a SAHM, who has 6 children, and who homeschools.   But, I certainly have many a day where I do not feel like a super anything.  Well, maybe a super-whiner, or a super-failure, or a super-lost-it-completely.  ANYTHING of any merit that is observed, is ALL of God's grace, and God's grace alone.  I could NOT do it without the Lord, and HIS strength.

So, for my Top Tips, I am going to give a few ways to prevent pregnancy melt-down, a lot of which applies to general life, as well.

1.  Don't miss out on your quiet time.

Now, I have to ALWAYS alter how and when I do my quiet time, when I am pregnant.  I simply can't manage the early rises quite like I normally do.  I have to adjust that.  Sometimes I don't get my readings done until the evening, or it may be in the morning, but with the children milling around.  But, I have discovered (to my personal disaster), miss it, miss out.  Or, miss it, mess up.  If there is ever  a time when you need to know that closeness with the Lord, it is when the children are little, and you are hormonal, and pregnant.  Melt-downs happen waaaaaay quicker, if you are not keeping your eyes on the Lord.  Pray a lot.  Think on God's goodness. You REALLY need to.  Otherwise you dwell on the problems, and how "blah" you are feeling, and you end up in a downward spiral of self-pity and tears. (yep, tears...easily the tears)

2.  Don't do more than you have to

Yes, YOU! That lady there, reading this, who's a perfectionist and couldn't possibly imagine letting ONE thing "slip" from her perfect routine.  Let some things wait.  Because they CAN wait until you are feeling better.  Or until someone else offers to do it.  Or until the baby is born.  It is more important to have a Mummy who isn't having a melt-down because she has lost her last ounce of energy ironing the tea towels.  (for the record, I NEVER iron tea towels, but I do iron more than some I know.  My lovely husband likes things to be ironed, so I do.  But, a pile ALWAYS builds up in early and late pregnancy, and I just do what NEEDS to be done...the earth isn't going to implode beacuse you don't get all the ironing done!)  Let your standards slip.  Ok, maybe put more positively, alter your standards for a short while.

3.  Take help when it's offered.

No matter how much it may not the way you like it done, or the speed you like it done, take help when it's offered.  If someone has a kind enough heart to offer in the first place, you would be MAD not to accept.  Even if the offer is purely because someone is trying to be self-righteous, or nosey, still say yes!  It's for gOd to judge the heart, and in the meantime, you reap the benefits. Yes, Mrs Blogs' dinners may not be quite like yours, but it beats making it yourself!

4.  Use paper plates and cups

Yes, that's right. Paper.  And throw them away.  One less job already - no washing up! You can get them VERY cheaply in Poundland and big stores.  It's easier for the children to clear up as well.  Even if you jsut do it for lunch, it's still a little help.

5.  Get the children involved

If you don't already have the children helping in the house START NOW! Every small thing that they can do, is one less thing for YOU to do.  It's all a great education for them, and it may start some excellent routines for the rest of life.  Even small children (2 or 3 years old) can do many things.  Changing hand towels, replenishing toilet paper, putting things away, getting out cutlery.  The list is long!  As for older children - my oldest two (9 and 8) could make basic dinners, and lunch with any kind of sandwich fillling (but especially PB&J and chocolate spread!....there's PROTEIN in peanut butter - it's GOOD!)  All these ways that a child can help can free up a nauseous and weary mother, reserving your energies for the things that you really need to do.

6.  Have "room time"

Again, if you don't already do this as part of your routine, start now!  We have done this for years now.  For an hour in the afternoon, the children spend an hour in their room.  I usually have them read for half an hour, and play for half an hour.  Girls in their room and boys in theirs.  Now, invariably, I have had my youngest child nap i the morning, and the room time is in the afternoon.  This is so that I was able to do school work in the morning, whilst the youngest was asleep.  You need to decide which things are more valuable to your time and energies.  I found that getting school done with fewer interruptions and having the smallest child with me during room time, is better than doing school in the afternoon when the youngest is awake just so I can have  a rest when the children have room time.  So, find what works for you.  But, I HIGHLY reccommend this "room time".  They are told NOT to keep coming out and bringing problems to me.  They have to be nice to each other, and sort out any problems themselves!

7.  If you home school, be flexible

I have known people (including myself!) to get into a real tizz about keeping up with a very busy home-schooling schedule during pregnancy, and ending up stressed out and exhausted.  I would suggest, if your curriculum choices allow, to take a less intensive approach at the harder times in pregnancy.   Get your older children to do a lot of independant reading.  They can learn SO much from factual books, by just sitting, quietly reading on their own.  Maybe get them to write some short reviews to show you what they have learnt, or narrate some facts to you, or demonstrate in some other way.  DO NOT stress about the younger children.  If you have started early with your children, and are already in a very strict schedule with, say, a 4 year old.  CHILL OUT! They are still SO young, and they can cope with something less intense, simply to allow their Mum to rest and cope.  You can do many "educational" things, such as simply reading aloud to them.  You can sit on the sofa, and they can be learning by just chatting to them - pointing out colours, numbers, things beginning with different sounds, light, sound - all just from your sofa! Learning comes in so many different shapes and forms.  RELAX!  Try and take it easy with the the things that can wait. Concentrate on teaching Biblical character traits. Eternal things, of so much importance, can be taught in very informal ways.  In fact, you could tie it in with the helping, by setting them tasks to tie in with character traits, which will also help the whole household! Get inventive, as much as your weary brain will allow!


Remember....this will pass!  It is such a short season in life, with a far more eternal weight of glory.  You are growing a child inside of you, who you will be raising for the kingdom of Christ.  The weeks of nausea are far outweighed by the blessing of the child that will so very soon bring you joy!  Keep on, just one moment at a time.  Don't worry about how you will cope tomorrow, or next week, or next month.  TODAY is what counts for the Lord, and we must honour Him in our lives TODAY.  He WILL give you the grace and strength that you need.  If it doesn't seem like you have much, God know it is what you need, and you need to do what you are able to do, with the strength that HE has given you!

So, for all those of you going through pregnancy, keep your chin up!  Maybe you have some ways that you have found to cope with those tough days.  PLEASE share them!

Perhaps your child-bearing days are over?  PLEASE impart your wealth of experience to those whose days of tiredness and nausea are still not done! There must be something that you can share!

Maybe you are not pregnant, but still struggling.  Maybe with illness or a difficult child - I am sure these ideas may help you in some way.  I pray that God will use them to His glory!

Please link up below, if you blog about this subject, or share your experiences in the comments section below.

And, sorry it's late - but I DID start it on Tuesday! *grin*

1 comment :

  1. Useful post.
    I would add-"know yourself".
    I've been blessed with reasonable pregnancies but feel horrible afterwards. Partly physical, we've never been able to show photos of me after the birth as I look so bad but mainly, emotionally. A common problem but it is distressing and can last months. We've found that it is worth preparing as much as possible before the birth-a full freezer etc. .Reading the Psalms helps and getting more rest when things are difficult.
    I haven't needed medical treatment but there are some women who do.
    By far and away the worst occasion was the first when we didn't understand what was going on.
    It does get better-I'm now two and a half years from what, due to age, will almost certainly be my last pregnancy and can say that God's grace is always sufficient.