Pregnancy Exhaustion and the Importance of Self Care

Let me start by saying that I am immensely grateful to be carrying our second child.

Also, I’m tired! This time around my body seems to be struggle with the whole process. My hips feel like they’re going to come unhinged at any point and I have to wear medical compression hose each and every day to manage the veins bulging from my achy legs. 

The first time around I remember coming home from work and putting my feet up without a care for a few hours every night.  Now those same feet need to chase my toddler son around the house for regular games of hide and go seek. 

What I’ve learned the hard way this time is that the word “sustainability” applies to much more than the environment.  When I’ve chosen not to care for myself during this pregnancy, I’ve been unable to maintain the energy I need to teach a room full of teenagers and entertain a busy two-year-old. After a few meltdowns it occurred to me that taking the time to sit with my feet up isn’t lazy, but rather is good parenting for our unborn baby. 

So many of us mothers, whether we are pregnant or not, get caught up in trying to be the best mom, spouse, worker, domestic engineer, and planet saver, that we often neglect to take the time to renew our energy and refocus on our goals.  Many of us have invested in “energy efficient” appliances but haven’t been as effective with our own output. 

Here are the lessons I’ve been learning this time that I seem to have to keep relearning:

  • Sharpen the saw: This phrase has been used a million times in self-help books, but when we don’t take breaks to regain our energy, we end up being unable to cope well with basic issues—which deplete more energy than needed—which make it even more difficult to problem solve… and the downward cycle continues.
  • Sleep, sleep, sleep: In a few short weeks I’ll be learning this lesson more dramatically but it’s been so true for my pregnancy.  When I skimp out on sleep, I’m amazed how my emotional state shifts.  After just a few nights of going to bed earlier, life seems so much more possible!  I wrote a post on this very topic here long ago.
  • Ask for help:  Somewhere in our minds I think we all want to be able to handle all of motherhood’s challenges effortlessly—to smile when our kids dump their pureed pears on the floor and laugh when the laundry piles up.  The reality is, we sometimes need to call in the troops to give us the break we need.  While it’s tough for me to ask, I’m always amazed by how delighted my friends and family are to lend a hand. 

Of course, in just a few weeks I’ll need to reread this post because life as the mother of a newborn is far more challenging than pregnancy.  Still, with a bit of help and lots of naps, I hope to be able to handle it!

Comments

  1. karalee says:

    I have found it’s not even about asking for help but learning to accept help when it’s offered. I have a terrible time asking for help outright… but I have been working on saying, “why yes, sure, we’d love to have you watch the kids for a few hours so we can go out!”… when friends offer.

    I have no idea how the crazy notion found it’s way into our heads that as moms we are required to “do it all” ALL the time. It’s impossible and makes us nuts (and everyone around us nuts too).

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