Friday, 17 March 2017

Parenting While Pregnant

So much of the advice you will find about pregnancy is wonderful and useful - but it does have one major drawback: it tends to be aimed at first-time Moms.


There’s a good reason for that, too. The first pregnancy you go through is without a doubt the most stressful, because it feels like a venture into the unknown. You’re desperate for information, to know that you’re eating right, taking all the right steps to ensure that you’re doing all the things you should be. There’s also the inevitable fear of the birth, because while you might be able to read the birth experiences of others, it still feels like a mystery you’re not ready for.


When you’re onto your second (or third, or fourth…!) pregnancy, then things begin to get easier in that regard. You’ve done this; you know how it goes and - as the famous phrase goes - what to expect when expecting.


Of course, while the pregnancy experience itself might be easier, you are now faced with a new challenge: anticipating parenthood when you’re already a parent.


You’re faced with around 40 weeks when you will be carrying one child, but still wanting to make sure you have plenty of time, energy and love for the child(ren) you already have. It’s a juggling act that many women struggle with, and what’s more, it’s not an act that’s going to get easier imminently. After all, newborns require a high level of care, which you muddle through with the likes of Tummy2Mummy babies advice, help from family and your own experience. While you’re busy in that sleep-deprived early stage, you’re still going to have to find the time to be a Mom to your older children.


So how do you balance things? By breaking them down into incremental segments. Anyone who’s ever been pregnant is aware of how quickly you begin referring to everything in terms of weeks, so let’s stick with that, and for the sake of ease we’ll stick with the idea you just have one existing child while pregnant. Of course, all of the below apply in the same circumstances if you have one or ten other children too!


Weeks 1 - 6


Chances are you don’t even know you’re pregnant yet, especially if you’re not actively trying to conceive and thus not monitoring. Women generally discover they are pregnant around the six to eight week mark, so whether it’s a line on a test or the sudden realisation your sanitary products haven’t been needed for awhile, you’re only just getting to that happy moment. Start planning your pregnancy announcement and then, the real strategy gets under way.


Weeks 6 - 12




At this point you may be experience the most well-known physical effects of pregnancy: morning nausea and sickness (that can actually occur at any time of day!), tenderness, and tiredness.


Coupling those things up with parenting your child is difficult. You’re feeling under the weather as your body adjusts and that can make you short-tempered. You lack for energy to indulge in the usual play and games you would usually.


It’s also around this time you’re going to tell your child they are going to be a big brother or sister. Depending on how old they are, this can be a complex conversation that brings with it a few fears on their part.


On the days when you are feeling more like yourself, take the chance to spend some one-on-one time with your child. If they have any questions about what having a sibling is going to mean for them, then do your best to answer them. It’s not particularly fair to just expect them to react to the news with nothing but happiness. Of course that’s what you’re going to hope for, but it’s totally normal for them to wonder what their place is going to be when their home life shifts in such a dramatic way.


Spend time reading together or just playing word games; nothing too physical if you’re not feeling great. Try and iron out their concerns at this stage of the pregnancy, when your body has not changed too much and they can still see you as you.


12 - 20 Weeks


As you begin to show more obviously, it’s time to try and bring some excitement into the proceedings for your child.


If you have got through the awkward initial reaction stage, then acceptance should be forthcoming. A few weeks is a long time, relatively, for a child, so they should be coming round to the idea. They will have been nourished by your efforts to spend time with them and assured that there is plenty of love to go around.




There are lots of fun ways you can get them excited about your pregnancy as well as finding special bonding time with them.


  • Look up the horoscope for your expected child. This is a great theming for artwork for the child you have; they can paint pictures of lions for their Leo sibling, for example. If your due date falls around the cusp of a sign, just do both!
  • Thinking of baby names is always a fun part of pregnancy, so don’t reserve it for just you and your partner. Your child can experiment with different signatures for your name idea or even contribute those of their own.
  • Movies that show a strong sibling bond are also a good, quiet way of encouraging positive thinking. Frozen, for example, shows a dynamic bond between two sisters that is at the centre of the movie.


20 - 30 Weeks


Pregnancy is heavy on you now and it’s going to reduce what you can do. Rather than long walks in the park or playing with a ball, encourage plenty of mental and crafting stimulation with your child.


One aspect of this can be asking for their assistance in decorating the baby’s room. Most kids are full of suggestions when given the chance, and it’s worth indulging a few of their more “out there” ideas just to see a smile on their face. If they’re old enough, they might even be able to wield a paintbrush for themselves.


There are lots of fun ways you can get them excited about your pregnancy as well as finding special bonding time with them.


  • Look up the horoscope for your expected child. This is a great theming for artwork for the child you have; they can paint pictures of lions for their Leo sibling, for example. If your due date falls around the cusp of a sign, just do both!
  • Thinking of baby names is always a fun part of pregnancy, so don’t reserve it for just you and your partner. Your child can experiment with different signatures for your name idea or even contribute those of their own.
  • Movies that show a strong sibling bond are also a good, quiet way of encouraging positive thinking. Frozen, for example, shows a dynamic bond between two sisters that is at the centre of the movie.


20 - 30 Weeks


Pregnancy is heavy on you now and it’s going to reduce what you can do. Rather than long walks in the park or playing with a ball, encourage plenty of mental and crafting stimulation with your child.


One aspect of this can be asking for their assistance in decorating the baby’s room. Most kids are full of suggestions when given the chance, and it’s worth indulging a few of their more “out there” ideas just to see a smile on their face. If they’re old enough, they might even be able to wield a paintbrush for themselves.

30 - 40 Weeks


You’re on the final stretch. Your home is prepared, your hospital labour bag is good to go, and it feels like every day takes a week to pass. There’s a good chance you’re fairly uncomfortable, too - so it’s a lot of sitting down for Mom.


One idea to get your child excited is to let them play around with painting your belly. It might not be the high-end artistic designs that you can see and more lots of random dots and squiggles, but it’s a unique, fun, thing for a child to do.




After Birth


The first few weeks of adjusting to a life with a newborn - no matter how many times you have done it before - are fraught and exhausting. In the moments of quiet, try and grab time to just sit and watch a TV show with your child - preferably without the baby being present. Instilling the idea that one-on-one time with Mom is still going to happen is important even in the early phases. Even if it’s just a 10-minute cartoon, it will make a big impression on your child as they adjust to life as a sibling.


Finally, in the midst of all this, don’t forget to take care of you. Throughout pregnancy, if you want some time out to grab a haircut or indulge in some prenatal yoga, then do so. The best Mom is a Mom who is looking after herself, so give yourself a break.



Photos: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

~ All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclaimer for more information. I may have received financial compensation or the product(s) mentioned above free of charge from the manufacturer or PR Agency and was under no obligation to write a positive review. ~

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