Experiencing pregnancy the second time with a toddler around has been completely different; I thought it was difficult the first time dealing with just morning sickness and fatigue. I didn’t realize I had the ability to focus all of my energy on the baby growing inside of me and not much else. I was able to catch up on sleep, squeeze in more trips to the gym, and avoid preparing dinner for weeks on end during the first trimester. My two-year-old daughter is as sweet as can be, but she requires all hands on deck, regardless of how I am feeling.
The trickiest aspect of handling pregnancy with a toddler around is the lack of understanding – not necessarily about the pregnancy, but about the symptoms and how their day-to-day activities will be affected as a result. As her primary caregiver, my daughter was definitely impacted by my sickness in the first and second trimesters. As a result my approach to this pregnancy had to be different in order to provide the same level of care for my toddler while still taking care of myself.
- Morning Sickness. When it pertains to morning sickness, I found the best way to handle my daughter was to appropriately set her expectations for the day and be honest about how I was feeling (in a toddler-friendly way). While I knew I couldn’t take her to the park, the library, and a museum all in one day, I would let her choose a single activity. I also stocked up on puzzles, coloring books, stickers and many other age-appropriate projects to keep her occupied during the more difficult moments. Another way I attempted to combat morning sickness while with my daughter was to pack a ton of snacks – essentially I adopted the toddler snacking mentality and never left the house without a variety of foods for the both of us.
- Fatigue. When dealing with fatigue, I relied a lot on my husband during the first trimester to take our daughter for solo adventures on the weekend so I could find time to rest. I also put myself to bed shortly after her 7pm bedtime each night in order to make sure I could function the next day. Lastly, on days that my body simply needed a rest our dear friends Daniel Tiger and Curious George thankfully came to the rescue.
- Exercise. Finding the time (and energy) to exercise during pregnancy can be a challenge, especially with a toddler in the mix. While I admittedly haven’t made many trips to the gym, I regularly sneak in workouts at home. My favorite at-home workouts include prenatal yoga DVDS, Pilates exercises and simple pregnancy-friendly circuits. Working out at home is not nearly as exciting as a Soul Cycle class, but ultimately it allowed me to clear my head and break a sweat.
Handling pregnancy with a toddler around can be a challenge, but it is totally manageable. The best thing you can do for yourself (and your toddler) is to be honest and understanding during this temporary slowdown. In some ways, pregnancy is the perfect way to prepare a little one for the transitions to come with a newborn when your time will inevitably be split!
Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids.