When you’re wrestling with pregnancy and morning sickness while trying to keep up with a hyperactive toddler, you know you’ve signed up for the most advanced level of parenting. When I was pregnant with my baby, my morning sickness was like a particularly grumpy cat that had chosen me as its favourite scratching post. Ouch!
There was this one day that still makes me break into a nervous sweat. Charlie decided that the dawn of my nausea wave was the perfect time to become an ‘artisanal fruit explorer.’ Picture the crime scene: fruits of all shapes and sizes scattered haphazardly across the kitchen bench, an apple rolling under the fridge, and a very enthusiastic one-year-old champion, squishing banana between his fingers – and, guess what, bananas happen to be the fruit that made me gag.
So there I was, my tummy doing somersaults, chasing after my mini Tarzan who was delighting in his newfound banana-squashing skill. Fun times, right? Ah, the joys of pregnancy paired with toddlerhood!
You know what frustrated me the most? It was how everyone around me was always gushing about how radiant and magical the journey of pregnancy is. Well, they’re not wrong, it is beautiful. But what about the other side of the coin, the chaos and the tear-your-hair-out moments? Why does no one talk about that?
I mean, come on, juggling a tantrum-throwing toddler while battling bouts of pregnancy nausea is like trying to put out a fire with a squirt gun. The constant exhaustion, the endless laundry, and the never-ending mess. One minute you’re basking in the glow of your little one’s smiles, the next you’re struggling to keep your eyes open while they insist on their fifth bedtime story. It’s tough, it’s draining, and sometimes it can feel utterly overwhelming.
How do I cope with having a toddler and being pregnant?
My first piece of advice: Don’t just survive, thrive! You’re growing a whole new human being inside you (kudos to you, it is crazy hard work), all the while looking after an adventurous toddler who might just decide that playing ‘catch’ with your favourite vase is a fantastic idea. It’s a lot, but you’ve got this.
Get some help: I know we always want to do everything ourselves without bothering other people, but you know what I realised? There’s no medal or a cash prize (and definitely no wine) for doing it all alone. Reach out to friends, family, or consider a part-time babysitter. They can look after your little one while you take some time for yourself or your beautiful baby bump.
Nap when they nap: It might be tempting to catch up on chores while your toddler is napping, but remember – your body’s working double-time. Grab that snooze. The laundry and dishes can wait.
Snack up: Keep nutritious snacks within arm’s reach for those moments when you’re suddenly famished but your toddler has decided it’s time for you to be the captive audience to their puppet show.
So, is it hard being pregnant with a toddler?
In all honesty, hell yes.
Carrying a bowling ball while trying to keep up with a marathon runner -that’s pregnancy with a toddler for you. But every time your toddler lights up at your growing belly, every sloppy kiss they plant on it, and every conversation they attempt with their unborn sibling, it makes all the fatigue worth it.
When should you stop carrying your toddler when pregnant?
This one’s a bit subjective. Listen to your body and your doctor. If your pregnancy is low-risk and you’re comfortable, you might be able to carry your toddler occasionally. However, as your belly grows and your centre of gravity shifts, carrying a wriggly toddler can be risky. To play it safe, encourage your toddler to become a ‘big kid’ who can climb onto chairs and into the car seat by themselves.
Do toddlers get attached when mum is pregnant?
They certainly can! My toddler was my shadow. He saw my growing belly as something fascinating, something that was a part of his world too. So, try to ‘include’ your toddler in your pregnancy. Let them talk to the baby, feel the baby’s kicks, help you pick out baby stuff. This can build a beautiful bond between them and the baby, even before the baby is born.
Remember, it’s okay if the house is messy, if you serve bangers and mash three times a week, or if you forget the words to their favourite nursery rhyme. Trust me, your toddler won’t remember any of that. What they will remember is your love, your hugs, and that precious time spent with you and their future best friend!
Now, let me give you just a few more pieces of advice from my very own experience:
Preserve your energy: Toddlers can outlast an energiser bunny. Pregnant mums, not so much. So, pick your battles wisely. Save your energy for things that really matter.
Create a safe, fun environment: Toddlers love exploring. While you’re resting, you’ll need ways to keep them occupied. Fill your living area with safe, fun toys that stimulate self-play. Trust me, a well-timed play session can give you that desperately needed break!
Prep your toddler: Talk to your toddler about the baby in your tummy. Read them books about becoming an elder sibling. Get them involved in setting up the nursery. This way, they’ll feel like they’re part of the process and not being replaced.
Embrace the craziness: There will be days when you’ll wonder how you’re going to make it through. There will be laughter, tears, tantrums, and heart-melting moments of affection. Embrace it all. It’s all part and parcel of the incredible journey that is motherhood.
So, here’s the game plan. Shimmy into your most comfy trackies (bonus points for the ones with the stretchy waistbands), pile up your stash of sneaky treats (let’s agree, chocolate’s a fruit now, yeah?), and remind yourself – “I’m smashing this mum gig”. You’re not just any mum, you’re the superhero mum, no less.
At the end of the day, the trick to this crazy time of your life is giving yourself a break, focusing on what’s truly priceless – the bonds you’re building with your cheeky little monkey and the bun still baking in the oven.
Take a moment to press pause, draw a deep breath, and soak up these precious moments. Amongst the “Is this normal?” and “Where the bloody hell did I put my phone?”, there’s a whole lot of magic going on. Treasure these moments because these are the memories that you will look back on and actually miss (yes, it is true!).