With my due date quickly approaching at the end of this month, life often feels like it is spinning out of control –a frightening feeling for a mama with a type “A “personality like me! Between frustrating physical limitations, holiday visitors, holiday preparations (and all of the stress that goes with it), and nesting (IE. getting all of the baby essentials ready) it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Fitting in time for self-care feels almost impossible and there’s still so much to do. At least it feels that way.
I feel like I was much more prepared for the arrival of my first son. I had a hospital “go” bag ready a month before my due date, the nursery all set up and ready for its occupant, and was even working (as a substitute teacher) up until about a month prior to my due date. This time, I can’t even imagine working a job outside of my home and I am extremely grateful for preschool which keeps my three year old busy three mornings a week.
This pregnancy has been difficult from the start but one of the most challenging things for me this time has been the physical limitations that this pregnancy has come with. You might have read my previous post about belly wrapping but at this point, baby #2 is sitting so low and my bump is so big that the wrap is no longer supporting me well – much to my disappointment. I broke down and ordered an “ugly” pregnancy support belt just a few weeks ago with about a month left of my pregnancy. Fortunately, I discovered that my insurance covers most of the cost associated with these items so at least that was a silver lining! As a side note, I highly recommend checking out what your insurance covers. I have discovered that the things that they will and will not cover changes all the time and it never ceases to amaze me what mine is willing to pay for as long as the proper paperwork is submitted! Anyway, the support belt has helped a bit but I am still very uncomfortable in my own skin right now.
With my first baby, other than being tired, I felt pretty good and I remember not being in any sort of hurry for baby to make an appearance. I enjoyed being pregnant! This time, everything hurts from rolling over in bed to attempting to shop for Christmas gifts (thank goodness for Amazon!). So you might ask how I am managing to cope – well some days are more difficult than others but a few things have helped.
Firstly, I mentioned that I have resorted to wearing a pregnancy support belt. It helps slightly more than my belly wrap at this point only because it also provides a bit of compression pressure which helps to counteract the pressure of baby’s weight on my ligaments. It’s uncomfortable to sit in for long periods (and to be honest I’ve been spending a significant amount of time on the couch!) but I am trying to be vigilant about wearing it if I will be walking or standing for any period of time.
Secondly, I have been seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist twice a week. I actually saw a pelvic floor physical therapist for some other issues I had been having when I was first married but many people don’t know that this type of physical therapy exists. My physical therapist has been working with me to try to mitigate some of the pain and discomfort that I feel on a daily basis. She has been continually surprised to see how tight all of the muscles in my back and legs are. She basically told me that my abdominal muscles have given up and therefore other parts of my body are attempting to do everything they can do to hold my body together. In addition my pelvic ligaments are stretched so tight that they are essentially like rubber bands stretched to the limit – which explains why they hurt all the time! The muscles are also overworked and are having a hard time relaxing since they are spending so much time trying to stay contracted enough to support the weight of my ever growing belly. When most people think of physical therapy, they think about getting help to strengthen muscles which have become weak. While eventually, my therapist hopes to address some weakened muscles groups with me (after delivery of my baby), right now she is actually helping me focus on the exact opposite. She is teaching me stretches and breathing techniques to try to get my muscles to relax and release. It’s surprisingly more difficult than it sounds. Many of my muscles feel “stuck” in a contracted tight position and it’s difficult for me to convince them to relax for a bit. It’s a work in progress but days I see my therapist are generally better than the days that I don’t.
Lastly, I have had to break down and ask for help – which is hard for me. In the same respect, I have also had to allow myself to accept help when it is offered – also not easy for me. Perhaps my biggest ask, was asking my mom to come and help/visit for Christmas. This may not seem like a big deal considering that she is my MOM, but for me it was hard to ask for help. She was of course more than happy to be asked and to come and help. She knows that I have been struggling. Having her here will be a great weight off of my mind because I do not have any family close by. Right now, one of my biggest worries is how we will care for our three year old while I am in labor if baby comes before my mother gets here. Either we will have to ask someone to watch our son (which I feel is imposing on someone) or my husband will have to watch him which leaves me alone at the hospital –which is also far from ideal. I also don’t want my son to feel neglected so I will feel SO much better knowing that my mom is coming to be “his person.” I have asked her to make him her priority and to make sure that he gets to school and gets attention that he needs even when I know a lot of attention will be focused on his new sibling and me. Fingers crossed that baby stays put until she gets here. If not, I’m sure that my husband and I will figure something out but hopefully everything will work out at least somewhat according to plan!
I have also relied on my husband to step up and take on a lot of household responsibilities that I just can’t seem to manage on a daily basis. This includes everything from carrying the laundry baskets down to the basement where our washer is to figuring out and making dinner most nights. We’ve eaten takeout more than I care to admit. But you know what? This pregnancy has showed me that sometimes you can’t do it all and you shouldn’t have to kill yourself trying. I am trying to embrace the downtime that my body is forcing me to take and to give myself some credit. After all, growing another human being isn’t exactly an easy task!
I think it’s healthy for us to sometimes take a step back and rely on others for change. It isn’t easy to do but as moms we often try to take on the world – even when we don’t have to. Letting someone else take charge is both humbling and frustrating but I’m learning that this is my place right now. Once baby arrives who knows what will happen but for now I’m trying to take care of myself and not get too bogged down with the little things that I have to let slide. I’m trying to enjoy the last few movie and naptime snuggles with my son before he becomes a big brother and I’m trying to enjoy what life is like as a family of three because before we know it, we will be four. I know that the future has great things in store for us and that being a mom of two will be amazing (albeit exhausting!) but for now I’m trying to focus on the present because I don’t want to miss a thing.