How to get through-Pregnancy, Parenting and a Pandemic•
Posted on April 28 2020
One of the things that pregnancy and your child, can teach you, and you can teach your child, is how to get through.
These survival skills. If you can master these ,while pregnant,postpartum or in a pandemic, we promise, they will serve you well for all of your parenting years...so, yeah, basically, forever!!.
1. Let go of expectations.
Yeah. A pandemic.
Who among us ever thought 9 months ago that we would be living through a pandemic; living in a world that had totally shifted, stocking up on hand sanitizer and tp, waiting in a line 6 feet from the person in front of us, wearing masks, and not leaving our homes unless necessary?
No one,that's who.
Expectations of what April 2020 would look like? Not this!
This is perfect practice for pregnancy and parenting. Let letting go be the order of the day these days. You will get through, but focus on hopes not expectations. Hopes for yourself and everyone else too. Most of us are doing okay, but we are not our best selves some days these days. Use this opportunity to let go of expectations.
What to expect when you’re expecting?
Nothing that you thought!
"I thought it would be all rainbows and butterflies" said someone in the shop the other day-and, by "other day" I mean 7 weeks ago.
You may expect to feel tired. Yeah, but, not like that! Expected to be nauseous? Yeah, but, not like that! We have yet to meet anyone who said that it was exactly, or even remotely, like what they expected.
So, expect to be surprised and learn to enjoy the moment. Yes. Even now. There are moments and they can be enjoyed. (And if a small business person who's business has been closed for 6 weeks can say that, you know it's possible. ) Go ahead, find your inner zen.
Experience has already taught you that you can't really know what the next stage of this parenting/life thing is going to feel like-so best is to say so long to expectations.
What's at the end of the yellow brick road if you're pregnant? You and the baby at home, safe and sound. And, yes, maybe for longer than you thought. We've met moms in the past three weeks who have been SiPing with a newborn-some have been there with partners, others are alone; moms who had family that were planning on coming for the birth, but no; a mom who had a new job lined up when this happened and now there's a hiring freeze, so no new position, just going to be home with her baby for a year and so many more.
None of them are living the life that they expected, and some days are better than others-not exactly as it would have been without Covid-19, but with a newborn, life was shifting no matter what.
2. Listen to your body.
There's a lot going on in there! Pregnant or not.
Pregnant or not: If your body tells you “I’m hungry”, then feed it! “I have to pee” Again?!? Ooookay, go again. If your body says “I need a donut every morning” you might want to counter offer.
Sometimes we get to parent ourselves- your body needs healthy foods, which doesn’t mean you can’t slip a donut in there every now and again, but, here’s your chance to start discovering some easy to grab healthy snacks. This skill will serve you really well in about 18 months-because toddlers will definitely not hold back letting you know when they’re hungry! Ditto teens.
3. Listen to your mind.
But don't forget to talk to others. Particularly in a pandemic. And we don't mean on Instagram or FB. Reach out and talk or better still, FaceTime or Zoom.
We know, you’re smart, you can have entire conversations with your doctor/spouse/etc without even opening your mouth or having them in the room-you just have the conversation in your head, you check online and you talk yourself down. Not actually helpful.
Find people you trust, talk to them. If you are nervous or scared, let people know-your spouse, a therapist, your doctor, midwife, doula, someone on the other end of a hotline. Find more than one of these. Having a support system is important and will become even more so when you've had the baby. Build the system. Does not matter who. Does not. Mental health is a real thing-get healthy, it will serve you and your child well.
4. Don’t compare. It can be a direct line to despair.
Everyone carries differently-what someone else looks like? Doesn't matter. Let it go. You are perfect. Don't compare. Learn this now and parenting will be a whole lot easier, and it will be better for you and your child. Trust us.
Pregnancy and parenting come easy to some. And, it can appear that even the ones who struggle do it with humor-and look pretty good in the next post.
Find yourself some real life humans-relatives, friends with kids, neighbors. And if you don’t have any of those, find a parenting group, find an app to find you other local you-can-meet-them-at-a-coffeehouse-or-playground-when-the-pandemic-passes moms. IRL is a real thing, and while real life has definitely gone sideways, when we go back to being in the same space it will be amazingly wonderful to meet mom your new mom friends at a park rather than realize that they are thousands of miles away physically. We're not knocking Zoom. Zoom makes the daily gratitude list. But. Once getting out of the house is a thing, getting out of the house will be important!!
5. Speak up.
No one listening? Say it again, nicely. Still no one? Find someone else willing to listen. Knowing who you can trust is important. Figuring out your go-to people before baby is born helps. And, again, more than one.
Advocating for our children is our job as parents, we can only do it if we know how to advocate for ourselves. No time like the present too start trying it. "I need..." "Would you please..." "I feel..." Sheltering in Place is HARD. Parenting is hard. Taking a deep breath and say "I feel", not "I feel like". There's a huge difference there. And good lord knows we are all having feelings. And they are all valid. And we have all been under the same roof for weeks, this can be a challenging time. For everyone. Being seen and heard can be harder. But this is a great time to practice.
6. Sleep when you can.
Getting 8 hours for the next...oh, let's not go there, it might be a while!
Sleeping gets harder and harder when you’re pregnant. And then you have the baby, and whoa!
You know that all that “I can’t get comfy” lack of sleep? That's just nature’s way of preparing you for real combat. Get as may pillows as you need to try and be comfy while pregnant. The dishes and laundry can wait. If you run out, you can wash what you need.
Find some sheets and covers that make you happy. The easier to "make the bed" the better.
Sleep deprivation is a legitimate form of torture. Your baby deserves a mother who has not been tortured.
Having trouble sleeping in a pandemic? How do you quiet your own mind in the middle of the night? Middle of the night wakings are not the best time to plan, oh..anything! White nose apps, gratitde lists, there are many tools to help a mom self settle! We promise, 99.9% of all people do not have genius moments in the middle of the night.
7. Pamper yourself.
It doesn't have too be fancy and this means different things to different people.
Give yourself a mani pedi while alone in a room? A bath? A new top? A clean pair of leggings? A meal delivered? Treat yourself as you want others to treat you. Model exception self care for your child. We see mothers all the time who struggle with this, but the truth is how do we expect our children to learn self care if we don't know how to model it? Hmmm.
Use pregnancy, parenting and yes, even a pandemic to get to know what little things you can do for you. Expecting someone else to do it all for you? That’s not going to be helpful. (Refer back to number 1 above. We promise, expecting anyone else to take care of you can end not well. Doesn't mean you can't hope that they do or ask them to-number 5.)
8. Dress for success.
…and success here can men many things. But one thing that has not changed is that getting washed and dressed every morning honest to goodness can help you stand up straighter and feel better. So, what will make you feel good? You're doing this for you!
Comfy is great. We are not hear to knock comfy-at all!
We've sold a surprising number of this dress. It is super comfy and makes moms feel amazing. Even when they're just on Zoom.
One mom told us that she and her husband were having stay-at-home date nights; ordering out and supporting local restaurants, getting dressed, lighting candles, no screens allowed, twice a week. Boom. Romance. Remember that?
Jeans might not be leggings, but "maternity jeans are pretty f*ing close" and as someone said "I just need a pair of real pants! My sanity is at stake here."
I distance visited (and dropped off groceries) a friend the other day- a single mom who's baby was born at the end of January. There are tears and stuff sprinkled in, but over all, this baby has been in the works for years and she is having a great time and enjoying the time together. She is also wearing nursing tops, which, I have to admit, surprised me. Apparently they are the tops that feel best on her postpartum body and make her feel best breastfeeding,so, absolutely, self caare for her. Go mama.
You are making or have birthed a human being! Your body is, let's just say it, amazing!! Show it some love and respect!
That first impression that you make, on yourself, matters. Just like healthy snacks, get some instant easy outfits that make you feel good. Get as many as you can. If that’s just two, that’s cool, alternate them, find mix and match pieces. We find that even women who aren’t used to dressing to look and feel good say “I dress better pregnant than I did before I was pregnant-and it feels great!” Keep it up, even after the baby is born.
9. You can get through anything - when you know it will end.
If this is not your first baby, you have experience and you can reference it. If this is your first baby, this will all end. The first trimester? It ends. The third trimester? It ends. Labor? It ends. Baby’s first 3 months? They end. Teething? It ends. Potty training? You get the point here. The pandemic - it will end too.
The question is how will you get through all of the above. And you will. Let go of the past and the future. These are good days to do your best to take care of you today.
Pregnancy , pandemics-odd though this may sound, these are a perfect opportunity to start practicing taking care of yourself You are a mother and your baby’s mama deserves the best!
Got questions or suggestions or just want to chat with someone you remember from "way back when"-you know, 8 weeks ago! Call or text 415.269.0456 or write email@example.com.
Hang in there mama. You can do this.