Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tips to Surviving the First Trimester of Pregnancy

Now that I'm in my third trimester with this pregnancy, I thought I'd look back and share some tips for surviving the first trimester.  Everyone's experience is different, but these things have definitely helped me.  The first trimester of pregnancy can be a challenging time.  Having young children adds to the challenges, and instead of rejoicing in the expectation of new life, the temptation is to become discouraged, full of self-pity, and just plain grumpy.

Last year someone asked if I would write a post on some tips for surviving the first trimester.  I never got around to it, but now that I've gone through 5 first trimesters, I figured I would share some things that I've learned that help make it a bit easier.  NO, the sickness, hormones, and fatigue won't go away, that's all just part of it, but the tips I'm going to share will hopefully help in making this period of time better.  And, lest you feel like you're just not getting anything done during your pregnancy:

Lower your expectations for yourself.  Nausea and fatigue will bring anyone's mood and physical stamina down a notch.  During those weeks of the first trimester, don't set such high goals for yourself.  We love to entertain, but when I'm feeling sick with pregnancy, we rarely have people over for dinner.  My home isn't as neat and tidy as normal {especially the floors}, and I try not to tackle as many projects around the house.  These things were frustrating at first, but as I let go of my normal tendency to accomplish a lot, I found that I was able to nap more and felt better because of it.

Eat.  Can I just say that pregnancy is not the time to be on a diet?  And, although it might be fun to brag that you never had to wear maternity clothes, you only gained 12 pounds throughout your pregnancy, or you went home from the hospital in your skinny jeans, you are supposed to gain weight when you are pregnant.  So, that being said, eat if you are hungry.  As soon as I had an empty stomach, I would feel sick.  I've talked with many women who have felt the same way.  I truly believe that the solution to this is to eat whenever you can so that you don't get the empty feeling.  Salty foods, salads, and bland things {pasta, potatoes, popcorn} were always helpful to me.  I realize some women just can't do this, but if you're trying to avoid weight gain and having an empty stomach isn't helping the nausea, eat.

Don't give into every craving.  This tip is a bit of an addendum to the one above.  Being pregnant is not a license to lose all self-control in the area of eating.  It's still important to be healthy, not to go overboard and to stay within the normal weight-gain range that your Doctor has set.  That being said, you don't have to eat everything you feel like eating.  I craved going out to eat ALL the time during the first trimester of all of my pregnancies {and we definitely ate out more than normal}, but if I had given into every specific craving, we would have gone way over our food budget, and my husband would have been driving all over town to meet my wants {NOT needs}.  Usually a craving will pass, so just give it some time and find something else that will satisfy.  For example, sometimes when I really wanted french fries, I would opt for homemade popcorn instead.  My body really just needed a little bit of salt, and the popcorn did the trick.

Take a shower and get ready for the day.  It's amazing how feeling put together can change your attitude.  There is a general feeling of frumpiness during pregnancy, and I can guarantee you that by taking a shower, getting dressed, and putting on a little makeup, that overall frumpy feeling won't be as prominent.  Not only will it get you off of the couch, or out of bed, but it will help you to feel ready to face the day and you can greet your husband in style.  At my first baby shower, someone gave me the advice to 'put on lipstick everyday'.  Her point was that just because I had children, didn't mean that I needed to forego trying to look nice.  There's balance in everything, but these simple steps at the beginning of the day really helped me to actually feel better physically.

Sleep.  When I got pregnant with our first child I was working from home so it was pretty easy for me to sleep whenever I wanted.  And I did.  Normally a morning person, I found myself staying in bed longer, going to bed earlier, and napping during the day.  For those who work during the day this isn't possible, and it's not possible for those who have young children at home.  The solution is to sleep when you can.  It might mean that you go to bed around 7 or 8 PM for a few weeks, but that's okay.  You're really not missing anything, and it will help you feel better.  When my children were all napping in the afternoons, I would often lie down to take a nap and it made a big difference.

Remember to be a wife.  Yes, you are carrying a child, and that is a precious and important task.  But, you are still a wife.  Don't neglect your husband.  Share with him your needs, communicate about your pregnancy, and keep him in the loop about what's going on in your heart and mind.  Ask him questions, do things for him that make him feel special, and yes, be sure to meet his physical needs.  You're not going to feel like doing that last one very much, but it's still important and as wives we need to be quick to continue loving our husbands.

Cook dinner early in the day or snack while making dinner.  If you are at home during the day then you'll be able to work on this one.  Usually I was feeling pretty sick by the late afternoon when I needed to be making dinner.  I found that if I could put my dinner together {as much as possible} in the morning, or right after lunch, I was more prone to actually get dinner on the table, and didn't feel as gross doing it.  On the days I didn't do this, I was sure to have something to snack on while I fixed dinner.  With my second pregnancy, I ate cheese and crackers, and drank ginger ale mixed with grape juice.  Somehow that combo worked for me.  During my third, fourth, and fifth pregnancies, vegetables and dip were my go to during the dinner-prep hour.  {See tip number two on why this was important}.

Be thankful for every minute.  There are countless women who would love to be nauseated, tired, and uncomfortable due to pregnancy.  Every time I felt sick or was tempted to complain I would ask the Lord to help me be thankful for the fact that I was pregnant, and rejoice.  God had given me the privilege of carrying a child, and that was not something I should take for granted.  Usually, the sickness during that first trimester is also a sign that your pregnancy is still going well, so I would try to remember that and rejoice.  {I did miscarry at the end of my first trimester with our third baby, so I know that this is not always true}.  There's no denying the fact that it can be unpleasant during those first weeks, but when I tried to be thankful and rejoice it made the complaining and grumps go away.

These are just a few tips for you.  I'd love to hear any tips you have!  Just comment below so we can benefit from your experience.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Great Weekend

This past weekend was absolutely wonderful.  Nothing overly exciting happened, but we had a great time as a family, playing outside, working in the garden, finishing a few things in the house, and being together.  Bradley and I even got a date night in, thanks to a  sweet friend from church.  I'm usually ready for our week to begin again, but not this time.  I really dreaded seeing Bradley go to work this morning and had no real motivation to get anything done.

My computer sat with a dead battery over the weekend, and I hadn't even checked my email, except for an occasional peek at Bradley's phone {he's the only one with a smart phone}.  So, I got back online today and I'm trying to catch up on a few things before heading out of town for two weeks.  The kids and I are going on a road trip to VA and PA.  We have two weddings to attend and some Grandparents and cousins to visit!  It should be fun.  I can't guarantee what or if I will be posting while I'm gone, but if I get inspired I'll put something up.

I wrote a guest post over at the Not Wedding yesterday, so if you'd like to go check it out, it's a bit of a love story about Bradley and me.  My friend Callie is the master mind behind the Not Wedding, and you might be seeing this awesome event come to your city soon!!  They're launching several new locations this year, including NYC, Charleston, Cape Cod, and Nashville, and I couldn't be more thrilled with the way that God is expanding this business for Callie and her team.

My little boy is also turning ONE this week!  I can't believe he's almost a year old.  We did some celebrating last night, since we won't be with Bradley on his actual birthday, and I'm pretty sure both Grandmas have something fun planned when we're with each of them.

Hope ya'll have a great week!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Evening Fun

We've had a few evenings of spring weather and we are loving it!  As soon as dinner is over, we run outside and catch as much of the remaining sunshine as we can.  The girls love it, Mason enjoys the breeze, and Bradley is able to get some work done in the garden.  I enjoyed snapping a few pictures of the kids the other night as they danced to the setting sun.

"From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised." 
Psalm 113:3