I’ve had three challenging pregnancies with other kids at home. I was very intentional with the time in between pregnancies to prepare for the next one, figuring it would also be a challenge. 

Today, I’m covering what I did, what worked, what didn’t, and tips to help you figure out where to put your time and energy. These are the same tips I’d give you even if you aren’t planning another pregnancy but in a season where things are going well. You can put your efforts to use in a challenging pregnancy or enjoy the increased capacity in other pursuits.

1 – Establish Strong Anchors In Your Day

Begin and end your day with consistency. Having set routines for mornings, quiet time, and bedtime creates a predictable routine for everyone.

2 – Create Family Systems

During non-pregnancy times, set up family systems. While they may not always run smoothly when you’re feeling sick during pregnancy, having these systems in place allows for a quicker return to order when you’re feeling better. 

In My Made to Soar: Next 90 Days program, I delve deeper into this process but basically you identify one small problem, set up the environment to make it easy to do the thing you want to do, walk through the process yourself, and then teach your family how to do it and give everyone a role.

3 – Food

At first I cooked freezer meals and snacks ahead of time, thinking we could rely on those during morning sickness, but I never got the timing right. It always took longer than I hoped to get pregnant and that food would not be great by the time we needed it. I started creating meal plans with lots of different recipes in it for variety knowing I would probably only eat them once and then not want them again. What I discovered was we really just ate basic, simple meals during that time. Stock up on paper products to reduce the amount of dishes you need to do.

4 – Toys

I put all the toys away and just leave one or two favorites. I wish this was to keep the house cleaner, but I found that my cleaning up ideals were quickly dashed when I was so sick. But it did create options to pull out something “new” to occupy my young kids with.

5 – Activities

For homeschool, I’ve set up a daily rotation of activities for my younger kids and I think this could be an interesting option to carry through a pregnancy as well – as long as they are easy enough that you’re not too sick to manage it.

6 – Reduce Screen Time to Almost Nothing

This way everyone will be ready to enjoy it when you need it most. Come up with a curated collection of things that you are okay with everyone watching. We’ve always relied heavily on Sound of Music to get us through this season.

7 – Develop Audio Book Listening Skills

Listen to the guide I share in this video

8 – Physical Health

Invest in your physical well-being, starting with a foundation of good nutrition and regular exercise. I’ve always liked incorporating bar workouts for strength so I could build up muscle before the sickness begins.

9 – Read When Mommies Get Sick With Your Kids

This book helps show your kids how to make the most of it when their mother experiences illness or injury and can be helpful to prepare your kids for what’s to come.

10 – Create Comfortable Places for Sickness

Prepare a designated space for yourself and your children to rest during times of illness. In our case, an Ikea couch that transforms into a queen-sized bed provided a convenient gathering spot.

11 – Focus on Mental Preparation

This made the biggest difference. I went to therapy in between pregnancy three and four specifically with the goal to prepare and train for another pregnancy because I didn’t handle the third one all that well. Learning about cognitive distortions, specifically “should” statements, started to set my mind free from how things were “supposed to be” vs. what reality looked like. 

I also created the Thriving in Motherhood Journal with Megan Dilworth and Pheobe Cook with the intention of using it to keep my mind going down helpful paths after doing so much research to learn where I went wrong and focus on who I want to be instead of what I want to do.

For more on this, you can watch the Soaring Mother’s Summit season: Thriving in a Difficult Preganancy with Jayne Anne Osborne. We have other pregnancy-related sessions in there as well.

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