10th May 2017

The Second Baby Chronicles with Robyn Wilder: Five ways to deal with pregnancy fatigue when you have a toddler

Robyn Wilder’s having another baby! And she’s writing about her pregnancy for Mush every couple of weeks. Here’s the fourth instalment, in which, according to our friends at Babycentre, her unborn child is roughly the size of a big juicy mango. And unfortunately that means Robyn is feeling the strain… 

Hello! I am now 23 weeks pregnant – well into my second trimester, when all the morning sickness should evaporate and one is infused with a healthy, energetic glow. So I geared my life around this – working like the clappers, parenting like the wind, and socialising like a butterfly. Unfortunately, these ambitions have come crashing around my ankles because, unexpectedly, fatigue has hit. It has hit like a truck full of beds. And this is what I have learned from the experience.

1. Try and get some extra rest in
Personally, I recommend telling your husband that you’re going for “a quick nap”, then proceed to sleep for SIX STRAIGHT HOURS in the middle of the day. Extra points if you can spend the entire time trying to escape a series of heavy, cobwebby nightmareish dreams you just can’t extricate yourself from. And if you can, then, go back to your glorious bed at 7.30 at night. In fact, make that your regular bedtime while your energy is low. Line of Duty can wait. It’s on Netflix.

2. Encourage independent play in your toddler
Go around the house finding the toys your toddler hasn’t played with in a while, and put them in a bunch of boxes. Every day, when your toddler is in a safe space they can’t break out of, let them amuse themselves for 15 minutes or so with one of the boxes while you recline with your eyes closed/Jeremy Kyle/Instagram/your favourite serial killer profiles on Wikipedia. Your toddler will learn to play alone, and you’ll get some rest.

3. Cut corners and delegate tasks
Eat ready meals. Clean up with baby wipes. Put your other half on bathtime duty while you sit with your feet up. Some people say growing a baby is the equivalent of running a marathon, so unless your other half is actually running a marathon too, get them to pick up any slack you can’t handle. Your tiredness is legitimate. You’re growing a person.

4. Don’t indulge parenting guilt
I repeat: you are growing a person. So it’s okay if you put dance videos on to wear your toddler out, instead of taking him out for a hike twice a day. It’s okay if you sit and read books with him, or play the “tidying up game” over and over. You’re not ignoring your child. You’re building him a new playmate. Don’t forget that.

5. Talk to your midwife
Because I am stupid, I didn’t do this immediately. First, I spent a good while berating myself for even feeling tired (“get up, you lazy witch, you have stuff to do!”). Next, I set about googling every possible cause, including anaemia, low blood pressure, and “just being old”. FINALLY, I have made an appointment with my midwife. Because I am stupid. Don’t be like me. If you feel off, contact a health professional – because they, not your guilt, and certainly not the internet, are the only ones who can help.

Mush brings you anecdotal and light-hearted guides on what you can expect when pregnant and in the early years of your child’s life. For more official advice and newsletters detailing your baby’s development, both before and after birth, we recommend signing up to Babycentre.

@orbyn @mushmums

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