By far, the hardest part of my pregnancy -- as with all areas of my life -- has been working full-time. True: Attempting to sell our home was stressful, but nothing tops feeling puke-y and exhausted with deadlines looming and other obligations . . . 40 hours a week, each week of the year.
Alright, it's been a little over three months. But you know what I mean!
I'm beginning to get back into a rhythm. I'm starting to feel more myself again. At points, though, I've felt downright resentful that I have to "put myself through this agony." That's a direct quote. I'm sure Stephen could tell you more things I've said in my hormone-induced haze, but we'll leave those off the blog for now.
Reality is: At this point in my life, I have to work. Many pregnant women do. All the whining in the world won't change the circumstance.
I took a long, hard look at my sick time. Almost immediately, I took stock of how many days I have on the books for illness-related absences. No, I wasn't trying to see how many I could take right away. Instead, I developed a strategy.
You see, where I work, we don't get paid maternity leave. We must use our accruals to remain in paid status during our absence. So, I want to be paid for as many days I'm out with the baby as possible, which means sacrificing some time now to make it happen. No, I don't drag myself into work if I'm passing out. Nor do I ignore if something is really wrong with me . . . but if that headache I'm suffering is more of an inconvenience than a reason to skip the day, I think about the dollars first.
Thankfully, I have been frugal with my time up until this point, so I'm in good shape. I have a grasp on how many days I can take throughout my pregnancy while still having enough to cover the break. A lot can happen between now and then, and for now -- I'm keeping a positive outlook.
I established a morning routine that eased my "morning" sickness. It took a few weeks, but I eventually discovered foods and other ways of managing my nausea. I was lucky because it seemed to intensify on weekends, allowing me to suffer those days at home. I had time to experiment. I had time to cry about it. (And I definitely did cry a few times because it was more mentally than physically exhausting for me.)
My routine? I'd wake up each morning and eat a Greek yogurt before getting out of bed. Then I'd quickly shower and immediately head downstairs -- before drying my hair -- to make an egg sandwich. Greek yogurt and eggs have lots of protein, and I read that protein helps tremendously. A quick swig of lemonade right before I headed out the door helped, too. And from week to week this routine would change ever-so slightly.
I knew that if I started dry-heaving (yum!), I needed a popsicle. I also learned that the most intense sickness did happen in the hours right before work. If I hadn't thought about it and planned, I could very easily see the sickness spiraling out of control. Knowing I had to go to work, I had to stay on top of it.
I told a few key people what was going on with me. There were times at work when I would get dizzy or faint. When I'd run to the restroom quickly. When I'd just act plain strange. After a while, I decided it'd be good for a few people to know what's up. Just in case.
I stashed snacks at my desk. And more in my purse. Working away from home means planning ahead -- big time. Especially for food! Having a good supply of healthy(-ish) foods has been absolutely essential. Where I work, it isn't easy to hop on and off campus. Food court meals leave much to be desired. The only other option is candy or chips at the university store.
Trust me. There were a few days when I didn't have enough food . . . and I was majorly sorry.
I scheduled a few long weekends. I was downright sleepy during much of the latter part of the first trimester. So, I scheduled some vacation time accordingly. I didn't go crazy, but a few three-day weekends sprinkled in helped me recharge and get the rest I have needed.
I found ways to de-stress after-hours. It's silly, but when you're away most of the day, you tend to forget about things other people may take for granted. Like naps. The idea of taking a nap, to me, at least, used to be absolutely ridiculous. There's just no time in my day for that. Well, I started making time. And my body thanked me.
I also kept up with running and walking, watched lots of TV shows, and soaked up as much couch time as possible. Sometimes it felt like I'd wake up, go to work, lounge on the couch (for dinner, too), and go to bed. And for several weeks, that really was my life.
I won't -- nor will I ever -- apologize for it.
I gave up on cooking and baking for a while. It pained me to do so, but between food aversions and much-needed couch time, I didn't find myself wanting to put spatula to wok. Or whisk to butter. Whatever. We enjoyed some oven pizzas (Amy's Organic Pesto Pie is my current favorite) and other super-easy meals that required little or no cooking.
Yeah. I'm talking cereal for dinner. Bagels with cream cheese and avocado for lunch. Desserts that could be made quickly in the microwave (like these chocolate-peanut butter oat bars). We ate simply, but we ate well. And now I'm enjoying cooking again. I have the energy to do so, too!
I leaned on friends/family who have been in this position before. And even those who haven't. The people I care about have been amazing throughout this process.
They have let me vent on particularly bad days.
They've treated me to gigantic peanut butter cookie cakes (THANKS, LINDSEY!) because they knew it'd make my day.
They have let me complain about the "not-fairness" of it all.
They've emailed/texted me -- even from faraway places -- to let me know they are thinking of me.
The list goes on and on . . .
So, even though I've wanted to retreat into myself sometimes when the going got c.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y overwhelming, the people around me have helped tremendously.
There are some days when I truly feel like I'm working a never-ending, thankless double shift. But I'm getting into the groove and finding fun (and even some peace) in the insanity. I'm continually trying to find and take time for myself. Most important, though, I'm trying to pause and enjoy pregnancy as it speeds by.
Maybe you worked full-time during your pregnancy. Maybe you didn't. We all have stress and craziness in our lives. What do YOU do to cope? Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.
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