Surviving 3rd trimester discomfort and fatigue

I should probably be napping right now (it’s “rest time” in our house) but this post has been on my heart all morning as I’ve STRUGGLED to [cheerfully] survive the the long stretch of hours between 6:45a – 1:30p (aka kids morning wake up to nap time). I’m midway though 26 weeks of pregnancy and third trimester symptoms are already setting in: my belly has reached the point where it’s uncomfortably large (and I accidentally bump into things because I forget to give myself enough clearance) and the physical fatigue is REAL.

One blessing of this being my 4th time surviving 3rd trimester is that I’m more aware of/expecting the changes that are setting in, so I’m better equipped to manage them. Here’s my game plan to survive these last months of pregnancy:

1.Sleep. As much as possible. For me this means going to bed at 9p and sleeping as late as I can in the morning (usually 6:45/7a). Of course this is not all high quality sleep: as any pregnant lady knows, aches and pains plus stomach and bladder issues will wake you up frequently overnight (as will your children who are already outside the womb). Hence, I also enforce mandatory rest time in our house (my 2 y/o and 1 y/o still nap, while my 3 y/o has some quiet time in the family room & watches a show) when I take a nap…and you better believe that I nap every day. This is just as important to my mental health and physical wellbeing as it is to that of my kids—we all need a break from each other, they need their rest and they also need a joyful Mama.

2.Discover rejuvenating activities to fit in throughout your day. When I’m burnt out and exhausted, my natural inclination is to waste time scrolling though Instagram and Pinterest. But this NEVER recharges me; in fact, I usually put down my phone 5-10 minutes later feeling even worse than when I sat down to “rest”. I’ve realized that I need to fight the resistance I feel to pursue activities that actually recharge me when I have a small break in my day. For me those activities are prayer (nothing like a few decades of the rosary at 10a to reset your day), reading (thanks to the #CathLit2019 challenge I have a stack of good books ready to pick up and read) and writing. For you it might be painting, crafting, cooking…the list goes on. Whatever it is that pulls your out of yourself and gives you that sense of timelessness.

3.Eat well. We made chocolate chip cookies this morning and I am too embarrassed to say how many I have eaten today. I sort of developed an eating addiction: every time I started to feel super tired, I’d eat a cookie. This resulted in a series of sugar highs and sugar crashes, and also me not feeling hungry for anything substantive. Needless to say, I felt crummy and irritable thanks to my food choices (though the cookies were supremely delicious in the moment). I know from experience that what I should be doing is focusing my food consumption on high-protein, high-fiber food groups, foods that will give me stable energy and provide me and baby with the nutrients we need (and prevent constipation, which is a nightmare when pregnant). So tomorrow that means more meat, veggies, fruit and yogurt for this Mama!

4.Drink lots of water. I’m always thirsty these days, and when I don’t stay hydrated I get super irritable and develop low blood pressure. These are not helpful conditions to function under, especially when you have small, fast, loud children at home with you.

5.Be intentional with your time and energy. Over the years I’ve come up with my list of priorities: prayer/God, my husband and my kids are the top three—the people living in my home and our relationships. Following these priorities is staying on-top of laundry, keeping the home relatively picked up/vacuumed, and making healthy meals (important ways I care for the people in my home). Right now, this is pretty much all I’m capable of doing, which brings me to my next point…

6.Ask for help. Today I told my husband that I will no longer be able to keep up with deep cleaning the bathrooms. And you know what, he was okay with that and even volunteered to take over the dirty work until after baby is born. (He’s definitely a keeper ❤️). Acknowledging my limitations has made me a more cheerful wife and mother, and has helped me do the work that still I CAN do well and with a joyful heart. Through my struggles with prenatal and postpartum depression, I’ve come to the acute realization that Mama does set the emotional tone in the house. I want my home to be life-giving and joyful, which means I need to focus on how well I’m loving the people in my house, and asking for help (or maybe even letting go for a season) of the things that aren’t as important.

If you’re pregnant or recently postpartum, what have been/were the biggest challenges for your pregnancy? What tricks did you discover for coping?

#CathLit2019

One of my Catholic mom blog heros, Haley Stewart at Carrots for Michaelmas, came up with an awesome reading challenge for 2019! She has 19 categories of Catholic books to read (as well as some great book suggestions for said categories). Here’s what I’m aiming to read for #CathLit2019!:

A Spiritual Memoir

My Sisters, the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell

A Classic Spiritual Work

This Tremendous Lover by DOM Eugene Boylan, O.C.R.

A Book about Mary

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary by Brant Pitre

Book by a Catholic Novelist 

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Book by a Pope

Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis

Book by a Catholic Woman

Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life by Kendra Tierney

A Book about the Liturgy

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre

Book by an Early Church Father

The Faith of the Early Fathers Vol 1 selected and translated by WIlliam A. Jurgens

A Conversion Story

Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler (I listened to 3/4 of this book on my annual retreat last spring, but it was SO good that it definitely deserves a complete read (or maybe 2 or three)).

A Book about Apologetics

Why I Am Catholic by Brandon Vogt

A Book by an Orthodox Christian

1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp – Okay not Orthodox, but I’ve really been wanting to read this so I’m sneaking it under this category.

A Hagiography

The Mother of the Little Flower by Celine Martin

A LONG Catholic Book

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

A Book by a Catholic Philosopher

Aquinas’s Shorter Summa by St. Thomas Aquinas

A Catholic Classic

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

Book by a Saint

Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux

A Book by a Non-Catholic that All the Catholics are Reading

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Book about a Catholic Monarch

Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser

A Recently Published Catholic Book

The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture by Haley Stewart (This is the book I’m starting off with!).

Here’s to some mind-nourishing books in 2019!

2019 Word of the Year

I’ve never had a “Word of the Year” before, but I received PowerSheets for my birthday and creating said word is part of the process of preparing for the new year.

And I think it’s a brilliant idea for anyone who wants to grow meaningfully in the new year (and especially for those of us who are easily distracted or tend to veer off course).

Having a word to follow through the year is like Colin O’Brady navigating an Antarctic white-out blizzard with no visibility or sense of direction, but but still being able to find his way to the Amundson-Scott Station with just his compass. No matter how limited your view of the weeks ahead, at least you have a point of reference; you know the direction in which you are traveling.

So for 2019, after a serious PowerSheets discernment process, my Word of the Year is FAMILY.

This is going to be my focus, the “north” on my compass if you will, specifically the FAMILY who live under the same roof as me (hubby and kids). I have a few “subtexts” to my word of the year as well, specifically RELATIONSHIPS (which was almost my Word, until I realized that the relationships I most need to cultivate are with my hubby and kids) and LIFE-GIVING HOME (making our home a haven for our FAMILY).

So cheers to 2019 being a year of joyful, life-giving growth for our FAMILY!

Do you have a Word of the Year? If so, what is it??