My first born was a little tough, I had not been diagnosed yet so a lot of the pain and fatigue I had was partly due to not knowing my illness, and partly due to my thinking everything was just pregnancy related. It wasn't hard to assume that my symptoms were just the pregnancy because many of them overlapped.
I had lower back pain, fatigue, bloating, chemical and food sensitivities, and muscles that didn't work as well. All of these symptoms, including muscle weakness, or being a clutz when I sprang my ankle during my first trimester, could all be explained away as normal pregnancy symptoms.
When Scott and I wanted a second child, I was already diagnosed and knew what to look for. I had similar symptoms with my fatigue, clutziness-- yup, sprang the other ankle with my second, and lower back pain. But the fatigue was considerably different with my second, and not so much for the worse, just different. I grew tired during the middle of the day with my second. With my first, I wanted to go to bed by 7 pm.
With each pregnancy I tried to find ways to cope with my symptoms via healthy foods. Eating protein and iron enriched foods helped with my mid-day fatigue, and believe it or not, eating fatty foods helped to increase my energy throughout the day with my first pregnancy. You all know that I'm a firm believer in the statement, "You are what you eat." That statement has been a mantra of mine for what seems like a lifetime.
But, that doesn't mean that I eat healthy 100 percent of the time. In fact, I made plenty of wrong food choices while pregnant, just as many moms before me (and even after me) may have. Yes, I will admit that I ate frozen pizzas twice a week with A LOT of extra grated cheese, as well as, a weekly Egg McMuffin with my first pregnancy. I ate Thai and Indian food with my second bi-weekly, along with an occasional medium rare burger. Sadly, I ate "worse" while pregnant than I do on a normal basis. Yup! Guilty as charged!
You might all be wondering, "Geeze! Where's this blog post going! I'm trying to be the best Mom possible with my pregnancy and SHE'S supposed to be this fabulous girl and all. UGH!!" Okay, before you chastise me-- hear me out with the mantra, "You are what you eat."
It's true that if you put junk in daily, you will get junk out. But, none of us are perfect and none of us should deny ourselves the things we like continuously for forever and a day. We, especially moms, need to learn how to cut ourselves some slack, and gosh darn it, we need to learn how to relax, especially before the baby comes. If that means having an occasional Big Mac, then do it!
Finding ways to relieve your stress, whether that be sipping a favorite cup of tea, having a double cheeseburger, or practicing yoga, is up to you. Find your niche, the thing that makes you, you. Find that indulgence and do it as often as you can before the baby and make sure you find time to do it after too!
All of these things will help you to stay as flare free as possible because it will reduce your stress of being a new, or not so new mom. Many moms go through stress, even after they have one kid under their belt. Having a second is twice as hard when both need you at the same time, three is thrice, and after that, I bless you all because I have NO idea how you deal with it on a daily basis. It honestly must be hard.
Maintaining my stress day-to-day is what really helps me to be as flare free as possible. This can't happen every day of course. You'll have those days when you wish you could replace the teenage years of bullies and boyfriends with sleepless baby nights, but again, find your moments to indulge. It will all help in the long run because if your baby sees a woman dealing with life's pain positively, they will grow up with the same beliefs.
Love and friendship,