Having gone through 9 months of this now I thought this would be a great topic to speak about seeing as I now have lived experience!
Babies change everything! Not just your day to day, but your friendships, relationships and priorities. Throw in being chronically ill, and navigating health struggles, specialist appointments, surgeries and hospital admissions - boy what a journey.
Since I've (only just) survived the first 9 months, here 9 tips from me to you on parenting with a chronic illness!
1. Remove all expectations
Seriously, have none. No expectations across, plans, friends, family or your day. Bringing a child into the world creates uncertainty about day to day plans, they change like clock work! Don't expect people to help, if they do, then FANTASTIC! take all you can get, but don't have the expectation that people will want to help.
2. Don't miss out on your self-care
Make time for yourself! This doesn't necessarily have to be alone, without your baby. if you want it to be, great but don't feel like it has to be. It can be a walk, a bath, or doing something you love doing. I found a local gym that lets me bring my little one in the pram while I weight train, I time it around his naps and it means I don't need to miss out!
3. Don't feel pressure to make big plans and outings
Cool, you want to make memories with your kids, but that doesn't mean it has to be at your expense. Walking around the zoo for a day is too hard? Go to the open range zoo instead, or better yet spend some time outdoors playing on the grass, or sand at the beach.
4. Meal prep and prepare
And I don't mean plan all your meals for the week and cook them all in one day. no no no. I mean, as in yeah a bag of carrots is $1.50 and the already chopped and grated bag of carrot is more expensive BUT it's prepared, and I am saving my spoons already before I even have to do the cooking. I find having things I can grab and go are amazing for my sanity, time and spoons.
5. Keep using your Mental Health support
This is the time more than ever I've needed to really focus on therapy. With the number of changes in your life that you endure with welcoming a baby, it gets incredibly overwhelming. It's a whole new identity that you need to learn for yourself. Trying to uncover and peel back the layers alone can be difficult.
6. Be kind to yourself
You're doing the best you can. Each day was different before, and each day is different now. Remember to do affirmations, do the things you love doing, and reward. yourself for all the things you're doing. No one chooses to be sick, remember you are not lazy because you need to rest, you are not useless because you can't do that task today, you are doing amazing!
7. Keep on top of your medication
I slacked off at some points in time and was a lot worse for it. By keeping up to date with your medication you're going to be your best self for you and your family! Remember never feel guilty for managing your pain how you need to!
8. Keep your village close
The people that want to be around, will be around. Keep them close. Let them assist you when they offer. Get involved in your local Mother's club, or group! There's an incredible app called Peanut that I like to explain as a dating app for mums. Not actually dating, but friend dating! I've met some of my closest mum friends on here, and don't know where I would be without them.
9. Open the curtains & windows
The days you want to curl up in bed, or not leave the house. LET THE LIGHT IN! or try and step out for 10 mins and get some sunlight and fresh air. Very quickly I found myself sitting in the dark and my mind going to the same place I was surrounded in, darkness. Learn from my mistakes! Get that Vitamin D!
Hopefully, these little tips help you in your journey of parenting with a chronic illness. If you find yourself having a hard time, remember there are plenty of resources there for support! Listed below are a few of them.