Seeing the double lines of a positive pregnancy test in January this year was exciting, and for a few blissful weeks, I felt pregnant, ie, being starving 24/7 and conking out by 8 pm every night, without nausea and strong aversion to all smells.
Those few weeks made me forget just how ick the first trimester really is.
Seriously, I have done this 6 times now, and still, the feeling of constant nausea, headaches, and fatigue of first trimester morning sickness rolling in at around 7 weeks, is just as soul-destroying as the first time.
Although at least the first time I didn’t have other children to care for 24/7.
I have developed some morning sickness remedies to at least help me feel better.
Working hard to maintain some semblance of normalcy for my family is where all my effort was focused, but day after day I felt like I was failing.
6 times now with morning sickness and I have learned that your mindset during this time NEEDS to change.
When I found out I was expecting number six, I did plan to keep going as best I could with my current daily routine, before I was sick.
I didn’t want to stop homeschooling, working out or fall behind my schedule blog posts and youtube videos. I had my winter garden to prepare and a home to keep.
well, once inevitable nausea and fatigue hit at around 6-7 weeks, all my plans fell to the wayside.
I am fairly certain this time around it was the worst case of morning sickness I have ever had.
I could barely eat, the house was kept dark, I had constant headaches and I could have slept the days away, I was sick to my stomach 24/7.
Immediately blogging fell to the wayside, and at first, it was hard, I felt like I couldn’t possibly succeed and reach my goals if I didn’t show up no matter how I was feeling.
Not only was I exhausted all the time, but the thought of looking at my computer screen also made me want to throw up.
Even now, nearing the end of my sickness, and am feeling better but not 100% I am still struggling to stare for any length of time at any screen in general.
I can actually say though that It’s been nice to have a screen detox.
I tried to keep homeschooling, but even the most minimal homeschooling was difficult to achieve, it was on and off, some days I managed to achieve it and some days the kids ate cereal and watched tv, while I lay on the couch.
I trusted that what I was doing “surviving” was enough for now that it wouldn’t affect my family in the long run and that allowing many of my usual items on my to-do list to fall by the wayside was perfectly acceptable.
YOU DON’T OWE YOUR CHILDREN WHAT YOU CAN NOT GIVE
Obviously, within the realms of reason, children need emotional connection, conversation, discipline and all their physical needs met.
I say this because, in today’s society, it is deemed selfish to have too many children not only if you are having more than the conventional 2-3 but also if you have to commit to delivering less as a parent for a time to have another at all.
I have heard many mothers choosing to stop having children because the idea of having to change their current lifestyle is deemed as something that their children should not have to live through.
As though the seasons of accomplishing less, of more rest, less play and perhaps a parent whose time is stretched for a season is somehow going to scar their child/ren for life, that they will never forget the neglect and lack of love shown during the perilous times of childbearing.
I hope you catch the note of sarcasm.
I mean really, ask any adult who grew up in a healthy home if the time their mother was pregnant or nursing a newborn as they were growing up has resulted in fear of abandonment or the shattered memories of neglect that haunt them as they go through life, vowing to never curse their own children with such an affliction as adding another baby.
And yet it seems to be a valid excuse.
So valid that those of us to dare to endure the seasons of morning sickness, the too big to carry the toddler stage and the lack of sleep during newborn nursing, can feel the sting of the comments and looks when others realise you are willingly putting your family through a time where you can’t do it all.
I felt bad …at first.
Now I realise, in this time when I couldn’t live up to the former standard I held, my children have become better.
- More inventive with their playtime since I was in no shape to entertain them.
- They do their chores more efficiently and the younger of my three elder boys (5) has learned new skills since he had to now that I wasn’t around so much to help him with EVERYTHING, something I realise now was holding him back, now he has confidence and can achieve much more himself.
- My elder boys (10-8) were told why I couldn’t do as much as before, why the dinners were cheap and easy and why I was diving into bed every afternoon and as early as possible most nights, they understand why and help me more and do so willingly as they understand that it is for a season. leaning to help others is something we learn and are not born with.
- Better at playing together and alone.
I mean I do feel a little bad for my husband, he works all day and frankly some days when he comes home I look like death warmed up, and the house is in the same state as the previous day (messy) and dinner is nowhere near the usual standard.
But again, it’s not forever.
keep notes on what you see and hear needs to change
you will find, as you spend more time not busy, as life slows down and you are less capable you spend more time listening to children play.
More time possibly relying on children as I do to help with small jobs, and more time listening to them speak to each other.
Watching them do things on their own and learn new skills while doing this, you may notice that some things need to be worked on.
I am hugely looking forward to the next few weeks, as I creep into the 2nd trimester and hopefully the last of the morning sickness and fatigue leaves, and I can get back into my garden which is now an overgrown mess, start working out, and enjoy cooking again.
This time though spent in almost a kind of purgatory has made me look at what needs to change in my lifestyle.
How I can be more efficient.
where I should spend more time with my children and child training.
What I can change in the coming months in preparation for a new baby and the next season where my daily routine will inevitably get dialled down for a while.
I noticed some behaviours that I should train my children out of, sharing is a big one in my younger kids that needs work.
If you do have to slow down, understand that every phase has its pros and cons, and a pro to this phase is the ability to sit and watch and listen to your home a little more often than you may usually.
6 ways you can make your life as functional as possible during morning sickness.
I say functional over better because I don’t know how many posts I have read, youtube videos I have watched on the topic of morning sickness remedies, hoping to find something to alleviate nausea.
Almost always I was disappointed when I tried what they preached, and while I do have some remedies in this post I do not try and convince anyone that they will work, you have to try them for yourself.
Instead, I have learned how to set small goals in my mind, work during my best parts of the day and let the rest go.
1. set small goals, number them from 1 to 5, and rest once you achieve them.
from anything like brushing your teeth and hair, to making a quick breakfast for children, starting a load of washing, unpacking the dishes, planning meals.
Set yourself small tasks nothing huge, and once you have finished them sit and rest, have a snack or sip water and let yourself breathe.
When you are ready, set another 5 and start again, you can do this as many times as you feel capable during the day, some days I did this 5-6 times, other days I did it twice.
On bad days pick only priorities, on better days try and get done a little more, especially if you struggle mentally with an untidy home like I do, I would choose one area to clean well so I could feel good when I was in that space.
2. Plan your meals and snacks.
In my opinion, there is nothing worse than having to think of what to cook when you are sick to your stomach, and for you, the idea of tea and toast is all you could eat and yet you have to cook and smell food.
If you are able, really dial down your meal fanciness.
I love to be in the kitchen, but during morning sickness, I cook super simple meals, eggs on toast with bacon, burgers, cold wraps, tacos, bbq meat and salad, one-pan pasta, and crockpot meals that are super easy to prepare.
I plan to be in the kitchen for the least time possible, and I try and cook any meats outside on the bbq so I don’t have to smell them inside, things like burrito meat, and burgers can be prepared in bigger batches, so I can freeze them and have food ready to go for another day.
On weekends, I have baked beans on toast, leftovers or hotdogs or meat pies.
Definitely not my usual menu, but again everyone in my home can bear it for a time. (the kids love it)
Plan snacks, at least for yourself, during morning sickness I NEED SNACKS not usually something I eat when I am well, but I know that my blood sugar needs to be super level or my nausea will increase dramatically.
Pretzels, salami and a little cheese, eggs, protein smoothies, and pretty much anything I can get my hands on that is protein-rich to balance my blood sugars.
3. Set a time to be out of your home
This can be hard, especially if you have very young children. trust me I know.
It is important to get out both for you and your children, a change of scenery some fresh air and vitamin d, all help to keep up the morale in your home.
If you can, include your husband, go somewhere on the weekend, take the kids to the park.
My way of getting out either with everyone (almost always) or alone, is to set Saturdays, as a day that I can satisfy a food craving I have had all week. We take the kids, grab some food and head to the park or the lake and spend a few hours away from the house.
My kids go stir crazy if we don’t get out, and so I try and leave the house at least 2-3 times per week even if it’s just for a drive to pick up groceries and a quick park play.
4. Cull children’s clothes and toys to reduce the workload
I didn’t do this until I was deep in the throes of morning sickness this time around, but I culled one clothing draw at a time as part of my 5 step goals and culled my kid’s clothes.
The washing was insane, without me there to regulate the clothing changes, There was a huge pile of washing, folding and putting away constantly.
One draw at a time I culled to only a few pairs of each item and put the rest in a basket to be pulled out when I back to my former self. (although I am liking this new system!)
Toys are already fairly minimal in my home, and they get played with within one area. I have my children clean this area at least once a day.
if you have lots of toys in your home that get pulled out and left about, then I suggest you cull most of them, and either put them away for good or keep your children interested by rotating them.
5. Don’t feel responsible for your children’s entertainment
It is a new idea that parents are in the home to entertain and keep the attention of their children, prompting, conversing and answering every single question.
Years ago a mother’s work was harder, she grew her own food, hand washed clothing, baked bread, preserved food, helped with farming or animals, made clothing, and kept the home and prepared meals.
Sure, the children were around her she would have talked to them, and taught them things as she went, but young children took part in more chores than our children ever have to do now, play was something a child earned, and when they did, they did so without nagging entertainment from their mother because they were bored.
She wasn’t wasting her precious time to make sure they were entertained.
I think today’s parenting is overkill, we keep our kids from too much work if any at all, and most of all, we feel it our duty to fill their time if they complain of boredom.
We have more devices and so many toys filling homes these days, and yet the kids still cant find something to do.
conquering boredom is a skill learned.
I don’t subscribe to this type of parenting.
I don’t think it helps the child/ren, nor does sheltering them from work or responsibility even at a young age.
I am grateful my workload is not as great as women’s were in those days.
The thought of women experiencing morning sickness and having to milk cows and bake bread and wash by hand made me thankful to God I could rely on grocery pickups and ready-made carbs, but it gives me perspective, I can do this, women have done it before me with much harder lives and so have their children.
children have a huge capability for learning, learning from books, as well as learning from creating things outside, helping around the home and from playing together and individually and even falling off something.
I have never subscribed to the notion that I am solely in charge of my children’s entertainment.
Learning to imagine, play and set themselves things to do is a normal and good skill for children to learn.
If my children come to me, complaining of boredom, I offer them a job to do, like clean the toilet, or sweep the floor.
Very quickly they find something to do.
If you don’t already have a routine in your home, then I suggest creating one to help you and your children set times for play and times for chores, times for rest and meals, and in this way you can keep a routine that everyone can work through.
You can read these posts to help you.
6. Praise your helpers.
Whether it be your children or your husband or both, be sure to praise, and encourage, I believe everyone can and should chip in when times are tough, but no one likes to be put out and help someones who isn’t grateful.
I don’t prescribe to the idea that my man should have to take on housework, at least not more than he is willing to take on without being asked.
Social media is filled with women who mock husbands for having the nerve to complain after a day of work who then come home and look after children, or help with the cooking and dishes, or that they should have to take the children away when they walk through the door to allow the mother to breathe.
I don’t believe my husband owes me this.
He does help me, during the worst of my sickness, he let me sleep in on the weekends, and while it wasn’t great for both of us to experience morning sickness and the drop in our living standard, I could have complained that he didn’t clean or cook to my standard, when he did try, or that he dared complain in the times when he did.
Instead, I choose to focus on what he does, that he let’s me sleep, feed’s the children, and kept the home as best he could while I was on the couch.
When I serve up bland meals chosen to be on the menu that week for their lack of strong smell, he doesn’t complain, he steps over the constant mess, helps me put the children to bed when I am too tired and sick to do so at the end of the day, and finds his work clothes in the unfolded piles of laundry to start a big day at work.
Sure sometimes there are many things I wish he would do, but I don’t let myself dwell on what he doesn’t, rather I thank him for what he does.
- For my children, I like to reward them with a rented movie or extra pocket money or a sweet treat something to let them know they are appreciated.
Morning sickness remedies
Now I wasn’t going to include remedies.
Then I remembered how desperate you can get if you have nothing in your arsenal to combat morning sickness.
These remedies are not pulled from endless googling, but from my own experience and from some research I have done in the past on the causes of morning sickness.
I think it is important to take note of your current lifestyle.
How much sleep you get, what you eat and how much you move, all these things can affect how you feel throughout your pregnancy.
If you aren’t in control of what you eat, like avoiding excess sugars, trying to limit complex carbs, seed oils and nasty additives, now is the time to start.
You will feel wretched if your diet is filled with the above, Your nausea will be out of control, You will feel more tired and generally just worse off.
switch out high carb snacks for healthier alternatives.
only use olive or coconut oils for cooking, or butter.
Get yourself some good quality protein, and a good protein powder to make smoothies.
You have to take time to plan your diet, (step 2)
This is crucial, you may tell yourself, your too sick, or you dont have time, but trust me, you have to remain in control or your going to make this a lot harder than it has to be.
The cause of morning sickness.
When you google this you will see a whole lot of information, the real answer is, no-one really knows the entirety of what causes morning sickness.
With my third child, I did a lot of research before I was pregnant to try and help me through the dreaded morning sickness phase.
I found out through research and through living it now six times over that there seems to be more than one cause.
Hormones, blood sugars, and your gut are all to blame for the tumultuous first trimester.
Obviously, hormones change when you are pregnant.
The first trimester can be brutal as it is this stage where they are strongest as the placenta hasn’t formed yet to take over the sustaining of your little one so it’s all down to you, leaving you tired, moody and for most of sick to our stomach.
This rise in hormones is the culprit.
During pregnancy, hormones like estrogen and progesterone increase, bringing about many physical changes. These increases can also change the gut microbiome, which likely affects the digestive system functions and causes unwanted symptoms like nausea, vomiting and constipation.
Nausea is caused by hormones but is not hormones directly.
You can take supplements and use your diet to manage this growth in bacteria, and hopefully help yourself feel better.
MANAGE YOUR MICROBIOME
- Pink stork is a pregnancy supplement system you can take specifically for morning sickness, I have not linked it, as unfortunately you cannot get it here in Australia, why I have no idea, I was able to get it once for my third pregnancy 5 years ago, and it worked well to combat constant nausea. If you are lucky enough to live in a country where you can get then I would definitely give it a try.
- Colloidal silver is another supplement you can take that kills the excess bacteria in your stomach, you take 2-4 tablespoons in water before every meal or when you feel nauseous, the con with this that I found is that it does a great job at killing the bacteria and for my 4th and 5th pregnancies I felt pretty good throughout the 1st trimester but it kills all bacteria and you start to feel digestion slow I LEARNED THAT YOU MUST INCLUDE FERMENTED FOODS TO CREATE AND REPLACE HEALTHY GUT BACTERIA WHILE YOU ARE TAKING COLLOIDAL SILVER. things like kombucha, sourdough, sourdough discard foods, fermented vegetables.
- Diet. the bacteria that grows in your stomach will multiply in minutes if you eat excess dairy or sugar. I love me some dairy, but I had to really cut back, which was easy to do since I have a sensitive stomach in general, especially during the early days of pregnancy, but there were times when I would eat a cream sauce pasta or a toasted cheese sandwich and paid for it dearly in the following hours. I don’t eat much sugar anyway, so the sugar part was easy but if you are having a sugary craving, probably try and find a sugar free alternative. (healthy sugar-free, don’t feed your gut bacteria or your baby nasty chemicals!)
- Salt in your water. something that made me feel better, was constantly sipping on water, and even better was adding a pinch of salt to my water bottle. It wasn’t a miracle fix by any means but it worked to settle my stomach enough to get in the kitchen or do some simple chores.
- Apple cider vinegar, apple cider vinegar is known to balance blood sugars, and up and down blood sugars is another cause of the rise in nausea, sipping on this mixed with ice water was a refreshing pick me up that I knew was helping me stabilise my sugars, it worked wonders at the end of the day when I was feeling tired and more nauseous. Mix 2 tablespoons with a cup of water. to make it more refreshing, I added it to soda water.
Tips to help you feel better during the day- diet
Blood sugars Microbiome and diet
- Sip on very lightly salted water ( small pinch per cup of water)
- Include apple cider vinegar, mixed as lightly or as strong as you can stand it.
- Try and start the day with protein and have protein with every meal and snack. when I was at the peak of my morning sickness I would start the day with some toast and black tea, then when I was feeling a little better an hour or so later, I would eat an egg, or avo toast with cottage cheese, or a protein smoothie, this would start a day of more controlled blood sugars, so I wasn’t a slave to simple carbs for the whole day which create the high rise and quick fall in blood sugars and surges in nausea.
- Rest, sleep is another thing that can dictate how you feel, if you don’t get enough you will feel pretty wretched the next day, try and nap in the afternoons, and get to bed early at night, don’t bring your phone to bed as it messes with your sleep and during this time you will really feel it.
- Mind your cravings. Craving can often mean we need a nutrient click here to read about what your body is telling you about your cravings. I find drinking salted water, eating regularly and varying my food choices really kept my cravings in control, pregnancy cravings can drive you mad, I usually love a homecooked meal, but when I’m pregnant I fight off the urge to shove every kind of junk food in my face. My system for managing cravings throughout my pregnancies is to indulge in a particular craving on Saturdays. It can be a burger and chips, pizza, a meat pie or something homecooked but not entirely healthy, this way I get to enjoy something I want while taking control of my diet overall to monitor how I feel in the long run and control weight gain.
- Grapes. Now I wasn’t going to add this as I have no idea why they worked, but grapes are in season at the moment and so I bought a few bags and ended up snacking on them when I felt sick, and they made me feel so good! I could get up and cook and clean. I know grape juice is great for stomach upset, and I use it when my kids come down with a stomach bug, I can only assume that grapes have some kind of nutrient or chemical that eases the bacteria buildup during morning sickness. Since I have learned this trick grapes have been within snacking distance at all times.
- Snack! I am not a snacker, I prefer to eat larger meals less often, I just get busy and this suits me. But this is impossible to do for me when I have to keep my blood sugars in control, pretzels, grapes, sliced ham and pickles, olives, crackers, apple slices and peanut butter all were added to my shopping list to help combat nausea that arrived at any time of day. I stayed clear of sugars and dairy.
- Supplements Things like a complete vitamin B supplement, magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron and collagen for a healthy gut lining can all help with morning sickness and are safe and very beneficial to take during your entire pregnancy.