Alex Vance pregnancy and ultrasound

During My Pregnancy, Self-Care Meant Embracing the Little Moments

All I could think during my second pregnancy was, "Remember when 'me time' was a thing?" It was so bittersweet to think about. On one hand, my pre-pregnant self was able to just leave the house whenever I wanted—no hunting for a babysitter or planning outings around a totally inconsistent nap schedule. On the other hand, I wouldn't have had an adorable little human that melted my heart every time she flashed that sweet, giddy smile. (Which was usually covered in whatever she ate for lunch, but I digress.)

Parenting certainly came with some sacrifices, but bringing a piece of myself into the world definitely made them worth it. Maybe I didn't make it to girls' night as much as I wanted to anymore, or my idea of alone time was hiding in the closet for five minutes of solitude. But, that comes with the mommy territory! Gone were the days of making plans on a whim or sleeping in until noon.

When I had a second baby on the way, it seemed like "me time" had gone from elusive to non-existent. Dealing with pregnancy aches and pains while wrangling a real-life energizer bunny took a toll, and I knew I needed to do something to restore some sanity. I realized that self-care wouldn't look the same as it used to, but if there was one thing I learned about being pregnant with a toddler, it was that "go with the flow" needed to be my full-on mantra—and I wasn't just talking about how many times a day I had to pee.

The smallest gestures packed the biggest punch, especially when I didn't have the energy to think straight.

During my second pregnancy, it was the little things that made a significant impact: My husband getting the bed ready for me every night, a stranger giving up their seat in a packed restaurant waiting area, or a good friend doing the dishes while I laid on the couch. The smallest gestures packed the biggest punch, especially when I didn't have the energy to think straight.

That was the mindset I had when it came to "me time" and self-care. I was going to try and do something for myself as often as possible, no matter how small it was. If my toddler was sleeping and I had to choose between laundry and a nap, I chose the nap. When my self-esteem needed a little pick-me-up, I bought a cute maternity top or got my hair done. If I had a craving for Peanut Butter M&Ms (the sharing size, not that measly individual bag) I shamelessly ate all of them.

Pregnancy is all about the big moments, but my self-care was all about the little ones.

Much like all of the lifestyle changes during pregnancy, my self-care plan changed, too. I embodied the mantra—go with the flow—and did whatever it took to feel like myself again. Pregnancy is all about the big moments, but my self-care was all about the little ones.

Whenever I had a few minutes to myself, I tried something new. I listened to a guided meditation before bed, read a book on my front porch, cuddled with my cat, or stuck my earbuds in and got lost in some music. On the rare occasions when I was able to get out of the house alone, I grabbed brunch, got a manicure, or went grocery shopping—which is an absolute treat when you get to do it solo.

Of course, there were times when I felt like nothing could get me out of a hormonally-charged slump. As any parent knows, pregnancy is the catalyst for some extreme, often unexpected mood swings, and they're not always pleasant. I called my friends and family, talked to my doctor, vented to my husband, and did my best to stay positive for my daughter. I knew that taking care of her was a top priority, but so was taking care of myself!

Thankfully, no matter how far along I was in my second pregnancy, that elusive mommy "me time" was not too far out of reach. I learned to appreciate the little moments, prioritize my mental health, and remember to breathe when my body tried to forget. No matter how tough things got, I took a little time to do something for myself.

I learned to appreciate the little moments, prioritize my mental health, and remember to breathe when my body tried to forget.

As much as I felt the need to put my needs on hold during pregnancy, my body wouldn't allow it. My mind was sounding the alarm and my aches and pains were throwing up roadblocks. All of the noise was too loud to ignore! Listening to my body was a crucial part of my self-care. I may have tried to be a super mom, but I certainly didn't have superpowers. When a break called, I answered—and I'm so glad I did. Those "me time" moments may have been small, but their impact was immeasurable.

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1 Source
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  1. Kumar P, Magon N. Hormones in pregnancyNiger Med J. 2012;53(4):179-183. doi:10.4103/0300-1652.107549

By Alex Vance
Alex Vance is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from pregnancy and parenting to health and wellness. She is a former news and features writer for Moms.com and Blog Writer for The HOTH. Her motherhood-related pieces have been published on Scary Mommy, Motherhood Understood, and Thought Catalog.