Are you pregnant with your second or third child and already have one or two in school? If so, this guide will help.
Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be a challenging one—particularly when you have other children. Last year was my son’s first year of nursery school, and the start of the new school year coincided with the second trimester of my twin pregnancy.
Having had a rather wicked first trimester, I was relieved to feel somewhat human again by the time school started. Still, navigating the school year and my pregnancy posed some challenges. If you too are expecting this school year, you may find yourself wondering how best to tackle it all. Here are some helpful tips I learned along the way.
On its own, the first trimester can be difficult. Throw a busy school year into the mix, and life can be downright painful.
If you experience severe fatigue, nausea, and vomiting during your first trimester, you may need to call in the reinforcements. Your normal partner in parenting—your spouse or other support person—is the obvious go-to here, but if their work schedule prevents them from being able to assist during school hours, or if you need even more help than the two of you can handle alone, you’ll need to get creative.
Consider asking a grandparent, relative, friend, or another parent from school to help with school pickup and drop-off. If you are holding off on sharing your pregnancy news until the second trimester, consider your options. You can either disclose your news in confidence to the person whose help you seek, or, fib a little.
Yes, honesty is usually the best policy, but if you truly are not ready to reveal your pregnancy news, a cover story may be the way to go.
Your partner may also be the person you need to go school supply shopping, attend orientation, and stay on top of homework.
Though not always, the second trimester usually relieves many of those icky first trimester symptoms. This will likely be the easiest of the three trimesters and the one during which you need the least help.
If you have not already shared your pregnancy news with school friends and your child’s teacher, now is probably the best time to do so—particularly if you see them frequently.
Think ahead a little, too, and start planning your post-birth game plan. If your older children are in preschool or daycare, you’ll have a choice regarding whether you continue sending them to school in the weeks after your new baby arrives.
You’ll likely assess the pros and cons of continuing the normal routine. You’ll weigh the benefits of bonding together as a new family versus providing consistency and continuity to your older child during a time of transition.
There are no right answers, and in the end, you will need to make the choice that is right for your family.
In any event, you’ll need to once again think about what your support system will look like.
In the final stretch of pregnancy, you’ll have a lot on your mind. You’ll be attending more frequent doctor’s appointments, finalizing last-minute details to your home and nursery, and soaking up all those precious lasts with your older child(ren).
Depending on the time of year you’ll be delivering, school events may be ramping up as well. Be sure that your support system is in place and ready to jump in at a moment’s notice should you deliver sooner than expected.
Ensure your older children are clued into the impending changes provided they are old enough to understand, and enjoy your time together before your new baby arrives.
Your new baby arrives and it’s time for the big event. This is what you’ve been training for.
Regardless of whether you chose to send your toddler or preschool aged child to school during the early postpartum phase, your family will face an adjustment period during this time.
When my twins were born in early March, our oldest child stayed with his grandparents during the time we were in the hospital. While he was there, he missed a couple days of school.
However, it didn’t take long to get back into a groove. We arrived home from the hospital on a Friday and by Monday, he was back in school two mornings a week.
It helped that my husband was home and could drive him as I was recovering from a C-section and could not. The consistency of the school routine was beneficial for our son, and it was also nice to have those quiet moments on Monday and Wednesday mornings with the twins even if those mornings were preceded by school morning chaos.
Later, when my husband went back to work, my mom became my helper on school mornings by staying home with the twins while I did pickup and drop-off at school. That was the routine that worked for us, but yours might look a little different.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations—you’ve successfully navigated your pregnancy during the school year, and now you get to take on the biggest challenge of all: life as a new family.
What advice do you have for an expectant mom navigating the school year?