Ask for help. Accept help. Do not attempt to do this alone unless it is your only option. Even if you have a smooth pregnancy low on pregnancy symptoms and illnesses you will be exhausted. My family would drive me around to wherever I needed to be. Granted I had hyperemesis and severe pelvic pain but still they were there to make things are easy as possible for me.
Legally employers are supposed to make reasonable accommodations for employees. The level of accommodation will vary based on your specific company, but see what systems are in place to make sure you’re not suffering undue hardship. This could be shifting your work hours or changing your duties. Also review pregnancy rights for your state and federally. There are certain provisions set around safety and even breastfeeding. Know your rights and hold them to it.
Using days off wisely
I like to be preventative so I tend to take a day off before I’m at my worst thus preventing me from even getting there. Prior to becoming pregnant and in the beginning of my pregnancy I worked a lot of overtime. I relied heavily on my accrued comp time to tide me over when I was low on sick time. I wasn’t able to be preventative but I tried very hard to go to work even if it meat doing a half day.
If you decide to return to work the days off as chronically ill parent will require some more managing of the days off. You will need to keep days in the bank for baby’s sick days. Roberto and I take turns taking baby sick days. More of them fall on him because I don’t have many days accrued.
This is twofold. I adjusted my actual work schedule and also my personal life schedule. With the hyperemesis I would feel so poorly in the morning and it took me forever to get ready. If I didn’t eat as soon as I woke up my symptoms were noticeably worse. I am fortunate to have flex time at work where I could arrive anytime between 8am-10am. I usually arrived around 9am. During pregnancy I would arrive around 10am. I started taking a shower at night so in the morning i could just get brush my teeth and eat then get ready and go.
Even if you have few pregnancy symptoms and are fortunate for pregnancy to decrease your chronic pain flare ups- you are still pregnant and it is rough on the body for all women. That is the reality. Do not set lofty goals for yourself that will only make you feel bad and add unnecessary stress to your day. Give yourself ample time to gather supplies for the baby. Start off any exercise plans nice and slow. Give yourself extra time to get to places. Do not take on too many projects- personally or professionally. Only focus on staying well and keeping things low stress.
This is key. Accept that your body is on a new journey and changes – many unpleasant- are happening to you. And you will mostly become aware of a change as it is happening. Accept you can do even less than before. Accept that others might not be able to accept these changes. Repeat to yourself – this too shall pass. Accept that this is a difficult process. Accept it all and do not judge yourself or worry about who is judging you. Accept that this process of growing a tiny human will forever change you. Accept yourself and your ever-changing reality. Inhale and acknowledge it – exhale and accept it.