I crouched forward, pressing my forehead to the cool bathroom tile, inwardly praising my husband for his recent scrub of the floor. I breathed in and out slowly, willing away the stomach upheaval and silently pleading for some semblance of reprieve.
“Mom?” my five-year-old’s voice floated through the air.
“After you finish throwing up, can you please finish this book?”
“Will you be much longer? You’re taking a long time.”
“I don’t know, bud. Please just be patient.”
“Ok… mom? Mom?”
The motherly sacrifice begins only a few short weeks after we see two lines as our bodies seem to violently betray us, sending us rushing to the restroom without a moment’s notice. There isn’t the luxury of waiting to share our happy news… that is, unless, you have some amazing vacation time built up or you live in a cabin in the woods.
I am currently pregnant with my fourth child and the morning sickness (most egregious misnomer in the history of histories) has been merciless, to say the least. I tend to vacillate between “Excorcist”-inspired vomiting and spontaneous narcolepsy, so the parenting in our home has been shaky at best. My husband walks in from working all day to couches covered with mountains of unfolded laundry, toys strewn across the floor, and a sinkful of dishes, only to realize a little too late that I had sent him a few (or 37) texts, begging him to pick up dinner and can it please, oh, please, include the largest box of french fries ever made?
Surprisingly, the three little people around me have not been gracious in regard to my current condition. During my first pregnancy, my coworkers were quick to encourage me to rest, sit down as much as possible, and take off when needed. But the tiny tyrants to whom I answer these days? They could not care less. They still need to be fed… multiple times a day… wear clean(ish) clothing, and engage in some sort of physical affection. They even have the audacity to ask to visit the ZOO.
Have I mentioned the narcoleptic tendencies?
During these spells of exhaustion, these beloved darlings don’t find it within themselves to make reasonable choices. Instead, they turn into miniature business moguls, seeking to capitalize on each and every opportunity previously unavailable to them. Just the other day, I awoke from my (maybe ten-minute… maybe…) unplanned cat nap to my sons cutting a watermelon on the floor with the biggest knife we own, my daughter spraying a can of La Croix she had opened with her teeth all over the walls (so much stickiness…) and every door in our home flung wide open for all winged insects to enter as they please. Good thing we had already made the floors nice and sticky for them… I never said we were unkind hosts.
(This is the part where I assure you I am still a decent mother and beg you to not call the authorities. All sharp objects have been moved out of reach and I stopped taking the anti-nausea meds that were causing me to pass out. Scout’s honor.)
So, what can I do? Realistically. How do we moms of multiples make it through another pregnancy, a pregnancy we wanted, without our houses burning down or someone accidentally (or not) amputating a younger sibling’s arm? I’m obviously no expert (see earlier paragraphs) but here’s my two cents:
- Don’t think past today. When I start thinking that I could be dealing with this for another ten weeks, I start to get a tiny bit depressed. I just have to make it through today. If that seems too overwhelming, try getting through the next five minutes. YOU CAN DO THIS.
- Prioritize. I have little pockets of five or ten minutes throughout the day where I feel well-enough to stand. So, I had to decide what’s most important for our house to function. For me? It’s a load of laundry followed by dishes and, if the planets align, making dinner. Even if I am only able to unload silverware, it’s progress.
- Utilize help. I know we are all our own version of Wonder Woman and we totally don’t need anyone, ever, but help is awesome. I had two different friends drop off freezer meals for my family in the last couple of weeks and it was incredibly helpful. My family didn’t have to eat fast food (again) and our budget was saved a tiny bit.
Just between us, I know you don’t feel like you can make it another day. I don’t feel like I can. But, somehow, those pioneer women did it. And lots of other mothers in history. So, I know we will survive, as hard as it is. And, if it’s any comfort, just tell yourself even Princess Kate gets intense pregnancy sickness. We are in good company.