I am not about to tell you all about being a superwoman because I do understand what you may be going through. With severe anaemia the entire nine months of my first pregnancy, an episode with high blood pressure and preterm labour at 26weeks, the devil threw everything at me that first time. I should also tell you that I did not have the baby until 38 weeks, and I went to work until the last day.
Ask me how I did that? I think it was two things; one, I stayed very thankful the entire time, and I was very positive. We didn’t have a car then, we lived in Ojodu-Berger Lagos and I worked in Apapa and it was quite difficult, but it was never became an issue for me. I believed I could do everything.
I did not give myself any limits – of course within reasonable boundaries. My work involved frequent travel and I flew a number of times. I did not accept everything the doctors told me. I stayed very informed though. I never missed clinic, I asked all the relevant questions, I researched on my own, I used my routine drugs faithfully and tried to eat healthy as much as I could, but I also never accepted anything in my heart that made me fearful.
I kept a journal. I documented how I had to take two to three buses every-day, crossed busy roads and never had an accident, never had one fall. I think looking at the good things kept me strong. I appreciated all the ‘little things’ and those ‘little things’ made me know that God would be there for me till the very end.
‘Coping’ Tips: there are ways to curb your symptoms so they don’t interfere too much with your job performance. You don’t want people thinking you are using pregnancy as an excuse to slack at work. But don’t feel guilty about needing to take more frequent breaks or sit down more often; just do whatever needs to be done to keep going. Plan the bulk of your workload around when you usually feel your best.For most women, this may be afternoon. But for me, I think I felt better in the mornings.
The best thing to do if you are having morning sickness is to constantly snack on something. Find what works best for you. You could try dry and bland stuff like crackers and nuts. Small healthy snacks throughout the day can keep your blood sugar steady and curb nausea. Keeping an empty stomach only worsens the nausea. Sit by the door when you’re in meetings so if you have to leave abruptly (due to nausea or bladder issues), it’s not so conspicuous.
The biggest challenge will probably be fighting fatigue. A brisk walk at lunchtime can do wonders, says Nancy W. Hall, PhD, author of Balancing Pregnancy and Work. And something as simple as chewing mint-flavored gum is instantly refreshing. Try getting to bed a little earlier too.
Strenuous Work? Take breaks as often as you can. If you have to stand for long periods, put one foot on a footrest or small box. Alternate your resting foot throughout the day. It would be best if you could switch to a type of work that is less physically taxing during your pregnancy. For example, you might change tasks with a co-worker so that you do the desk work while she does the work that requires more walking and standing.
If this isn’t possible in your workplace, try to take an occasional sick day to relieve fatigue and reduce the number of hours you work or the time you spend on your feet, especially toward the end of the second trimester and during the third. Many women try to save up sick and vacation days to use for maternity leave, but you need to balance that against the needs of your body.
Remind yourself and your husband that you may need to take a day off from time to time in order to ensure a healthy delivery and baby, and that’s important, too.
Stay Graceful: You may look ‘interesting’ even to yourself, but beauty and grace are actually more from within. I understand all kinds of hormones are at work at pregnancy, but you mustn’t abandon yourself to selfish, irrational impulses. Don’t be a nuisance.
It is very important not to make people feel that by letting you continue to work, that this is a hardship being visited on you, or that your tiredness is the fault of the job. If you are experiencing a really rough pregnancy, give thought as to whether it is worth remaining at work at all. Your health and your baby’s, are the most important things of all.
Whether you are working in the home or outside the home, those nine months take a great deal of courage. The important thing is that you do not entertain fear, and that you go through each day believing that it is going to be your best yet! This is the way we go through, as winners that we are!