Note: I’ve been working on this post for some time- in fact, my baby is now nearly 6 weeks old. But in order to survive pregnancy as a teacher, I had to let some things go (this post being one of them).
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1. Schedule bathroom breaks- If at all possible, reach out for help- ask someone, anyone, if they can pop into your room for 3 minutes each day at some point to give you a break fort he bathroom. And whether or not you feel like you have to go (at the end you will always, perpetually have to go) you go. I was so lucky that there are some paraprofessionals/ IAs that could come in to give me a quick break. I also had some push in support for my students, so my biggest challenge was the long waddle down the hallway to go to the bathroom 5 times a day.
2. Make Lists- After weeks and weeks of back and forth across my classroom, down the hallways to the copier I decided to get organized. This is especially important with the infamous “pregnancy brain”. How many times did I finish getting my math lessons copied and prepped, only to realize that I needed to head back to the copier to get materials for the next day’s writing lesson? I made three lists- Prep, Make, Copy. That way I could multitask my visit to the copier with going to the book room as well. It will definitely help save those swollen feet and sore hips!
3. Establish routines that support independence– This is one of those things that is a good idea to do- pregnant or not. I kept in mind my growing bump before it got too big. We spent lots of time practicing transition routines and how to distribute papers. We practiced clean up “over and under” the tables. These little lessons proved so valuable when it was hard for me to get around. I didn’t have to start nagging students to pick up the crayons under the tables because it had become routine.
4.Get a yoga ball chair! I got one early in the year and it was my best friend! I got one with a back so I could stabilize myself. it also had wheels, so in those last painful weeks, I could wheel myself between the student tables.
This is the one I got and LOVED!
5. Say YES to help! and NO to more work-This is a two part one- and this one was tough for me. I don’t like to accept help, I typically just like to get things done. I learned quickly that its ok to accept help. Let your team member drop your kiddos off at special, or grab something from your mailbox when they offer.
About the second part- you don’t have to say no in a lazy, self pityijng way. Opportunities to take on new things- new committees, new initiatives- just seem to throw themselves at teachers. I was on a committee I loved, but knew that the amount of time I’d need to spend out of the classroom, and the timing of my maternity leave would not be ideal, so as difficult as it was, I bowed out. It’s ok to say you have enough on your plate!
6. Enjoy a little caffeine- I definitely enjoyed caffeine in the form of a morning and afternoon coffee (with the OK of my doctor of course). It literally helped me to survive, especially in the afternoons when I was in a state of exhaustion I’ve never felt before. So despite the judgmental glares you may receive, drink that coffee and enjoy every sip.