The last five months can basically be summed up by this picture of my sweet puppy dog.
|Note: that brother is human.|
|Do you find this as awkward/cruel/hilarious as I do or am I just judgy and sleep-deprived?|
I did a lot of digging around the internet trying to find resources for pregnant teachers and *surprise surprise* there are very few. I just wanted someone who's been there during a time when I wasn't telling anyone about the atrocities happening to my body. (I didn't even tell my own mother until I was 11 weeks pregnant.) So, for those of you who are "in the family way" (or plan to be someday), allow me to share with you some tips for dealing with your first trimester while you're also dealing with the fourth quarter (or any quarter, really) of the school year.
Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor or anything remotely close to that. This is my first pregnancy and these are just the things that worked for me and my specific hot mess. Results may vary.
Tip #1: Figure out a way to stay hydrated.
My school's tap water tastes like shit. It made me gag before I was pregnant, so needless to say that sewagey tepid tap water would trigger a round of the pukes faster than chewing tobacco and the Trabant.
The only things that would make me sicker than the taste of that water were tuna fish and being dehydrated. My crazy body was like, "Woah, I'm low on fluids! We should probably do something about that. Let's try puking!" Seriously, you'll feel like crap if you are dehydrated. I ended up bringing my own water from home in a giant insulated cup and it had to be ICE COLD. That was the only way to keep it down. It was a pain, but it worked.
Tip #2: Don't eat "lunch"; eat snacks all day long.
This can be really tricky for a teacher. All the preggers books suggest that you graze all day like a herd out to pasture, but the reactions by your school administrators to eating in front of your students can range from a stern frown to a total "Hulk Smash" moment. Do your best to eat throughout the day, all day. When I sat down for a meal, it kind of went like this:
Tip #3: Rest whenever humanly possible.
Close your eyes during your prep period for a few minutes. Teach from a chair that allows you to roll around the room so you don't have to walk as much. Simplify wherever you can in your lessons without reducing quality. This is a good time to practice saying "no" to all of those extra hours you spend in the building. If you feel at your very best in the morning, try to make it in just a bit early and do all prep work when you feel well. If afternoons work better for you, try to squeeze everything in during that time. Trust me on this: you are going to be flat exhausted at the end of a school day. I still kept up theatre practices, but I had to shorten them substantially and I had to cancel some of the extra ones. My husband's memories of my first trimester basically consist of "she went to work, she came home, she slept." When I wasn't teaching, I was crashed out on the couch. If you are anything like me, you will feel as guilty as a hooker in church when you have to cut back on your obligations and do a lot more sleeping. I just had to keep reminding myself that I was making a human. It's hard work making a human!
Find helpers however you can. I'm so fortunate to work in a building where students can sign up to be TAs (teacher's assistants). I'm even more fortunate to always have really awesome kids sign up to be my TAs. Those kids busted their butts last spring for me, and I was SO grateful to have them! I had them do all kinds of things that I just frankly didn't have the energy or the will to do. Assign any of your tedious or simple tasks to any helpers you have and repay them in cookies and funny stories about your life (that aren't TMI).
I finally felt comfortable telling my news when I hit the twelve week mark and life got a whole hell of a lot easier once I told! I told my principal first, then my teacher buddies in the building, then my drama club kids (who I see more than my own family and who were greatly affected by my pregnancy... they actually were terribly worried something was wrong with me!) and then I let the rest of the school find out organically. Once I told everyone what was up, life got better. My students are seriously amazing, guys. They were wonderful! They jumped up to help me any chance they got, they were better behaved
Teacher-mommies and teacher-daddies, anybody have any other tips about dealing with first trimester fun and teaching?