If you already have children, then your family time at this stage will likely be the same as usual. It may vary slightly in the 1st & 3rd trimesters when you are more tired than usual, or, of course, if you are on bedrest at any time during your pregnancy. Generally speaking however, a pregnant mom’s time when she already has kids is just as busy as always, sometimes busier since you need to salt & pepper Doctor & Ultrasound appointments in around your kids’ schedules & pray to get back in time to pick them up on snowstorm days.
As a family, you may choose to do some more “sedentary: things in favour of Mom getting a chance to rest, or better yet, maybe Dad or Grandman can take the kids out to the park, so that you can get some well-deserved & needed quiet time.
If this will be your first child, “as a family” means something completely different to you. It means with your husband & both of parents, siblings, etc. This is different. You may be the center of attention, people may be doting on you, telling you to go lie down & rest, even when you don’t feel the need to. When pregnant with my first, This used to annoy me. I would say” I’m pregnant, not an invalid”. One family dinner, my husband’s aunt said to me: Enjoy it while it lasts- no one will ever treat you this way again, even when your pregnant again!” At the time, I was thinking “Good, because, thank G-d I have my own arms & legs & am functioning just fine…” In the meantime, I have to admit- she was right. Not that I could ever see myself just lying down & “enjoying it” …if you are- then do it & enjoy!
With older siblings
If you have an older child, or older children, this is a good time to prepare them for what’s to come. Keep in mind, though that you need not “over-prepare” them. Explain that a baby is coming. That they will have a new brother or sister and that they will be the big brother or big sister. Be truthful. Explain that the baby will cry & will take up a lot of time with Mommy & Daddy but make sure to let them know that Mommy & Daddy will do their best to make time for the bigger child(ren) as well.
Before going to the hospital, buy each older sibling a gift from the baby, to give to that child when they meet the baby for the first time. Remember- they see everyone bringing gifts for the baby but not to them- thismakes them feel special, too.
Opinions on this may differ, but I strongly believe that it is important NOT to convert your child’s identity from who she is to “Big Sister”. While the older sister is one of the roles she will now play in her life, it is just that, it is not the entirety of who she is & she will not likely want to be defined that way. She is still “Abby”, who loves the colour orange, playing with stackable cups & eating bananas, and oh, yeah, she’s also a big sister.
You will certainly be making plans for the care of your child(ren) while you are in the hospital to deliver your baby. If you have only one child, you may consider whoever is caring for your child getting together for a playdate with another child or other children so that your child does not go from the “hot tub” of being the center of the universe in your home, to even more of the same at Grandma’s and then come home to feel set aside in favour of screaming baby.
You may also ask that whoever is caring fo your child(ren) not to focus every second on the fact that a new baby is coming and that now she will be the big sister. Whoever you choose may know this instinctively, but others may not, and in meaning well, may speak too much about the new arrival, creating anxiety in your child.
What’s really important to remember is that every family adjusts in their own way…and yours will too 🙂