5 Ways to Survive a Difficult Pregnancy

If you’re faced with a difficult nine months, Mighty Mommy shares five tips that can help lighten your load until your precious bundle of joy arrives.

Cheryl Butler
7-minute read
Episode #467

a woman dealing with a difficult pregnancy

I waited for nearly seven years to experience one of nature’s most elite joys—being pregnant. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to struggle with infertility. I’m the oldest of five siblings. My spouse was the youngest of four. I babysat all my life and always adored all things family-related, so when I finally decided to try and start my own family I was totally flabbergasted to find I would not be able to get pregnant easily.

Many grueling and exhausting years into trying to conceive, three miscarriages, and one amazing adoption later, I finally became pregnant thanks to today’s intense but miraculous gift of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Just because you receive a positive pregnancy result, however, does not mean you have smooth sailing for the remaining nine months. Not even close! I had been pregnant three times before my IVF procedure, so I was realistic enough to know that the months ahead could be problematic. Perhaps because of my journey with infertility, despite my horrific bouts of morning sickness, gestational diabetes, and having to spend each of my pregnancies, including my first, chasing toddlers and young children, I always loved being pregnant. (No kidding!)

Most of my babies weighed in at nine pounds or more, so I really did have to learn how to manage a big load while caring for myself and my young family. No two pregnancies are alike, so if you’re faced with a difficult nine months, Mighty Mommy shares five tips that can help lighten your load until your precious bundle of joy arrives.

5 Ways to Survive a Difficult Pregnancy

  1. Be Accepting of Your Medical Condition
  2. Practice Self-Care Early On
  3. Plan Ahead
  4. Embrace Help
  5. Live in Mindful Gratitude

Let’s explore these tips further.

1. Be Accepting of Your Medical Condition

When you first learn you're expecting, you will encounter a myriad of emotions—excitement, joy, anxiety, elation, hysteria, and everything in between. Because I had tangled with the journey of infertility for over five years, when I learned I was finally pregnant I literally sat in disbelief for days. It was one of the most amazing yet scary moments of my life.

By embracing the ebb and flow of how your body functions while pregnant, you can navigate your pregnancy journey with a bit more ease.

I didn't honestly believe I was pregnant until those first waves of extreme nausea took hold. When they did I finally managed to accept that I was going to have a baby. Regardless of whether or not you’re under the weather with your pregnancy, the wonderful news is that this is all temporary, and better yet, the end-result for all your discomfort yields the best gift in the world—a precious baby! My morning sickness lasted all day long and for six months, not three. I was very fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with my OB/GYN who had weathered the infertility storm with me and was now one of my biggest supporters throughout my pregnancies.

For the many years I tried to conceive, I had very romantic and idyllic notions of how I thought I would feel when I was finally pregnant. Silly me—I thought I’d be glowing, fluttering around and eating bon bons for nine months. Little did I know I’d be vomiting night and day, exhausted around the clock, and end up taking insulin for a condition known as gestational diabetes (there went the bon bons).

I learned very early on that I had to be patient and accepting of how my body was going to handle my pregnancies. Once I did that, I freed up my emotional state and was better able to go with the flow. After my second pregnancy, I realized that for me, being pregnant meant “all-day sickness,” not morning sickness. I also learned to treat my gestational diabetes right from the get-go rather than waiting for the glucose screening, which typically happens at about 24 weeks of pregnancy. Just as I knew my first six months of pregnancy would challenge me most, I also found that months seven and eight would ignite unbelievable periods of high energy where I could make up for some of the time I was down earlier. By embracing the ebb and flow of how your body functions while pregnant, you can navigate your pregnancy journey with a bit more ease.

2. Practice Self-Care Early On

If you’re wondering how taking a little time for yourself can possibly make a difference when each day starts with early-morning retching and you’re sure you’ll never eat anything but saltine crackers for the rest of your life, think again! Though nine months can seem endless when you’re feeling lousy, you’ll be in your last trimester before you know it, and that’s when things start to get very busy for expectant moms.

Get into the habit early on—even on the days you’re throwing up breakfast for lunch—of finding rituals to soothe yourself. For me, it was a warm bath that helped revive me on even my greenest of days. As a writer, I always have a journal going, so for each of my pregnancies I started a journal and wrote everything and anything that was on my mind while waiting for my baby to be born. (I’ve tucked these away in each of my kid’s baby boxes for their future reading enjoyment!) Start carving out snippets of time just for you the minute you get that positive pregnancy test back, and it will become as much of a habit as brushing your teeth each day. Making self-care a priority can offer you some much needed respite throughout every stage of your pregnancy, but particularly when you’re having a tough go of it. 

See: 5 Ways that ‘Selfish Parenting’ Can Benefit Your Family


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.