At eight and a half months pregnant with twins, my OB tells me my stomach is measuring past full term for a woman carrying one baby. I get questions and comments from strangers and friends alike about when I will be “popping” (ew) or how I must be due “any day day now.” Generally once I share the fact that there are two humans over 4 lbs. growing in my womb, I get a knowing nod of the head and some obsolete comment about how this person- who usually doesn’t know me- will be ‘thinking of me.’
While these comments are certainly kind and appreciated, what is more useful to my giant ass is a friend or partner who is actually willing to help- to carry a heavy bag or move that chair or cook a meal because I just can’t stand on my feet any longer.
Jared has been an incredible partner in this respect and while I have tried to keep as much normalcy in my life as possible, there has come a point- somewhere around 30 weeks- where I had to admit to myself that I was just too large to do tiny living or any living the way I have been.
Pregnancy has actually given me a unique perspective on ability. While I know the pain and symptoms I am experiencing now are only temporary and well worth the outcome, the extreme back pain, numb hands from carpal tunnel, heartburn, breathlessness, and general waddling that come with the third trimester have given me a brief glimpse into how tiny living may be more challenging with chronic pain or ability issues.
I have found many other models and designs of tiny homes that would be better designed for these situations. I have also found that our house was designed with two young able-bodied people in mind, so I am feeling lucky that my current difficulties are only temporary for many reasons.
Below are the six most glaring issues I have faced as a large pregnant woman living in a tiny house:
- Vertical storage- while great for utilizing space in a tiny house, can be more challenging when you are large (especially the things down low)!
Bending over at this point is pretty much out of the question. So in order to put away that dish pan in the cabinet or my pants in the boxes on the floor of my closet I have to fully sit on the ground. And getting back up usually requires a little help. I have learned in the last few weeks there is nothing wrong with asking for help!
- The tiny house shuffle doesn’t work as well as it used to.
In the past year of tiny living, Jared and I have referred to our little dance to get around one another as the ‘tiny house shuffle.’ This is what happens when one person is in the closet but you need to get to the bathroom or Jared is working at the desk and I need to get around him to the kitchen. Without a belly, this was a pretty easy and quick squeeze past one another. With a large stomach protrusion, I more often have to vocalize my request for Jared to move or just come up with alternative activity until the passageway is clear.
- The ladder is still doable but gets uncomfortable around 30 weeks.
I am extremely glad we sleep in the loft with stairs and navigating the loft with the ladder wasn’t really a problem until the third trimester. I can still get up and down safely; it just takes a little more time and effort. So I have taken to planning what I need to get from the ladder loft ahead of time to only have to make one trip or -you may see a pattern developing here- just asking Jared to help me.
- Stairs in the dark and with a full bladder take some finesse.
I have to go pee at last three times a night. I feel safe on our staircase but, even so, take extreme care as I walk down it in the dark. We do not have a handrail, although this may be something we add in the future. And I am most assuredly wearing these giant braces on each hand for my carpal tunnel each night while I make the journey. But typically my way up and down the stairs involves hands and feet for traction and maybe a little ‘sit and scoot’ action.
Sometimes I just can’t sleep. Whether it’s heart burn, the numbness and tingling of my carpal tunnel hands, having to pee, or just not be able to get comfortable, I have found in recent weeks my total sleep count can range from 2 to 5 hours for the night. Although it makes for some rough days for me, I know many pregnant women deal with this. What they don’t deal with is living in essentially one giant room so you can’t just pop downstairs and turn on Gilmore Girls full blast when you can’t sleep. Luckily our blackout curtains and sound machine we plan to use for the twins keep Jared pretty insulated from the light and noise when I go downstairs for a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and a double-dose of Lorelei.
I feel so out of shape, or maybe it’s that I am working 10 times harder because of the extra weight I am carrying. So I have to sit down to catch my breath after every 5 minutes of normal activity, which has been a bit challenged by the fact that there is nowhere to sit in our bathroom. I often find myself taking breaks from getting ready of sitting on the couch while I brush my teeth.
- On the plus side…
But this kind of exhaustion from pregnancy is also where we move from difficulties of a tiny house to BONUSES! I do not have to go very far to get anything I need and if I need Jared’s help for anything he is never too far away. While being super pregnant in a tiny house has posed some challenges, I continue to be grateful for our decision to live this life, which has not only given us- along with science- the opportunity to be parents, but has given us the space as partners to navigate the journey of pregnancy and appreciate every moment- the good, the bad, and the super awkward 🙂