How to Stay Positive When Times Are Tough

How to stay positive when times are toughI know I’m not alone when I say times sometimes get tough. For you, it might be balancing family issues, dealing with financial bills, coping with health issues. And when it rains it pours—bad luck seems to invite even more bad luck. I’m normally a lucky girl; I hardly have bad luck enter my life, but as of late, it seems to have barged right through the door now that I’m nearing the end of my twin pregnancy. I suppose they don’t call it a high-risk pregnancy for nothing.

I endured a few discomforts throughout the pregnancy, from being sick five times (once every month since October until now), to double the fatigue and nausea and even struggling to gain enough weight to ensure these babies are a healthy size.

Now, however, I’m faced with more challenging complications.

I mentioned my PUPPPs rash a few days ago; I now also have cholestasis, yet another itch-related pregnancy complication (why I ended up with two itch-related complications that have nothing to do with each other at the same time is beyond me). Unlike PUPPPs, however, cholestasis does pose a risk to the babies, and I’m now required to visit the doctor at least three times a week to monitor the babies’ health and deliver no later than 37 weeks.

It’s been a whirlwind of madness in our home. These complications plus caring for a three-year-old and that my husband has been battling what probably is bronchitis hasn’t made for an easy household. I’ve been ready to give up so many times but remind myself that these babies still need time to grow and rely on me to stay positive.

And so as much as this post is meant to be helpful to you, I also wrote it for myself, to remind me how to stay positive when times are tough:

  1. Find distractions. One of the best ways to ease worries and anxiety is to think about something else, even for a short while. For me, this might mean watching a funny show, playing games on my iPhone (yes that’s me playing Scramble with Friends and Draw Something at 3am), hanging out with my three-year-old and talking to my husband and mom about other topics.
  2. Have a good cry or vent. At the same time, sometimes you just need to get it out of your system. While you don’t want to stay miserable too long, it’s also not healthy to bottle up your feelings. I actually find solace in online mommy groups dealing with similar complications so that I know I’m not alone. I also email my friends the latest updates for support.
  3. Search for the positives. Somehow there remains a glimmer of joy and goodness even in our troubles. Draw on these positives to remind yourself that not everything is bleak. In my case, I’m fortunate that the babies remain healthy, that I’m in competent hands with my doctors, that my son still loves to kiss my belly, and heck, that I even have a disabled parking placard so that I don’t have to walk too far.
  4. Tell yourself it’s temporary. In most cases, dire days are temporary. I know this pregnancy is coming to a close, and while the ensuing newborn days may just be as maddening, at least I know I won’t have these complications for much longer.
  5. It’s all for good reason. I’ve always felt that our experiences in life help mold us into the people we can be. Bad relationships can teach us about what we want in a partner. Poor decisions help us grow into more mature adults down the line. Any annoying medical tests I’ve dealt with in this pregnancy have ensured my health and those of the babies. And you’re reminded that the sacrifices are worth the trouble when you hold two baby boys in your arms.

I won’t lie: last night I shed a few tears from the discomforts of carrying twins and having these complications. It ain’t easy, and I was just about to be the biggest cry baby and mope for the next few weeks. But then you wake up the next day and realize that there’s still goodness, that this will be short-lived, and that I have an amazing family—and two little ones on the way—worth holding on for.

How do you plow through difficult times? What have been some of your more challenging moments? What are your tips on how to stay positive? Let me know in the comments below!


Nina is a working mom to three boys—a five-year-old and toddler twins. She blogs about parenting at Sleeping Should Be Easy, where she writes everything she's learning about being mom and all its joys and challenges. She also covers topics like how kids learn and play, family life, being a working mom and life with twins. Download her free ebook, "Time Management Strategies for the Overwhelmed Mom" for more tips.


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  1. says

    Sorry about all the itching and worrying! You are almost there. Great list of coping mechanisms. I like a little retail therapy myself, particularly online shopping (just prop the iPad on the belly) and looking for that perfect pillow for the couch, or something cute for the nursery, or pretty new lip gloss, or EBay for nostalgia toys I had as a kid. Great distraction.
    Amy recently posted..I’ll Never Stop Telling My Daughter She’s BeautifulMy Profile

  2. Molly says

    I had that horrible itchy PUPPS rash with my son and it is miserable. If you can endure the smell they make this pine tar soap. I was so desperate I tried it and for whatever reason it helps. I ordered mine from Amazon because we lived in the middle of nowhere NM at the time but its sold in most health food or natural food stores.

    • says

      Hi Molly, I actually did give pine tar soap a try. I’m not sure if it worked or not since I was trying just about anything. What seemed to temper my PUPPPs rash ended up being a prescription ointment that the dermatologist prescribed. It was an anti-inflammatory ointment so it helped to dry out the rash. They’re brown now though, but hopefully will fade soon.

      Sorry you had to go through PUPPPs too! It really is miserable and it almost seems silly telling people you have a rash since it sounds so benign, but I think those of us who’ve had it can attest that it is terrible!
      Nina recently posted..How to stay positive when times are toughMy Profile

  3. Karen says

    Nina, I am so sorry! Your list is great and can be applied to many different life trials. Thanks for sharing it even when you are still in the thick of things yourself. May these last weeks pass quickly for you. I had unbearable itching when at the end of pregnancy with Eli. It wasn’t cholestasis but they did start doing twice weekly non-stress tests. At night I had to soak my hands, feet and legs in ice cold water about hourly to get any relief and be able to sleep just a bit more. I remember well the frustration and wouldn’t wish it on anybody…and mine was just the single itching malady. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • says

      Thanks Karen, sorry that you can relate, what with the non-stress tests and soaking in ice water. There should be a list somewhere of all the comical, outrageous things we pregnant moms do to ease discomforts. For instance, last night I was itching so bad I ended up having to use a bristle brush to scratch it away lol. I’ve also lathered myself in aloe leaves and soaked myself in a stew of guava leaves!
      Nina recently posted..How to stay positive when times are toughMy Profile

  4. Kerry says

    Oh, girl… I am so sorry for the pain and discomfort. I’m glad you’re letting us know – sometimes talking it all out is great therapy for at least some temporary stress relief. We’ll be prayin’ for ya. And for those babies to stay healthy, strong, and growing lots. The itchiness is a pain. I’ve had many friends have similar conditions with their pregnancies. It’s a bummer. But you’ll make it!! Not much longer! And your outlook is great. Now, just believe it! Keep us posted : )
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    • says

      Thanks, Kerry. I totally agree that even talking about it calms me down and gives me perspective. Even if all I do is give a rundown of the latest medicines I have to take or the results of the lab tests, somehow those put my mind at ease. And now that it really is coming down to a close, it’s not as difficult to hang in for a bit longer, especially since every day counts to put some pounds on these babies. Thanks for the cheering up, I appreciate it :)
      Nina recently posted..How to stay positive when times are toughMy Profile

  5. Steph says

    I’m so sorry you’re going through so much! You’ll be in my prayers as you try to juggle everything without going crazy. If I’m remembering correctly you have family nearby? I hope you’re accepting lots of help during this difficult time. I wish I could watch your three year old for you or bring you over a meal.
    Steph recently posted..AnticipationMy Profile

  6. Ana says

    Thank you for sharing, Nina! I hope you begin to feel better from all this. How far along are you now?
    For me, going back to school and raising a family was definitely a struggle at first. But, I learned to cope and manage it by using time management skills and prioritizing my duties as a mother and wife first. Thankfully, our routines and schedules have been going by smoothly without any problems. I was recently diagnosed with chronic anxiety which put a big burden on me and my family. (It’s actually the first time I am coming out saying it publicly). It’s hard to cope with it at times but I have been coping with it the natural way. (no anxiety meds). I meditate, drink tea, do breathing techniques. It all has become a part of my new routine now. I feel that sometimes we let the little things get to us and not realize that there are better and bigger things for us in the end.

    Great post like always, xoxo.

    • says

      Aw Ana sorry to hear about the diagnosis. I can imagine it’s overwhelming what with going to school and raising a little one at the same time. That’s great you’re coping so far. You know what has worked for me when I used to worry a lot? I bought a “worry journal” and write down a few things:

      1. What I was worried about
      2. What I imagined was the worst, realistic thing that can happen
      3. What I plan to do to ease the worry
      4. And finally, what ended up happening

      When I did that for a few weeks or months, I realized that a lot of what I worried about seemed a whole lot worse than what actually happened. And imagining the worst gave me perspective that even though it feels like the worry is so tremendous, maybe the worst-case scenario can still be manageable. And having a plan of what to do to deal with this worry gave me something to act on rather than something to just mull about in the back of my mind.

      Hopefully that helps, and yes, meditating and having quiet time are huge anxiety busters!
      Nina recently posted..How to stay positive when times are toughMy Profile

  7. says

    Oh Nina! I really feel for you! I really do!! I’ve forgotten all about my PUPPS until it was mentioned here so I guess you can look forward to not even thinking about it when you aren’t pregnant anymore.

    I was pretty stressed first time around but having twins is a completely different story! Have you had time to yourself? I enjoyed having pregnancy massages during my last few weeks and I got to get it free at a student training spa which offered free massages to pregnant ladies. They had all the right rooms (relaxing candlelights etc) so it was so relaxing and you didn’t even know they were students. Maybe there is something like this in you area?

    I also did pregnancy yoga and it was good just to have that time for myself. I found it really relaxing and calming and it helped with my worry and fear.

    • says

      Good to know that the PUPPPs was all but forgotten once pregnancy was over! Thankfully it’s getting more and more under control, and I actually got to sleep in 3-hour chunks last night lol. It’s still intense but not as bad as that initial first few weeks. And I so wish I had made time to get a massage, especially when I was smaller. I lay on my side most of the day and don’t drive so I doubt I can do that now. But maybe post-partum…? :)
      Nina recently posted..6 ways to prevent your toddler from killing your babyMy Profile

  8. Molly says

    Nina, you are so right! I felt kind of silly complaining about PUPPS too because when you explain it’s an itchy rash I’m sure many people think, “So? How bad can it be?!” But if beyond being just annoying and frustratingly uncomfortable it itches so bad and then sort of feels like your skin is crawling with ants on fire! And of course your already exhausted, pregnant self becomes even more tired because of the itching! I had gestational diabetes too so at the point I really thought I would snap. But for the grace of God I didn’t get put on bed rest because that probably would have nixed my sanity. I think you are incredibly brave and strong for hanging in there with a multiples pregnancy on top of a toddler. You are a trooper and just keep telling yourself that if you can survive this you will survive ANYTHING!

    • says

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Molly; I needed it! PUPPPs and cholestasis rashes are definitely a category of their own that I’ve never experienced, and I’ve had itchy rashes before too. At least with cholestasis there are medicines to take; with PUPPPs, since it’s not dangerous, there isn’t much research or medicine to temper the itch. I think the worst part is hearing that you’re bound to have it until delivery. I think mine is thankfully starting to die down thanks to the meds; I actually got to sleep more than 2 hours last night! lol.
      Nina recently posted..6 ways to prevent your toddler from killing your babyMy Profile

  9. Joy says

    Sorry to hear about all the itching and worrying Nina! But I’m glad you’re trying to find ways to stay positive. Just remember that it could be worse. Stay strong!