Ah pregnancy. A minefield of emotions, hormones and random vomiting. Yet something so precious and unique whether it’s your first, second or third! But every pregnancy is different, none more so than your second, in my opinion.
Of course I have several not so pleasant similarities between this pregnancy and my pregnancy with Josh; I am sick most days, I’m tired, I have restless legs and the cereal addiction is back with a vengeance. But aside from the pregnancy symptoms that most of us endure, pregnancy the second time around is a whole different ball game!
For a start there is no napping, resting and recouping after a morning of hugging the porcelain throne! Not when there is a demanding toddler in need of bananas, Twirlywoos, and constant attention. It’s a funny feeling; everything is vaguely familiar, the physical side of being pregnant, yet it’s a whole new and unique experience. Of course it is still magical, you’re growing your family and a tiny human, and that’s so exciting. And there’s also an element of reassurance; you know a bit of more of how your body will react to pregnancy, how you’ll cope with the sickness, what the kicks will feel like.
But things have changed. When I was pregnant with Josh it became borderline laughable how many pregnancy and baby books I read. I stopped work early in my first pregnancy due to terrible sickness, and had all the time in the world to read, research, and prepare myself (well, I thought I was preparing myself…… turns out nothing really prepares you for being a Mum). Now I am lucky if I get 5 minutes in bed chuckling at The Unmumsy Mum! With Josh and the help of the many apps I had tracking my pregnancy, I could tell you at any point which fruit or veg he was the size of. Now….. he or she is “biggish” (I just checked – banana apparently)! In fact this time, I’ve been so useless I was telling everyone I was a week less pregnant than I actually am!
First time around, the morning sickness was a big deal. I didn’t see it coming and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was pampered, fussed over and looked after. This time, well it’s just a given that I’ll be heaving whilst trying to stop Josh put his hand down the toilet at the same time! It’s a case of just get on with it. The fussing….. what fussing! I do get brought home the occasional Double Decker now and then I suppose. And fuck trying every ginger tasting thing to curb the sickness; it tastes revolting and doesn’t work (for me)! Ensuring I’m in the vicinity of a loo is the best I get; I’m too busy keeping a toddler alive to want for much else so being within “leg it” distance of a toilet is as good as it gets.
Looking after yourself is all part of pregnancy, regardless of which one it is. First time around, I was full of fear of any foods or drinks that were on the “avoid” list – pate wasn’t even allowed in the house. I remember eating some haggis in Scotland and going into meltdown mode when I realised it was high in Vitamin A, and was convinced I had damaged my child (I hadn’t, and quite frankly looking back I’ve no idea how I even stomached the stuff)! This time….. steak is medium rare…. more rare, I may have accidentally indulged in some shellfish and I am going wild and allowing myself a cup of regular tea a day; I have a non stop toddler – I need the caffeine no matter how small amount – SURVIVAL!
So what else changes the second time around…
First pregnancy; birth plan on point! You know what you want, you are feeling positive, empowered and ready to immerse yourself in water and breath the pain away……..
Second pregnancy: bring on the drugs! **To be honest, I was this way in the first pregnancy. My birth plan basically consisted of EPIDURAL!!! It did not, however, contain major abdominal surgery…..!!!!!!!**
First pregnancy: Document everything; weekly bump shots, print them out, add them to your pregnancy diary and look forward to reflecting back on these wonderful (puke filled) days
Second pregnancy: Try to remember bump shots (I only remember because of this blog), purchase pregnancy diary, realise you have no time to go for a wee unattended let alone write a fucking diary. Guilty put away for “safe keeping” whilst realising you never even get round to “reflecting” on baby number ones diary…. don’t feel so guilty!
First pregnancy: I believe the nursery was decorated, ready, organised and so darn cute I could cry by, the time I was seven months gone. Tiny clothes were hung up, in age order, and the book case was filled with the classics!
Second pregnancy: Hurriedly turf baby number one out of nursery and go through old clothes to see what cast offs baby number two can get away with. No particular order other than “clean” or “poonami stained – chuck away!”
First pregnancy; Proudly take the bump to JoJo Maman Bebe and splash out on pristine and adorable babygros without realising you’re spending £22 on something that A) they’ll be born too big for, and B) will shit all up the back of. And I mean ALL the back!
Second pregnancy: God Bless Aldi Baby Events, Gumtree and eBay baby bundles.
First Pregnancy: Everything is bought, prepared, built – there isn’t an item you’ve forgotten right down to 50,000 muslins and nipple shields
Second pregnancy: Rely heavily on Amazon Prime
First pregnancy: Sterilise everything. Your kitchen is beyond germ free
Second pregnancy: Do dettol wipes count?
First pregnancy: I cannot wait to meet this tiny baby (who was huge)
Second pregnancy: I cannot wait to meet this tiny baby (huge or small)
Things are different this time around. And they will be different even more so once baby number two makes his or her appearance. I will want to hibernate with my newborn once they arrive, as I did with Josh, and stay in, taking my time to establish feeding, bond, and be in a love bubble. Do I think Josh will allow that…. no. And do I want him confused, wondering what’s going on, no. How I will balance both, I don’t know. But being a Mum, you quickly realise just what you’re capable of. You master it as you go along – you “Wing It” half the time, but mothers instinct, mothers love and a vast amount of coffee (and the occasional gin) will see you through it.
I know this time it won’t be particularly easy to take the new baby to baby massage or sensory as I will have a destructive two year old on my hands too (hang on, two year old…… terrible twos….. how has that only just dawned on me)! But I will, somehow, find a way to have quality time with both of my children (OH MY GOD CHILDREN – PLURAL) together and separately. They don’t need a baby milestone book to know how much I love them.
I will need support, friends, and this blog to spill out my emotions. I’ll also need about four additional hands, a bucketload of patience and a constant reassurance that there is wine at the end of another manic week (week, day, you know what I mean). There will be two very different people, entirely reliant upon me, with different needs and demands and undoubtedly these will coincide and be demanded at the same time.
It’s a scary shift, a new experience and one that is totally different from your first pregnancy. So if you have one of those days where you can’t even remember what trimester you’re in, let alone what fruit your child is allegedly resembling, don’t sweat it. Take care of you, chat away to your bump about your toddler, and to your toddler about your bump, and be assured, you got this Mama.
PS. Can someone remind me to read this when I am having extreme Mum guilt days and am the size of a pygmy hippo whilst trying to entertain Josh near the end of this pregnancy. It’s inevitable.