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A second pregnancy
After having been through the anxious waits, the initial tests and that first scan I hoped my second pregnancy would be a breeze. I mean, I'd been through what's generally the most uncertain part of it and I'd done without a hand to hold through the appointments, or while I sat nervously in the waiting room. It might have been a lonely experience during a pandemic and there were certainly a few tears at times, but I'm very lucky to say that my baby was ok.
Then, a few months in, something hit me all of a sudden one morning. I had nothing at all to wear, genuinely, everything that fitted was in the wash and I didn't feel I had the choice of a pyjama day with our building work having started. I was really needing marmite on toast to get me past my initial morning nausea, nothing else worked and like usual, I couldn't get my toast quick enough. I was feeling lonely having barely seen anyone with lockdown, restrictions and different tiers being all over the place. Plus it was another Groundhog Day in life as a stay at home mum to a then two year old who I needed to entertain in a house of chaos.
On that morning I sat on my bed, looked at my wardrobe full of clothes that my growing bump was leaving behind and cried. I cried because I was tired of putting a brave face on and fed up with my pregnant body making demands that sometimes I struggled to keep up with. But, most of all, I was exhausted. Getting my head around being pregnant again, trying to feel excited, and just doing pregnancy with few people to lean on was tiring.
Don't get me wrong, I really do know how lucky I am to be in the position I'm in, having a second child with my husband while living in the lovely house we have, albeit in chaos after building work. That's what makes how I'm feeling all the more difficult though, knowing there are people who would happily trade places without a second thought. But instead, here I am with my pregnant belly looking forward to getting my body back, terrified of the road ahead and trying my best to be excited and still be a good mum.
Why am I not actually excited about a new baby just yet though? Well, here goes.
To start with I really wasn't sure I was ready, or if I'd ever feel ready. Afterall, having a child is a huge step whether you've been there before or not. Just because you've been there once, it doesn't automatically make things easier either, or even mean the journey will be successful. Instead it means you have to juggle everything that pregnancy can throw at you while still being a caring and responsible adult to another child. I love having a sibling though and I hoped my first child could have the same, so I just hoped. I hoped that by the time I was lucky enough to fall pregnant my mind would change and I'd be eagerly awaiting my new babies arrival rather than feeling scared of everything to come like I do now.
Next, I'm going to come out and say it, but I don't enjoy the baby stage. It's not just having a tiny baby or the sleepless nights, it's the weaning, the nap times, the baby groups. I know they grow out of it quickly enough and it's all just a small part of their childhood, that's why I couldn't let it cloud my decision when wondering whether or not to even try for more children. But, I've just always been unsure around babies, no matter how cute they are. It didn't mean I loved my first baby any less and I won't love my next any less. I'm just looking forward to the days of sick and dribble being over already and getting to a point where I don't have an extra little person in my bed.
Then I just don't know how to act. I know that sounds silly, I'm just pregnant after all and still very much the same person. I just feel like the world is looking at me expecting me to be this excited expectant parent, either that, or an emotional wreck with pregnancy hormones. That I'm going to be wanting to show off my bump or talk about scans, all while being unable to cope with anything challenging without crying. Really though, I just want to be me, the same old me I always have been with the same chat, the same face, I'd even wear the same clothes if I could. When people are buzzing around you excitedly though, it's not easy to tell them you just can't process it. Or when friends have bigger things to deal with and they are trying to be considerate, it's difficult to tell them not to be. It's really made me hide away more and let some of that essential network we need as a new mum slip away.
This leads on nicely to the point that I have a lot to learn. When I had my first baby, I didn't have anyone come over to do some washing, nobody to let me catch up on some sleep, nobody stashing meals in my freezer and little company. This was partly due to circumstances at the time which is a whole other story, but also because I just didn't ask for help. Asking for help was, and still is, completely unnatural for me and the only time I asked was when my husband was away. We did everything ourselves, from juggling extra rest, to cleaning, cooking, taking turns for time out and we still are. I don't even know how to learn to ask for help, but I know I'm going to need figure something out if I'm ever going to get any time out or adult conversation.
Lastly, there's my first baby. He might have warmed up to the idea of having a new baby in the house that's not a cat and is looking forward to having someone to play sand with but, it's going to be a huge adjustment. I mean, how am I going to spend enough time making sure he knows he's so loved when I'm tired and covered in sick? Will I still be able to soak up this time with him before he's off to school? Will he even still be my little best friend when I'm going to have to spend more time being a responsible mum? While I know I'll find a way, I can't help but feel nervous because I really do love the relationship we have right now.
I know that really these aren't huge issues, but put them all together through a pandemic where lockdown life lets me ignore my pregnancy, aside from the side effects, and they become something I just don't deal with. At only six weeks to due date (as I write this) I don't even have any signs of a nursery or clothes being ready, no blankets or pretty things to put on the walls. Other than worrying about the hospital bag it's all just gone to the back of my mind and I've just been hoping that one day I would just wake up and feel ready.
At this late in the day I don't know if I'll ever feel ready, or if I'll embrace my pregnancy at all, but I do know one thing. As unsure as I am now, it's almost over. The joint pains keeping me awake at night, the crazy kicking that makes my whole stomach move and the morning nausea are going to soon be behind me. The uncertainty and worries I have now will be replaced with something else and I'll have a little baby to look after alongside my three year old. Two children who are going to need me to be the together version of me, the most calm and loving version of me. That's why I've written this all down.
Of course I wanted to show that not everyone loves pregnancy, to let others who feel like me feel a little less alone. But, most of all I want to put this in a box and package it away under 'experience'. Put this behind me and let my last few weeks as a mum to one amazing little boy be the best they possibly can. Give myself some time away from the fear to be me so that when I do have to step-up and embrace life with two children I'll be ready.