Coming to the end of my second trimester, I’ve been reflecting on the differences I’ve experienced between pregnancy number one and pregnancy number two. The one thing that appears dramatically different is how I have felt for taking the time to look after myself and this growing bebe…when I have had the time!
This one major difference for me has been guilt. When I was pregnant with Isabella I didn’t feel guilty at all for going on long walks, taking an evening yoga class, going away for a night, catching up with friends for dinner or taking some time out to do something for myself. Because it was just the hubby, pooch and I and between work and all the things that need to be maintained around the home, we still had loads of time to do things for ourselves as well as together. However, I have noticed that in these first few years, especially with a busy toddler, having that kind of time is often a thing of the past….for now!
Before I had Isabella I thought I would be quite happy to leave her with loved ones while I enjoyed some time away to recharge when needed, whether that be going for a simple walk, a dinner out, or heaven forbid a night away! But it seems I have found it much harder than I ever thought to leave her to invest time in self-care. Don’t get me wrong, I still get time to go for walks and do things I enjoy, it’s just not as often as I’d like and so different to what I thought it would be like because when I am away I often feel bad or think about Isabella and if she’s okay. Even though I know she’s fine! It’s like I think she’ll think I’m being a bad mother for leaving her. Ridiculous I know! Is it just me or do all mums find it hard to leave and do things just for them? Sometimes, it feels easier just to stay home rather than go to the effort to organise arrangements so you can go out and do something for yourself. But more than ever, my goal is to try and invest more time in self-care and leaving Isabella without feeling guilty before baby number two arrives. This is for a number of reasons but primarily because I know that with a newborn and I imagine with a toddler in tow also, getting out and about will be much harder than it is now, so I want to make the most of it! I absolutely loved breastfeeding Isabella, and all going well I intend to breastfeed this baby for as long as I can which will be mean being home in the evening. Unless this baby likes taking expressed milk a lot more than Isabella did. Bottles were not her favourite for a LONG, LONG time. So my plan is to try a bottle with expressed milk earlier with bubs number two to see if it takes to it a bit better!
During the four short weeks between finishing breastfeeding Isabella and falling pregnant this time, I felt an overwhelming sense of independence, like I was getting a little bit of me back again. While it was short-lived due to really bad pregnancy sickness that left me home bound for a lot of those first few months, part of me can’t wait to feel that way again. It’s funny how motherhood changes you. I absolutely adore being a mum and think it is such an immense privilege to love and care for a growing human. Even if you have a sleepless night, one giggle or cuddle and it is all but a thing of the past - a small blip in an otherwise delicious relationship between mother and child. So while part of me can’t wait to be ‘a little more me’ again post-pregnancy, I know pregnancy doesn’t last forever and the delight and joy Isabella provides is so ridiculously lovely I can’t wait to see her become a big sister. If the love she has for her dolls and my burgeoning belly is anything to go by, she’s going to be wonderful. However, I certainly haven’t enjoyed this pregnancy as much as my first. Purely, because I think you are so busy caring for another child you don’t have as many opportunities to just relax and enjoy pregnancy. I walked a lot in my first pregnancy but now that our wee girl is running around and is more fiercely independent than ever before her favourite words are “SELF” (note the capital letters for emphasis!), “walk” and “come”, so we walk everywhere together and pram and back pack walks are a thing of the past. Sometimes we get a kilometre or so down the road before a pile of rocks or falling leaves take precedence while sometimes we make it just a few metres down the driveway. But it’s all part of the fun of watching a toddler explore the outside world and no matter how far we make it by foot, it’s always entertaining and I always arrive home with a smile on my face having learnt something about our wee girl and the world myself.
I’d love to hear from other mums' how they have found subsequent pregnancies while running after babies and toddlers. I think the fact we don’t always get a full night’s sleep makes growing another human seem harder. Or maybe we are just getting older! But the one thing that is for sure is that family life offers an immense sense of gratitude and a daily out pouring of simple pleasures that overtakes everything and makes raising a family one of such delightful joy. And as cliché as it sounds, is something I wouldn't change for the world. Not even more sleep ins!