Guest post: Pregnancy with a toddler in tow: "All I wanted was sleep"
Dealing with a toddler's nappies while battling morning sickness was just one of the challenges of a second pregnancy, discovered Hannah Harding
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Posted on: Tue 08-Sep-15 14:01:16
(9 comments )
Imagine a sloth on valium. This was about my level of functioning during the days of my first trimester. It was my second pregnancy, and the much-dreaded pregnancy hangover had quickly replaced the excitement of my positive pregnancy test. Dirty nappies combined with morning sickness might well be the worst form of torture known to womankind. I had to keep a bowl next to the changing mat, just in case.
I had discovered I was pregnant with Henry a few days after we returned home from our glorious honeymoon in the Lake District. I had not-so-patiently waited for more than a year for us to start trying for another baby as I hadn't wanted a newborn, or to be pregnant, on our wedding day because, well, because we had a gin bar... We were both amazed, and shocked, that we had been able to conceive Baby #2 so quickly – a year or so prior to conceiving our daughter, Beatrice, I had been diagnosed with endometriosis, and had been advised that conceiving may be difficult. Beatrice was quite the surprise, and I hadn't wanted to raise my hopes too high for number two, just in case we had months of peeing on sticks and disappointment ahead.
The days of my first trimester were spent on the sofa, feeling very sorry for myself, whilst trying to distract Beatrice with copious amounts of books and Cbeebies, just so I didn't have to move further than the kitchen to make more toast and Marmite. I was off tea too, hence my sloth-like activity levels.
This was completely, bone-numbingly exhausting; even more so than dealing with a newborn. All I wanted to do was sleep, and all Beatrice wanted to do was play and run.
Henry's pregnancy was completely different to Beatrice's; from the intense meat cravings, to the all day nausea that continued until week sixteen. Then the day of our twenty week scan finally arrived and my inkling was correct - we were expecting a boy! I'm not sure you can ever get bored of watching the little life growing inside you dance around on a screen; it's utterly mind-boggling and one of the most amazing, insane, wonderful experiences.
The remainder of my second trimester sped by, and before I knew it I was in the third trimester. With a toddler in tow, this was completely, bone-numbingly exhausting; even more so than dealing with a newborn. All I wanted to do was sleep, and all Beatrice wanted to do was play... and run... and run some more. There was such disappointment on her face every time I said I couldn't chase her, or play running races. Oh the guilt. All I can say is, thank goodness for Mini Milks, which saved me from meltdowns more than a few times!
As Henry's due date approached, I found myself dwelling on memories of Beatrice's birth. It had been quick and mostly uneventful, but I found it quite traumatic and scary. I knew I didn't want to give birth in hospital again, but our local Midwife Led Unit had closed down due to lack of funding, so after lots of research and a visit to our county Home Birth Support Group, I opted for a home birth. My husband and I attended a hypnobirthing course, which was truly amazing, and I read inspiring positive birthing books in preparation and found Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth especially wonderful.
Henry's birth was marvellous and utterly magical. I birthed him into the world, in a pool, in our family room, with my own hands and with no pain relief, after only two hours in established labour. Now, I would recommend a home birth to anyone and do it all again in a heartbeat.
The fourth trimester has also been so different this time round. I was unable to breastfeed Beatrice for more than a few days as my milk dried up due to stress and PND, but I'm still feeding Henry at 11 weeks. Instead of wishing away Henry’s early days for milestones, I'm enjoying him. I know this stage flies by, and so I don't force myself to do anything other than stay in bed, feed and cuddle on the days when Beatrice has nursery.
Juggling a newborn and a toddler is difficult, especially as Henry is quite the Velcro baby. I trust that it will get easier once Henry is able to interact more, but the motherhood guilt is intense. I often find myself in tears after bedtime because I haven't been able to give Beatrice all of my attention, or I've been short with her because I'm so tired from all the night feeds.
That being said, their sibling bond is already awe-inspiring; she loves to help me during Henry's bath time, and holds his hand while I feed him, chatting about "how cute" he is. He stares at her in wonderment while she spins, dances and learns how to share, as if to say: "Who is this crazy, loud whirlwind who steals my toys off me and kisses my face…? She’s pretty cool."
By Hannah Harding
Just hit 28 weeks with my DC2 and the tiredness is definitely coming back! DD just never stops and I do feel bad that sometimes I just can't chase after her on her scooter/want to sit and read books rather than head down to the park etc. All my friends warned me that late pregnancy with a toddler is often harder than having a newborn and a toddler! Am already a little anxious about how DD will react to the new arrival and how much time I'll get one on one with her afterwards, but seeing her rub my bump and say "hello Baby!" makes me well up every time!
I'm currently sat in my bed because DS (2.5yo) decided to drop his nap when I was 10 weeks pregnant. Three weeks later and I'm dead on my feet every evening.
I'm in bed too Thursday, as DS and DH had flu this wknd! No fun at 11wks pregnant
Lovely post, Hannah - it all rings so true! V different pregnancy for me this time, wonder if that means I'm having a girl? Hope to do better with bf'ing this time, too... you've given me confidence
I'm currently very newly pregnant and am feeling much the same about nappies and morning sickness, had to say excellent name choices, I have a 3yr old Beatrice and 1yr old Henry not a clue what this one will be called!
19 weeks pregnant here with a 3 yr old and a 2 yr old. Jesus wept it is tough but will be oh so worth it. Close age gaps are fun! At least we get through the early years quickly.
37 weeks pregnant with a 3.5 year old here. I am beyond tired. I hope I pep up a bit when the baby arrives! Poor DS is not getting much time in the fresh air - we're doing a lot of jigsaws!
Mine are a lit older but I remember it well. I remember realising I was (very unexpectedly) pregnant with my third when my second was and ebf 4 month old, first was just 3. I found out the day after my husband had gone away (conflict zone) for 6 months and we had moved to Germany from Hong Kong just a month before. All our stuff hadn't even arrived. Do you know what I did? Only what absolutely needed doing. Oh, and vomming repeatedly. I felt as though I should feel guilty but do you know what? I didn't. I still have a bit of that attitude now. And I think it makes life far better. Am I glad I took my small granddaughter to the seaside on the day I had off last week, or would I have been happier with all my ironing and non essential cleaning done? I know what I feel.
Hmm. I have a two year old and am 32 weeks with twins. It's killer.
Being pregnant whilst also having a toddler is the hardest thing I've ever done.
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