My pregnancy this time round has been pretty much identical to my first, but it has been so much harder to get through. What was hard first time round without a toddler to care for has been almost impossible with a child already in tow. I’ve reached the 9 month mark and am due anytime now, and although pregnancy has of course been a magical, moving and profound experience once more, I am solid in my resolve that I will not be experiencing pregnancy as a full time child carer again. My next child (if we are blessed for a third time) will not be for at least five years. I am refusing to procreate again until these two little monkeys are in school! Here are my reasons…
1. Tiredness. This is the hallmark of pregnancy, it is exhausting creating and maintaining life! That little parasite (horrible word but theoretically true!) inside your tummy is using up all your resources and leaving you with the scraps, your energy levels are next to nothing and you find yourself desperately trying to keep your eyes open at 2pm. But there’s a toddler that needs you up and alert, looking after her. First time round I would sleep for large chunks of the day and then go to bed really early too, not possible this time round. So next time, when these two are in school I’ll be tucked up in bed with my bump!
2. Sickness. My sickness was awful once again this time round, lasting from 4 weeks all the way until 26 weeks just like last time. The slightest movement would set me off, and up my lunch would come. Again. My sickness is characteristically movement based. Sit deadly still and I can just about bear it. Move and I’m retching violently within seconds. Sadly movement is pretty much a necessity when caring for a child, tempted though I was to just tie April to a chair and be done with it until her daddy got home each day, it’s not a realistic option, so that dreadful nausea that swirls in your tummy and throat and the back of your head was a constant presence. Next time I want to be sat like a statue for most of the day. Or asleep.
3. Back pain. Another trade mark of pregnancy is back pain, add in a toddler that still insists to be carried for large chunks of the day and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Next time round I’ll be making sure all my kiddies are firm on their feet and have no need for mummy to be picking them up and carrying them constantly.
4. The mess. Now I know all children are messy regardless of age, the infinite tidying up that seems to occur 10-15 times per day will probably be a fixture here for years and years to come, but I would like to think that by school age my children will respond to or at least understand me when I tell them to tidy up their own crap. I think April understands me now at almost two, and sometimes she does indulge me and help, but most of the time she just doesn’t fancy it, she would much rather be doing something else (like creating more mess somewhere else) and she’s still at the age where I just cannot be sure that she’s ignoring me on purpose or not. The options are to live in a pigsty (bad for mental health, and is also a hazard for bump if mama trips up on the assault course that is the living room) or tidy up little and often, and bending, crouching, etc is absolute hell during pregnancy. Tidying is not just tidying. Tidying is an ordeal that usually ends with mama yelling in agony much to April’s amusement. Next time they’ll be making a mess in school for most of the day hopefully!
5. Constant cooking. This may not be true for everyone, but feeding my child is a constant process. I want her to be well fed, healthy, full of fresh, nutritious and varied food. That means cooking several times a day. Add to that the occasions she will randomly decide no she doesn’t want what you’ve made her, and then having to make something else…this is not easy when you are exhausted, in pain, and your nausea is being set off by all these food smells. Next time you’ll be having at least one meal in school, you will be old enough to understand that you eat what you’ve been given, and you will hopefully have stopped throwing your food on the floor if you don’t like it (annoying before, agony whilst pregnant).
6. Toilet runs. My toddler is still not old enough to be left alone unsupervised for more than a few seconds, which means every time I need the toilet (which is pretty much every ten minutes) I must bring her up stairs with me and either put her in her cot for safety or let her watch me pee. Bad for my back, annoying for both of us.
7. Guilt. Being nauseous, and now later on being in a constant state of achey pain has meant April and I have spent a lot of time entertaining ourselves at home. Getting out and about, pushing her big bum around in her buggy with bump in tow and a bad back is really really hard, we’ve tried to make the effort but it just isn’t easy. I feel so bad, is she bored? Is she missing her friends? Is she getting enough stimulation and variety? Next time you’ll be in school with much more interesting people than big bellied mummy all day!
8. Vanity. So Husband and I pretty much knew we’d be trying for baby number two before long, we both would love a big family. This did mean however that I really didn’t make much effort to lose my baby weight first time round, or get into shape, or even give up my maternity jeans to be honest! (They are so comfy!) I still haven’t had a professional hair cut since before April was born. Knowing this time I will be leaving a sizeable chunk of time before attempting to get pregnant again means I will have to make an effort this time to move on from the ‘I’ve just had a baby give me a break!’ stage.
9. Money. Have you seen the price of double buggies?! Next time round we will be waiting until both our children are buggy free before thinking about another baby!
10. Staying Sane. So my last reason is just the fact that having and raising a baby is a huge undertaking, doing it twice in a row in such a short space of time is daunting (terrifying). I love that my two girls will be so close in age, they’ll grow up together and will probably be in to a lot of the same things at the same time. I am so excited to see how their relationship develops and grows. However I am also excited for a break from babyland. Hopefully by leaving a gap next time round Husband and I can stick our heads up above the surface for a breath, allow our rose tinted glasses to filter our memories of caring for our two babies, and enjoy a bottle/nappy/etc free couple of years before diving right back in again!
Having baby number two whilst baby number one is only just turning two has been the perfect decision for us, we could not be happier, we planned it like this and we are so excited for the changes our family is going to go through once she arrives. But baby number three, in order for mama to stay sane you’re going to have to wait it out a little longer!