What makes it so difficult? Shouldn’t it be easier second (or third) time round?
Little ones seem to instinctively know when a baby is on the way. They seem to know that it means big changes are coming – this knowledge is usually expressed as neediness in an altogether different, yet challenging way. For example, toddlers will ask you to do physically impossible things. When you are unable to get down on the floor with them, that’s when they want to do a puzzle. When your bump is getting enormously big, they start insisting on sitting on your lap more and more. When all you want to do is sleep, that’s precisely the time they drop their nap! It makes for some very interesting coping techniques, both to keep your sanity and to keep them happy both before and after the baby arrives.
Pregnancy is difficult for a whole host of reasons, not least of which are physical. Carrying around an extra 30 lbs (well, not always that much, but sometimes more!) makes simple things like the school run rather difficult. With my third pregnancy, it was so hot and I found even walking up a small hill absolutely exhausting and energy sapping. Compounded by two other children to look after, it sometimes seemed like climbing a mountain. Keep in mind, I am not an unfit person either (I am now training for a half marathon!). My legs would swell up, my breathing would become laboured and I felt like absolute hell at the end of a short 5 minute walk!!
Patience levels can also be at an all-time minimum. When you are anxiously awaiting your baby’s arrival, even small things can set you off. When you are overdue, you might feel like snapping at any minute. Of course, this is when your kids decide to start fighting at every minute, whinging, complaining and just never seeming satisfied. Try to remember, however, that your child or children are also waiting for the baby to arrive, and may not know how to express themselves appropriately. They may be excited, anxious, bored or any combination of these and other emotions!!
I have put together a short list of ideas to make your pregnancy a bit easier when you are also looking after your other children:
1) Lightweight buggy – get an umbrella stroller for your toddler, it will be easier to get in and out of the boot of your car and will prevent you from having to carry your toddler for too long. Heavy buggies will be your nemesis at this point – you will kick yourself for having spent so much on that designer buggy!
2) Get a toddler bike that you can push with an attached handle – this is a great, fun way for your little one to get around. It is fairly easy to push and can make outings fun, without you having to do much work.
3) Try to organise someone else doing one or two mornings of school / nursery run – this could really save you from losing it altogether. To have one or two mornings to yourself to put your feet up and have a cup of tea would be wonderful!
4) Forget about nesting – you may have done it with your first (cleaning, organising, polishing the floors) but now is your time to rest when it is at all possible. The only nesting you should be doing is getting baby grows washed and cots assembled etc.
5) Get a toddler car seat that swivels (see reviews here) – I recently saw one of these and kicked myself for never having known about it and getting one. A release allows the seat to turn to the side, making getting your toddler in the seat that much less painful. I would even recommend this even if you’re not pregnant!
6) Don’t try to do it all and recognize your limitations. Many mums won’t admit that they need help, and this will only cause you more difficulty in the long run. At the end stages of pregnancy, it is hard work running around after a little one (or two) and you may need to rest and look after yourself as well as your children.
Keeping your hormones in check whilst looking after others, is no easy feat. Hopefully your pregnancy will go quickly and then you’ll just have to worry about how to cope with a newborn and a toddler!!
Please share your experiences with us about your 2nd, 3rd or subsequent pregnancies….how did you cope?