All change

Life has been ticking along pretty nicely lately. Over the last twelve months, I would say that things have become increasingly settled for us as a family. Why? Well, first ToddlerGirl actually started sleeping at eighteen months (how much better does everything feel when you’ve had a bit of sleep?!) and second, I think we’ve grown in confidence in this parenting lark. We by no means have it all sorted but we’re getting much better at muddling through and finding our own rhythm.

All change

So, when everything seems to be plain sailing, what do we do to celebrate? Get pregnant again…!

Eek.

It’s been on the cards for a while. Most of our parent friends have already embarked on the second child stage and we’ve had the inevitable questions about our own plans. I’ve been fairly emphatic in fending off any speculation. My replies can probably be summed up something like this: “Absolutely not. No way. Not at all ready. Not even thinking about it at all. In the slightest. Case closed.” Of course, that was only half true.

I’ve actually been thinking about when I would be ready to have a second child pretty much since I had my first one. Or, to be more accurate, worrying how on earth we could ever cope with having a second child! The Husband’s been on the same page – even my mum has questioned whether we definitely want another baby! There are various factors that have provoked this, not least the extreme sleep deprivation we experienced. Quite frankly, the thought of going through that again, and with a toddler to deal with to boot, is more than a little scary. But that’s a minor consideration really. The real stumbling block has been my fears over the pregnancy itself, both physically and emotionally.

Physically, I do not do pregnancy well. In my imagination, I am glowing, fit, healthy, loving every minute of the wonderful journey of growing a new life. In reality, first time round at least, I was sick as a dog for fourth months, never fully recovering from aversions to all foods unless they were either stodgy carbs or sweet treats. Then, just as the extreme sickness was tailing off, the pelvic pain kicked in. I was diagnosed with SPD, now more commonly known as pelvic girdle pain, which basically causes problems in the pelvis, lower back, top of the legs, making it difficult to walk, sleep, sit still for any length of time… Not so much fun. Out went my visions of an active, healthy pregnancy and in came significantly reduced mobility, often coupled with a lot of pain. It was debilitating and brought me down quite a few times in the second and third trimesters. What on earth I will do with a hugely energetic toddler if I can barely walk is a question that still bothers me!

It has been my emotional reaction to the idea of another pregnancy that has had the biggest impact, however. My pregnancy with ToddlerGirl was tough as we’d had a couple of miscarriages before that, which completely changed my experience of expecting a baby. I was on tenterhooks for the first trimester, the longest three months of my life, and plagued with anxiety for a long time after that. When I look back now, I see a nearly two year period of my life that was entirely focused on pregnancy and miscarriage and anxiety – it has felt so good to leave that behind. The first year of ToddlerGirl’s life started the healing process, mainly in an exhausted fog but it was a happy and relieved exhausted fog at least! This last year has been particularly wonderful and FREEING as I have finally felt like the old me again. Am I ready to go back to the beginning of that emotional loop again?

Well, I’d better be, as here we are, at the top of the rollercoaster, poised for the ride to begin. With our history, I am more than mindful that this could be a false start; we are only nine weeks pregnant so we have one big milestone to reach right now. I’m quite matter of fact about it this time. We’ve been there and got through it – and, better than that, have our precious ToddlerGirl to focus on.

As much as I’ve been enjoying regaining aspects of my life, it feels like the right time to do this. It was still a bit of a shock that it happened so quickly. One minute, we were saying “Yeah, let’s just go for it!” and the next, boom, I’m pregnant. Er, I was sort of hoping for a spring pregnancy. But of course, you really can’t control these things and, if it does go smoothly, we are actually very blessed. I can’t help but think to myself “It can’t be that easy, surely?” Like I said, a miscarriage can completely change your experience of any subsequent pregnancies…

I’m feeling really very sick all. the. time. I have no energy and have gone into ‘battening down the hatches’ mode with ToddlerGirl, racking my brains for easy activities to keep her entertained (if they can be supervised from the sofa, so much the better). I am thinking ahead and worried about if (when) the SPD kicks in. I am excited but trying not to get too far ahead of myself, just in case. The smooth, ordered (ish) life that we had somehow started to claw back is heading rapidly out of the window.

Whatever happens, it’s all change for 2014…

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