Struggles and Advice During a Second Pregnancyby Lauren Schaefer
I am currently 34 weeks pregnant with my second child and due at the end of August. Things haven’t been easy in 2020 for many of us, and my heart goes out to any pregnant women right now who are having a bit of a rough time. I must admit this time around I’ve spent the majority of my pregnancy frustrated, upset and in a lot of discomfort. It has definitely made my mind up that this will be my last one (pregnancy that is). There are always struggles with any pregnancy, but I never realised how hard it would be until I found myself pregnant with a toddler. I took my first for granted and automatically assumed that it would be the same as my first...boy was that a real mistake! Not wanting to put anyone off having another baby if they are thinking about it, but I’d really like to shed some perspective on my struggles and advice during a second pregnancy.
Keeping up with a Toddler
Toddlers are fast. In normal circumstances it’s absolutely fine to whip around after them, to stop them from grabbing things and taking them out of danger’s way. While pregnant, I can hardly get out of bed in the mornings without the aches and pains of ligaments and muscles telling me to slow my movements down. I find myself asking for a lot more support from my husband to take her out to the playground and I can’t even think about helping out with bath time now I’m in my last trimester. My advice here would be to speak up when you need help rather than soldiering on through. Too many times have I tried to do it all and suffered the consequences with back and pelvic pain not long after.
I could probably write an entire article on my pregnancy pains alone, but to sum it up, I’ve had the lot. I am dealing with torn ligaments, lightning crotch, weak bladder, thrush and anaemia on top of all the uncomfortable usuals that come with growing a baby. I am definitely feeling more sore and fragile than the first time around. At 16 weeks I developed symptoms of anaemia and so I was put on a high dose of iron tablets to help combat this. At my 28-week blood test they found that I was deficient in Vitamins C+D, so was prescribed more tablets for that. At 33 weeks I had a swab that came back as positive for thrush. I wasn’t too bothered about this one as I had no symptoms, and treatment was really simple. I can’t help but feel like there is a new issue every few weeks I have to combat- it certainly wasn’t this way with my first pregnancy. My advice is to call your midwives as often as you want, they are there to help you through any problems you might have. Second, go to bed rather than binging on a TV show, as you will regret it the next day!
Lack of Self-care
This one is probably one of the hardest things about a second pregnancy, a lack of self-care. While you can still concentrate on yourself with number 1, that all goes out the window when expecting number 2. You can’t rest when you need to, you are woken up by your toddler in the mornings, and if they day nap, this is when you need to have a shower or get food prepared. By the time the evening comes around, I am so exhausted I can’t even begin to think about doing things I’d like to do such as paint my nails or have a bath. A lack of self-care has left me feeling quite down, moody and not myself at all. I am dreaming of the days where I have enough time and energy to put my makeup on again. My advice is to talk to your friends and family, vent your frustrations rather than keeping your feelings bottled up. It’s ok to have a meltdown because you haven’t washed your hair in a week.
I feel that this struggle is probably one of the most important, but least talked about struggles- mum guilt. For me, mum guilt has set in before my second is even born, and I never even considered this before falling pregnant again. There are so many things I want to do with my toddler, from building dens and rolling around being silly, to taking her out for a long walk on the beach. I can physically do very little with her at the moment, and that really gets to me. I feel like I’m not parenting her the way I’d like to, and I’m having to change our activities up to suit me rather than her. I understand that this is only temporary, but it feels like a lifetime has passed and she has grown up so much since I became pregnant almost 8 months ago now. I’d advise any second-time mum to be realistic when it comes to keeping little ones entertained. Don’t schedule a day full of activities when you won’t be able to see them through.
The ‘second struggle’ is most definitely real- I cannot wait for it to be over now so I can get back to feeling more myself and be the mother I want to be for Alice as well as the new arrival. Pregnancy right now sucks, but I know that I am not alone saying this. Mums of multiples have messaged me and said how awful it was for them too second time around. My final piece of advice is don’t be afraid to ask for help and take whatever minutes you have to try and relax throughout the day- be they few and far between!