Struggling With Jugglingby Debbi Baldwin
I remember reaching my third trimester during my first pregnancy and thinking ‘Right, now the countdown has begun’. I had all of my hospital essentials packed weeks in advance, I had my maternity leave organised, the house was fully kitted out and baby proofed and I was well and truly in nesting and relaxation mode. So I assumed that once I got to the same stage during my second pregnancy that I would be more than prepared for anything that was thrown at me. After all, this wasn’t my first rodeo. I naively thought I could use my past experience to sail through this stage like Superwoman.
I was wrong.
I had anticipated a slight shift in how much time I would get to rest, what with working part-time and with my son having just started school, but the sheer lack of hours in the day and my dwindling levels of patience and willpower came as a massive shock. I changed my hours at work to work around my sons’ school so that I would be available more for him, but that has meant fewer hours leftover on those days to get even the menial day to day tasks done around the house. That, coupled with the endless random (often last-minute) notifications and requests from school, such as costumes for special theme days, root vegetables for Autumn projects (yes, really) and generally just keeping up to date with the curriculum makes every day feel like I’m struggling to catch up.
My partner is very supportive and does what he can to help outside of his full-time job, and I’m lucky that my son is very excited about the baby and is reasonably understanding when it comes to me needing to rest more in between keeping him entertained, but I still feel like I’m failing when I can’t keep on top of everything in the same way that I used to. And this pregnancy feels a lot different to last time. My first pregnancy seemed to go by without much incident and I didn’t really suffer from the majority of aches and pains until right at the end. This time, I had a lot of nausea (but thankfully no real sickness) for the first few months, followed by stabbing pains in my shoulder blades and finally a lot of pelvic pain that makes me feel like I’ve been kicked in the groin for the first few hours of every day until I’ve loosened up.
All of this means that I am definitely not as prepared as I would have been at this point during my last pregnancy. My hospital bag is half packed, the new pram is still in bits in boxes and we are nowhere near deciding on a name! And as my due date is the week after Christmas, I have added present-buying stress piling up around me.
In the back of my mind, I am telling myself that this is all good practice for having two children to look after instead of one, and that all I need to do is up my multitasking skills and everything will be fine, but I can’t stop the panic creeping in every time I add something new to my ‘To Do’ list.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that I am very lucky to even have one child, let alone be having a second, but there are days where I wonder if I will fully be able to cope. I think it is important for mums to share these feelings with each other, as it can be very lonely to feel that you are going through them alone. For now, I am going to try and take more time to rest, take deep breaths when I and stressed and try to look forward to the arrival of number two.