About three months ago, I got some of the happiest news of my life. After not having to “try” for as long as we’d expected, my husband and I were expecting Baby #2. Because I have a complicated medical history — severe endometriosis at the top of the list — I’d been told for years I may never have children. After one healthy baby born, I was elated to discover that I was expecting another.
That is not what this post is about, but I preface with it to be entirely clear: I am thrilled and grateful to be carrying our second baby. Every night I go to bed with a silent prayer of thanks for all of the wonderful gifts in our lives, counting Miracles 1 and 2 right at the top. I felt it important to start there, because the rest of the experience of a second pregnancy is nothing short of a living hell that makes me want to cry and throw up all at the same time.
While I always imagined how fun it would be to have a little kid and be waiting on another, no one bothered to tell me what all of this nonsense would be like. So let me share a few of the highlights…
1. Constipation is way worse when you have an audience. I thought pregnancy-related constipation sucked the first time around, but now there is a 2-year-old staring at me while I’m trying to make something happen. And, she gets seriously pissed off when I take too long in there; even if she does leave me alone for a few minutes, she’ll come in crying shortly thereafter to signal my time is up.
2. Naps are no longer a thing. When I was pregnant with my first, I napped so hard I could have listed “falling asleep during the day” as a skill on my resume. Between meetings, on weekends, in the evenings before my husband came through the door. Now that I’m pregnant and have a toddler, there is no such thing as napping. When my daughter falls into her afternoon slumber, it’s a race against time to catch up on laundry, dishes, and work. Two hours are never enough to get everything done, but even if they were, there would still be no time for napping. Boo.
3. Protecting the bump from toddler attacks is a full-time job. My 2-year-old is so full of energy and life, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with her. Now that she notices my growing middle, she thinks it’s hilarious to bounce off of, knock on, and otherwise disturb it. Even though she’s a sweet child and doesn’t mean any harm, I’m worried half the time about a collision — and the other half of the time about how I’m going to keep a newborn safe around this toddler tornado.
4. Lugging around a toddler and a baby bump is exhausting. I thought my bump was a huge inconvenience the first time around, but now I have a 2-year-old who constantly wants to be held. At 15 kgs on one hip and who-knows-how-many-kilos to go in front, will I ever be lithe and free again? At this point, it’s feeling like a solid no.
5. You won’t work out, like, ever. I literally spit out my soda water that I now chug in the evenings in place of that beloved glass of wine the last time a friend asked me if I was “working out this time.” And I get it; last pregnancy, I was miss #bumpfit with the daily runs, yoga classes, and lean, green, protein-enriched salads. This time, I’m lucky to get out the door and make it to the supermarket once a week, let alone do something so gloriously self-indulgent as spend money on a workout and a sitter. Bah!
6. No matter how crappy you feel, there’s someone else you have to take care of. My nausea has been way worse this time around. But gone are the days of sitting in my car nursing a ginger beer for 20 minutes or hitting snooze as many times as needed for it to subside. The fact is, toddlers have needs and they can’t be put on hold for your own. I’m lucky to have a wonderful partner who “takes over” when he gets home from work, but taking care of a needy 2-year-old all day when you really want to just lie down and suck on ice cubes is rough. That’s the truth.
7. Cutesy memorabilia and journaling will not happen this time. With my first pregnancy, I had a whole binder full of everything from ultrasound photos and nursery inspiration to safe medication lists and milestone calendars. I also wrote to my unborn daughter in a leather-bound journal. This time, unless I’m actively throwing up or trying to button a pair of jeans, I practically forget I’m pregnant. Keeping a toddler engaged and happy is tough enough; who has time for scrapbooking? We do, however, have a file folder in the kitchen with “Baby 2” scrawled on it, alongside the wrong due date (oops). It contains mostly junk mail. Such is life.
Most days, I wish I could go back in time and bop first-time-mum me on the head for every single complaint I made during that pregnancy: Oh, you didn’t make it to yoga today because you got stuck in traffic? Wah, wah. You still have six hours left with absolutely no one to care for but yourself, so find another class or do a YouTube video. Or better yet… What’s that, you’re tired? Take another freaking nap, you spoiled brat. Who’s stopping you? Close your eyes and enjoy the silence, because next time around, someone will make sure you can’t.
For all the drama, I’ll end where I started. Growing these two miracles is a gift and I swear I appreciate it in the big picture. But in this very moment — sigh. Mama could use a nap.