I am always one to take notice of ‘signs’ from the universe and this week, I keep coming across Mums who are pregnant for the second time and suffering from a great deal of ‘comparisonitus’. In case you aren’t familiar with that term, here is a definition as per Wikipedia (!).”The compulsion to compare one’s accomplishments to another’s to determine relative importance, etc.”
2nd time Mum’s are comparing themselves to…themselves when they were pregnant the first time round!
In your first pregnancy, after the morning sickness and the bit before you just want lie down in a dark room and wait for baby to decide to make an appearance, you exist in an impenetrable bubble.
It’s lovely, your partner is more responsive, you lay off the housework a bit more (and the fella himself steps up to do more ironing, vacuuming etc), you can nap, you have an almost surreal glow about you.
In your second pregnancy, everything feels different. You contend with the first 3 months of feeling tired and crappy. You are just waiting…waiting…waiting… for the glowing pregnant goddess within you to break through and before you know it you are 6 months pregnant and she ain’t showing up this time!!
Pregnancy with a another child in tow is a whole different ball game.
Less time to relax.
More “stuff” to tidy up.
Places to be.
A little person to constantly entertain.
Your partner, needs you to take less naps (what?!!).
And so you end up in a bit of an exhausted vacuum. Let’s not even get started on work (they were so excited about the first but now it’s like they are bored already?!!).
And what about the birth prep?!
In your last pregnancy you read all the books you could. Ina May Gaskin was like a close friend. You could tell everyone and anyone what type of fruit or vegetable your baby’s equivalent size was (“this week my baby is the size of an avocado”). You were fastidious about what you ate and you ensured that your water consumption was hitting that 2 litre marker daily! You could pinpoint the stage of your pregnancy to the minute (never mind the week which you can barely do now) and you felt in tune with baby. The birth prep was OFF THE CHART! You did NCT, (or whatever is the most popular form of childbirth education in your country), Hypnobirthing, Pregnancy Yoga… you practiced your breathing and listened to your Hypnosis tracks…You did it ALL.
This time…you can barely find time to even THINK about doing any of those things and so the first time pregnant YOU becomes a benchmark and you start thinking you aren’t doing enough, being enough. How can you possibly hope to have positive birth or a connection with this baby if you aren’t doing ALL the things you did last time?
In your second pregnancy there is also an element of “yep, been there done this…can we move along now please?”
Lets just get it clear- its OK to feel these things.
All this is, of course, interspersed with moment after moment of sheer wonder, joy, excitement and gratitude. But if you truly cannot find the time…how can get the birth prep in? How can you make time for yourself and this baby?
Lets bring it right back to basics. You are not who you once were. Life is not what it once was. Becoming a parent has changed your life so utterly that there is no going back. Becoming a mother changes so many aspects of you, its no wonder you don’t recognise yourself in this pregnancy. But can we first just realise that no matter how busy, how tired, how drained and energy zapped you feel- taking care of yourself and making time in this pregnancy to prepare and connect is NOT selfish of you nor is it a poor use of your limited time. If we cannot give ourselves (our people creating, multi-tasking, bad-ass-selves) the gift of time everyday to ‘do the work’ (which isn’t actually work) then that is a sad, sad state of affairs…
Now don’t get me wrong, if you have done a Hypnobirthing course for your first pregnancy I strongly recommend doing a refresher course with an instructor or revisiting the on-line course you did. If you didn’t do that in your first pregnancy then now is the time to get your Hypno-on! It is never too late.
Here is a short guide to getting the essentials in on a daily basis;
1. Don’t reach for your phone, unless its to put a timer a on, spend five minutes practicing your breathing techniques before you get out of bed or once you have made it into the shower. Put your hand on your bump and think about how baby is benefiting from this slow start. Result= 5 minutes making great start to the day, practice box ticked, time connecting with your baby and you are feeling calm and ready to deal with any (toddler or partner) tantrums of the day.
2. Get those birth affirmations on as you get yourself and your little man/lady ready for the day. Repeat them out loud or in your head. Result= 15 minutes morning mindset work, complete!
3. Park further away from school/nursery/work and walk at a tempered pace the rest of the journey. Result= 10 minutes maintaining a level of fitness, encouraging baby into the optimal position.
1. Watch out for the afternoon crash!! Prepare by making sure you have a healthy pick me up snack & stay hydrated. Result= 5 minutes munching which will lift your energy levels!
2. Work is dragging you down or the little one is driving you nuts! Take a five minute toilet break (or put the kiddo in the push chair and get out in the fresh air) and get another breathing practice in. Result= 5 minutes of oxygenating that wonderful pregnant body, lowering stress levels, heart rate and creating muscle memory for labour.
1. Now the youngster is in bed and it may or may not have been an ordeal to get to this point but whether that is the case or not, you can now start your evening ME time. Sack off the washing up (what are husbands/boyfriends for?!) and head for a bath with some Epsom Salts to help soothe those aches and pains. Result= 15 mins of relaxation which will lead to less leg cramps and soothe your body.
2. Grab an early night wherever you can. I know Netflix is so tempting but honestly, you will thank me for it. Head to bed with a pen and paper to write down any fears and anxieties that came up for you- this is known as a ‘brain dump’ so you don’t have it swimming around and around. Result= 5 mins to ensure you have a clearer more relaxed mind making sleep come more easily.
3. Put your Hypnosis MP3 (like TCBS Birth Rehearsal) on and allow yourself to relax, rest, fall asleep- whatever happens is fine. Result= 20 minutes every evening helps you to replace your deep routed fears about birth with something much more positive meaning you have a calmer pregnancy and keep the fight or flight response at bay during labour.
See? You don’t need to be the person you were when you were carrying your first child. Why? Because you have got this! Find pockets of time everyday to connect and prepare and it really will make a difference when it comes to birth.