Monday, 18 January 2016

Sticking at Two (but wanting more)

I’ve had a Rolling Stones song stuck in my head for the past few weeks. Now obviously that is an awesome state of affairs. But the reason it’s in my head is perhaps not so awesome.

This could be the last time
This could be the last time
Maybe the last time, I don’t know.

I’ve always been drawn to big families. I’m the youngest of three, my Mum is the youngest of five, and I have an impressive array of cousins and second cousins. I love it. I love it to the point where, when I was dating my now-husband, I told him I wanted five kids.

Ever the pragmatist, he managed to talk me down to four. Then to three.

And I was still quite keen on the idea of three until I got pregnant with number two. But this pregnancy has made me realise I can’t do it again.

I know that many women would be aghast at me for saying this but my body is not really made for pregnancy. I have low blood pressure, meaning a first trimester plagued by dizzy spells and fainting. I have always been easily fatigued, meaning I currently struggle to get through a day without a nap. And, probably most importantly, I have a pelvis that just doesn’t behave itself.

In my first pregnancy, I developed Pelvic Girdle Pain (also known as SPD) at around 30 weeks. That was bad enough as by the end I was pretty much housebound. This time I started getting symptoms at 6 weeks. That means I’ve now been in near-constant pain for 6 months. And I’ve around 2 months to go.

Not only is this pretty miserable for me, I feel awful about the effect it’s having on Preschooler. My energetic girl who loves to run, climb and roughhouse is being seriously limited by the fact that Mummy can’t run or even walk fast, can’t bend down, can’t sit on the floor, can’t even have her sitting on her knee some days. Mummy’s too tired in the afternoon to go for a walk or do crafts. Mummy’s grumpy because of the pain and sleep deprivation, so gets irritated by repeated requests to play babies, or school, or Christmas. I feel like I’m letting her down. And I know that I’m doing this to give her the sibling she’s longed for, but I can’t help feeling like it’s not fair on her that she should be so limited because of my rubbish body. If I’m struggling to look after one child whilst pregnant, how much harder would it be with two?

There’s also the fact that I’ve now been a stay-at-home mum for four years. Yes, I work from home, but I don’t feel I can really take off with that until I’m done spending most of my waking hours looking after my children. I want to be able to stay at home with the next child as I have with Preschooler, but I’m not sure I can manage more than five years of trying to fit the other bits of me around that. I feel like my professional life is on hold.

So it looks like we’re sticking at two. This could be the last time I’m pregnant. Part of me feels relieved at that – no more pregnancy sickness, horrendous dizziness, mobility problems etc – but mostly I feel angry at my body for letting me down. And scared that I will forever feel like our family is not quite complete. Of course I love my two children, and I know they will always fill my heart, but I never thought I’d end up with a small family. I feel unbelievably blessed with the family I have, but I’m worried that I’ll always miss the child I didn’t have.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

5 Things I've Learnt About Being Pregnant at Christmas

I know, it's 3rd January now and the Christmas season is nearly over, so I'm a bit behind on this post, but hey, I've been busy! Christmas is swiftly followed by Preschooler's birthday, and the exhaustion of having all that to deal with made a blogging break necessary. But it's not Twelfth Night yet, so there's still time to squeeze in a festive post!

Technically speaking, this isn't the first time I've been pregnant at Christmas, but as last time I was actually contracting throughout Christmas Day (and Boxing Day ... and most of the day after) it didn't really feel like Christmas. So this Christmas really opened my eyes to how different it all feels when you're carting a tiny human around inside you. Here are five things I've noticed:

1. Chocolate is everywhere.

This wasn't such a problem first time round, as then I craved chocolate. (Although Preschooler did turn out to be almost 10lb, so maybe it was a problem!!) This time, however, I have produced a child who hates chocolate. I long for it, but at the same time the very thought of putting chocolate in my mouth makes me queasy.

The trouble is, there's a lot of chocolate hanging around at Christmastime. Especially if you don't manage to spread news of your chocolate aversion to everyone and so end up getting boxes of the brown stuff as presents. Sigh. Time to hide away that Chocolate Orange so it doesn't taunt me from now until March.

2. Alcohol is harder to avoid than you'd think.

I don't drink. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm completely teetotal, but I can't remember the last time I had an alcoholic drink. So I thought that aspect of a pregnant Christmas wouldn't be an issue. Until of course I got a whiff of the Christmas pudding my mum had bought. Blimey. That stuff was 20% proof, I swear. Which meant I had to pass on seconds, which I NEVER do. Sob. Mind you, that may have been a blessing in disguise because ...

3. My stomach is much smaller right now.

As far as I'm concerned, if you don't have seconds of every course of Christmas dinner, you're doing it wrong. Same goes for the Boxing Day buffet. In fact, most Christmasses I've quite happily had thirds. But with a foetus restricting my stomach capacity, that second plateful of food quickly looked rather foolish. No wonder the poor kid was wriggling so much, can't be easy to get comfy with 2lb of sprouts and roast potatoes squashing your toes.

4. I'm lucky my husband has school holidays off.

Fatigue has been a huge problem for me this pregnancy, and doesn't mix well with looking after a preschooler. It really doesn't mix well with looking after a preschooler who is high as a kite with festive excitement and only actually went to preschool for one day in the last fortnight of term due to a string of stomach bugs and a school closure. Being able to have an afternoon nap most days has been the only thing that got me through the Christmas holidays, so thank goodness my husband is a teacher!!

5. It's all very exciting.

There have been times in this Christmas season when I've felt like me being pregnant has hindered Preschooler's opportunities to enjoy it all. Having SPD meant that I couldn't take her to lots of fun festive events, and when I did I'd be laid up the next day. When I've felt guilty about this, I've reminded myself that next year there'll be someone else celebrating Christmas with us, a lovely 9 month old (ish) baby, and we'll be able to do lots of fun stuff as a family of four. Celebrating the birth of a baby is bound to make pregnant mums reflect on the new life they'll be welcoming into the world shortly, and all the gestational grumps have been balanced out by the excitement of thinking about the new baby we'll be saying hello to in around two months!

I'm linking up this post to #BlogBumpClub over on the Budding Smiles website. If you find me through this, hello! How was your Christmas?