Published on "Dear Bub Blog and Magazine" January 10th 2017
There is no doubt that as we age, we grow in many ways. Our outlook on life changes, our work ethic, our mindset in relationships too; in fact just about every aspect of our life alters in one way or another.
For many of us though, the single greatest change, or life altering experience is the addition of our first child. Whether it’s learning the ropes of parenthood for the first time, or learning how to juggle multiple tiny humans all of a sudden, each child brings with it a new set of challenges. For me, the mindset approaching the birth of each of my three children, has been vastly different.
These differences can only be attributed to how I myself have grown and changed with each new addition to my family.
MY FIRST CHILD: THE INNOCENCE
Throughout my first pregnancy, I look back and think about how I just floated along in complete ignorance. After months and months of trying to fall pregnant, I could finally sit and imagine what my life with my new baby would be like. I was high on daydreams and fantasies about how my beautiful new baby would fit into my life, snuggle into my arms, and astound me with how perfect she would be.
I very much struggled with how to fit this tiny human, with her own ideas about life, into my scheduled and structured life.
The reality of the situation was incredibly different. My first child wasn’t comfortable with the idea of sleep (nor was she for the first 3 years) which created some difficulty. I very much struggled with how to fit this tiny human, with her own ideas bout life, into my scheduled and structured life. I soon realised that no matter how much help you have around, or how calm and ‘cruisey’ your baby is, there are aspects of becoming a new mother that hurtle you back into reality, in a similar way that a tonne of bricks might hit the ground from a great height!
Over time, this incredibly small person changed me in ways that I had never imagined, nor thought possible.
MY SECOND CHILD: THE JUGGLE
"My second pregnancy luckily happened very quickly, though came with it’s own set of challenges. We fell into the ‘It won’t happen straight away, so lets start trying earlier rather than later’ trap, and suddenly we’re staring at two tiny pink lines on the pregnancy test, a short 10 months after the birth of our first!"
This incredible blessing of our new baby was clouded by feelings and thoughts like:
‘Can I do this again?’
‘Have we made a mistake going again so soon’; and,
‘What if things turn out the way they did last time’
Throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy, I was still struggling with a toddler that would never sleep.
Throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy, I was still struggling with a toddler that would never sleep. I couldn’t help but wonder what we’re going to be put through. It wasn’t the most positive time in our lives. Looking back, I think we were in the mindset of ‘give our first child a sibling’, it was almost like an obligation to have a second child.
Even as I sit here and write this though, I feel incredibly guilty. A few months prior to the birth of my second child, a very good friend of mine lost her daughter at 23 weeks – we were due only a few weeks apart. So needless to say that during my second labour, when things started to go awry, all I could think about was holding my baby, and in an instant, I didn’t care how she came into the world. All of my previous hang ups about birth, labours, newborns, breastfeeding and sleep issues, simply disappeared.
My second daughter remains one of my greatest healing aids to this day. Her existence proved to me that I can do this incredibly hard job. Any ‘problems’ that rose up throughout the infancy of my first child were nothing of my doing, and that no two children, even those born from the same DNA, are alike. Her calm and cuddly personality compliments the fiery and active first born. It was meant to be.
MY THIRD CHILD: THE KNOWING
At times we’d waivered on the decision to have a third baby. Many a night we both swore we would never go again, but we always somehow placed the topic on the discussion table again. Then, few days before Father’s Day 2016 I suspected I was pregnant – a ‘surprise’ baby – not one that was planned (although no less wanted). I was planning on surprising my husband with the news on the day, and kept it quiet until then.
Sadly, the day before, I started to miscarry.
My poor hubby found out both pieces of news in one foul swoop. That day we realised just how much we wanted to add to our little family, and we set out to make it happen.
I sit here with a few years, and a few kids worth of experience, knowing exactly what I’m in for… I place far less pressure on myself to be the ‘perfect’ mother.
I’m now almost half way through my pregnancy with my third baby. I sit here with a few years, and a few kids worth of experience, knowing exactly what I’m in for. I’m more excited, more content, and more eager to meet this little person than I have been through either of my other two pregnancies. I feel like even though the logistics of handling multiple children becomes more difficult, my frame of mind has improved, and I have a better ability to handle the pressure.
I place far less pressure on myself to be the ‘perfect’ mother, because over time I’ve realised that there’s in fact no such thing… or alternatively, I already am the ‘perfect’ mother, to my children.
Behind the blog...