I’m part of a Facebook group of Moms. At least once a week I see someone post that they are pregnant again or thinking about becoming pregnant again and they have a baby under a year old. And the idea of being pregnant with such a young child in their care frightens them. And rightfully so. I know I personally didn’t know how I’d survive another 9 months of pregnancy while taking care of my then 8 month old.
Well, the good news is I did in fact survive it. And although everyone’s experience is different I thought I would write about mine to perhaps put other’s minds at ease.
When women first find that they are pregnant again so quickly they often feel embarrassed to tell others, especially if this was an unplanned pregnancy. I wish that I could write that everyone will be so excited for you and you’ll feel silly for worrying. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I don’t think people intend to rude but I can’t tell you how many times I heard “you didn’t figure out what caused it the first time?” People are hilarious (eye roll).
Everyone who is important to us was happy! We are lucky to have a very supportive family that was nothing but overjoyed. This is not the case for every expecting Mother. Some will have families that worry another child so soon will be too much to handle.
If you’re a working Mom you are probably scared to tell work. For me this was a huge fear. I work at a small company. In the 30 years that my boss had owned this company he had never once had an employee go out on maternity leave. And here I was, 6 months back from maternity leave, pregnant again!
The best advice I have is to prepare yourself for judgement. Have a list ready to rattle off of all the reasons you’re excited to be pregnant again. Your kids will be close in age and be best friends, won’t be jealous of one another, you’re getting the years of dirty diapers and no sleep out of the way. Focus on the positives and don’t let other’s opinions bring you down.
As for handling 2 kids, first off know that you CAN do it. Personally, I decided to make a plan for how we were going to handle 2 before I told those that would question the logistics of having 2 so close together. For me this mainly meant work.
I did the math the day I found out I was pregnant. If I stayed at my job I would be paying just $100 short of my entire check to daycare. Working 40 hours + a week to make $100 would be insane. So my husband and I decided I would be leaving my full time job. I knew when I quit my boss would likely offer to let me keep some clients and work from home on a commission basis. So we weighed the pros and cons and decided if this was offered to me that I would try to make it work. And if it wasn’t offered or I wasn’t able to keep up with the work load from home I would start waitressing 2 or 3 nights. We also decided I wanted to be done before mid June (baby was due the beginning of August) because summer time is really busy at the radio station and I would end up working 50+ hours the last weeks of my pregnancy. In the summer heat. It was not worth sticking around those last weeks.It made me feel better to have this all planned out before I told work I was pregnant. Then I was able to go in, have one conversation regarding me being pregnant and what my expectations are.
Luckily work did offer to let me keep some clients and work from home. It was at this point we began telling others (beside immediate family, they were told about a week after we found out.) This way I could answer when people asked how I would afford 2 in daycare.
Don’t let other people’s uncertainties make you feel any less excited. I repeat you CAN do this!
When I was pregnant with Lucille I was SICK! All day, every day, for 9 months. I tell people it’s lucky I got pregnant with Lennon as a surprise because I was so sick with Lucille that I’m not sure I would have voluntarily put myself through that again.
Luckily for me, I was not nearly as sick the 2nd time around. I honestly believe (I’m not a doctor) that my body was still kind of used to being pregnant so it made round 2 easier.
However, I still did get sick several times. I don’t know how to explain how I got through taking care of baby #1 when baby #2 was making me hurl into a toilet. You just do what you have to do I guess. Sometimes Lucille played on the bathroom floor while I prayed to the porcelain god. Other times my hubby had to hang out with her. Sometimes she was playing or sleeping in a safe place and I just let her be and hoped she stayed entertained until I was better.
It was hard because Lucille was not old enough to understand why mommy was sick. Sometimes it frightened her. But I would just smile and tell her mommy was okay. Once the actual puking subsided I would give her extra snuggles so she knew I was still there for her.
Shortly after I became pregnant with Lennon I lost my milk supply. I was losing it anyways. (I’ll go into more detail of my breastfeeding struggles in another post.) It is certainly possible to keep breastfeeding throughout pregnancy, but many women struggle to keep their supply up. If continuing to breastfeed is a huge priority of yours, some extra pumping sessions might be in order. If extra pumping sessions aren’t an option (my job made this impossible) you may need to let breastfeeding go.
I made myself feel better about having to give up breastfeeding by reminding myself my goal was to make it to one year and we made it two thirds of the way. Sure it would be good for Lucille to continue to get breast milk for 4 months, but it’s not a necessity. And in the long run I don’t think it’ll have much affect on her. Whereas having a sibling will be a positive influence on her life always.
I’ve also heard that besides pregnancy making it hard to keep your supply up, some women’s milk flavor changes. So again, if the flavor changes and baby no longer wants it, make peace with the fact that you’ve come as far as you have.
Fatigue and Sleeping Arrangements:
Lucille co slept with us until the day Lennon was born. This was not the plan. When I found out in was pregnant I told Peter we had to get her out of our bed. I was worried as I got larger I would suffocate her.
We tried repeatedly to get her in her crib. She wasn’t having it. I said we’d try harder when I got bigger. And we did. And we tried a toddler bed. Still, nothing worked. And by time I got to the point that I had a belly big enough to suffocate her I realized it wasn’t an issue. Because I was not sleeping!! I was more tired than I’d never been in my life, but I could not sleep. I had bad insomnia with Lucille but it was twice as bad with Lennon. And when I did sleep it was very lightly. Every time Lucille or Peter moved it woke me up.
I’m not saying everyone in my situation should be co sleeping. Obviously if it doesn’t seem safe, I would recommend finding other sleeping arrangements. But even though having Lucille in bed with me may have made me even more tired throughout my pregnancy, I’m glad she was there. It was my last few months of having her as my only child and I wanted to spend every possible moment with her.
Caring for baby with big belly
Just as I was scared to sleep with Lucille with a big baby belly, I didn’t know how I would carry her and chase after her when I got towards the end of my pregnancy. And it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. Sure, it was awkward. Sometimes my back hurt pretty bad. But it was doable.
I need to give my hubby a shout out here for helping me. By time I got to the large part of my pregnancy I was home with Lucille all day, every day. So when hubby was home he went out of his way to do most of the carrying and chasing. Without his help, had I never gotten a break and been the sole caretaker of Lucille, I’m sure my opinion on this issue would be different.
If you don’t have a strong support system in order, you need to find one!
Does soon to be big sibling understand?
Lucille was so young when I got pregnant that I accepted that she’d have no idea what was happening. And she probably didn’t. But she seemed to understand that there was a baby in mommy’s belly. And she loooved babies. Whenever we were around babies she would not leave their sides. And she’d always point to my belly and say baby, like she was announcing to others we were having one soon too. At home she’d lift my shirt and kiss my belly, again saying baby.
Hilarious story: One time she got angry with the baby. She was laying on my belly as I was trying to snuggle her down for a nap when Lennon gave a strong kick. She must have felt it pretty good because she lifted my shirt and hit my belly and said “no baby!” Their very first fight!
If you’re reading this in preparation of having Baby #2, CONGRATULATIONS!! Check back soon as I will be posting quarterly updates on the highs and lows of a 16 month age gap!!