The special things I did to help me connect with my second baby

The special things I did to help me connect with my second baby

Every child and every pregnancy is a blessing, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying, it can be hard to find the same wonder, awe and excitement second time around. It’s just not the same, no matter how much that second baby was wanted, wished for, dreamed of and worked for.  
For me, I was not in anyway ready to be pregnant again and was actively trying to not get pregnant when I found out I was expecting. Instead of the tears of joy and relief I felt seeing those two lines first time around, this time a cried heavy, hot terrified tears of ‘what the hell am I going to do with another one?!?’ Then I cried some more thinking about my first born having to share me. Then I cried some more because I knew my husband also wasn’t ready. Then I cried some more because I was still nursing my first at least 2 hourly around the clock and I was ever so tired and I had no idea how I would be able to do it all. Then I cried even harder, full of guilt for this unborn, undreamed of, unplanned, tiny wee soul in my belly, who I knew I would love with every inch of my being and I knew I would have to make this work for in the end.

It was not the happiest time in my life.

But that’s okay.

I was in shock. I wasn’t ready, but I honestly believe this is partially why we are pregnant for as long as we are. It gives us time to be and feel ready. It gives us time to get our head around things and gives us time to find our feet.

I think it was our 12 week scan that finally saw me truly happy to be pregnant again. I had found my protective mama bear streak was well and truly in force again right from the time 2 lines came up and with an early scare or two and the complete feeling of dread and heartache that immediately came, I knew I already loved and wanted this little soul with all my heart, but the happiness did take time.

Even once the happiness arrived, there was still so very little time for me to focus on being pregnant with this new little baby, I swear weeks would go by and I’d almost entirely forget that I was in fact pregnant.

A toddler with almost constant needs both day and night and the daily grind, simply did not leave me much time to ponder.

It was after my 12 week scan, which our toddler had attended, that I realised that it might help and benefit both my baby and I, for me to consciously make some time for ‘us’.

If I didn’t want to look back on my time being pregnant as a blur of toddler and very little recollection of this baby in my tummy, especially if this were to be my last, then I needed to work out how to take stock every now and then.

So here’s what I did-

  1. I organised someone to have my toddler for at least some of my antenatal appointments– Having my toddler in my antenatal appointments was 100% necessary some times but can I tell you, those appointments were less than ideal. Between entertaining him and feeding him endless snacks while we waited, trying to stop him touching everything in sight while I tried to wee in a cup in a hospital toilet, to trying to actually mention more that a cursory, ‘yeah, I think I’m okay, just very tired.’ When my obstetrician asked how I was travelling and then strapping the toddler into pram so I could lay on the bed for a two second ultrasound through which the toddler howled and I tried to soothe from a distance, then balancing him on one knee, holding both hands while I had a blood test so he couldn’t assist with the needle and then getting in the car to realise I hadn’t asked any of the questions I had and hadn’t even glanced at the screen to see my baby. It sucked.  Organising either a play date with a friend or my husband to come and sit in the waiting room with the toddler became a god send.  I actually started to look forward to my appointments. Not only did I get to focus on my baby for a little while and savour seeing his wriggly little body on the screen and hearing how he was growing and progressing and asking questions about things, I also got to have that time to enjoy and think about me and my pregnant self. I got to sit and chill out in the waiting room. I got to talk with other pregnant mamas, who were tracking along with me and admire our growing bellies. I could pee in a cup without commentary. I could just breathe and be in this moment.  I never thought I’d come to love or look forward to antenatal appointments as much as I did, but they are something I actually look back on fondly. This is probably helped by me having the most beautiful obstetrician on earth who I actually enjoy seeing.  
  2.  Once babe was kicking, I’d try to respond to his kicks and tumbles by either stroking the spot or talking back to babe- I would sometimes go all day without really noticing any of his kicks, but every night when I’d lay down to sleep, he’d get his little groove thing on … that was our time. Our time for gentle rubs and quiet words. My little life in my tummy.  
  3. I packed an emergency labour bag for my toddler, wrote instructions and teed up several back ups for just in case– I found I was becoming increasingly worried and nervous about my toddler as I entered my third trimester. My first labour was so ridiculously fast, I had very valid worries about how quick this labour would be and what I would do if I went early before my mum arrived to stay at 38 weeks. It started to become a preoccupation and my sole focus. A lovely midwife I spoke to about my fears made the excellent suggestion that I go home and pack up a special bag for my toddler with everything he’d need in case of emergency, write out a list of instructions and attach a house key to it and then tee up my emergency contacts (preferably more than one) who I could call and meet us at the hospital if things kicked off quickly.  I did this, and the calming effect it had on me was enormous. My focus was able to shift back to my baby and my thoughts and energy became all about birthing him safely, knowing his big brother would be okay.  
  4. I organised care so my husband and I could stay with our new baby in hospital for a couple of nights – We had never even had a single night away from our big guy before the birth of his brother but I knew what a strong bond he had with my mum, his Nana, and she had settled and resettled him off to sleep many times. I decided that as long as he was coping well with Nana and Pa, then my husband and I would take the opportunity to stay in hospital (thankfully we had a private room and the option for him to board), as our dedicated time to our new baby. To bond, to have unlimited skin to skin, to try and work out feeding and to sleep and rest as much as we could, knowing our toddler was happy and well cared for. We knew once we got home, we would never have the same opportunity for such unrivalled time with this baby.  In hindsight, it is one of the sweetest times in our lives. Our toddler visited morning and night and he had the most amazingly special time with his Nana and Pa and we lived and breathed our perfect new baby with no stress and no pressure. I honestly could not have asked for more.   
  5. I organised family support for the first 4 weeks after the birth– I knew that I’d eventually need to work out how to meet my baby’s needs on my own but I also knew that I’d be in the best place to do that if I granted myself some time to recover physically, allow my hormones to settle and allow myself time to work out the intricacies of my new baby and establish my milk supply all while my toddler had other hands on deck to ease both he and I into our new world.  We live far from family and so when they come, they stay with us. I know for some families this would not be ideal, but for us … it was the best thing ever. For the first 4 weeks, I did not cook, clean, change a toddler nappy, hang out a load of washing AT ALL!!! My amazing husband, parents and parents in law, took this and largely my toddler on and you know what? We ALL benefited from the experience! They have the most sensational memories of their time here and a treasured bond with their darling grandbabies that can only be forged through genuine loving, trust, time and affection. They also have my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for their time, dedication and love to our little family while we needed them so.  

So that’s it. This was my way to way to find special second time around.

I may have started my pregnancy in a less than ideal frame of mind, but oh my goodness, taking my thoughts and feelings in hand by accepting them and then working to find more positivity not only for myself but also for this baby who deserves nothing less than to be cherished and adored, was by far the best decision I ever made.

These simple steps made the world of difference and allowed me to take stock and be mindful of the wonder of pregnancy, birth and my new baby, and for that I will always be grateful.

💙Enjoying reading Grubby Mummy articles? Join us on Facebook 💙

Advertisements
GUEST BLOG- An 11 month old’s vent about his mum

GUEST BLOG- An 11 month old’s vent about his mum

By Adilah Stone 

Hi. My name is Zachariah and I’m 11 months old. I just need to have a vent about my mother. I mean, I’m usually a pretty sweet kid but lately I’ve been losing my shit like ten times a day. 


She just doesn’t understand me. Every time I get her attention she just tries to rub this stinky shit on my gums or make me drink some toxic crap. When really all I want is dad. D.A.D! How many times do I have to say it! I go to his office door calling and knocking and she just comes and takes me away! 

What. A. Bitch. 

Don’t get me started with dinner! I’ve played her games up until now but she just keeps trying to make me eat with my hands, all this big stuff that I’ve gotta chew too. How many times do I have to tell her, Give. Me. Stewed. Apple!! And geez is it really that hard to get me a spoon! 

And yes I feel abandoned. She’s always knicking off to help that loud little narcissist running around or mucking around in those cupboards I can’t reach or just living it up on the toilet. Just take me with you and give me that toilet roll to chew on! Geez! Is that too much to ask! 

And don’t get me started on our sleep and nap issues! Just let me sleep on the boob, why she gotta always try ‘transfer’ me? Seriously! She goes on about me gnawing on her nipples all night and won’t let me nap on the boob coz she’s gotta take care of that brother kid. But seriously, he can take care of himself, I’ve seen him eat with a spoon AND make the right sounds to get what he wants. 

Anyway enough about him. She is just being selfish. I’ve tried to sleep train her. But she doesn’t get it. She tries to confine me in this wrap thing that is really just like a bigger nappy and I’m so over it! If boob is too hard then just drive me around in the car for an hour. But she always says she’s tired and it’s dangerous to drive like that, but I’m like, just down some more of that black shit and get that motor purring! 

Anyway, I know you guys all have mothers so you’d understand. 

Sorry for the rant. X

💙 Enjoying Grubby Mummy articles? Join us on Facebook 💙

I just want to enjoy my baby!

I just want to enjoy my baby!


While putting my darling toddler to bed tonight after a very trying day, I lay there and reflected again on what we’ve been through together and what a joy and delight he is in my life. I didn’t always find joy and delight in him though. 

At my lowest, one thought kept swirling through my head, ‘I just want to be able to enjoy my baby.’ I desperately wanted to enjoy him but I could not fathom how I could possibly enjoy him unless he started to sleep. 

I battled on desperately trying to achieve the unachievable… To make him sleep like a ‘normal’ baby. I continued to fail. I almost started to grieve the fact that I would never get to enjoy my baby. 

It is so hard for me to think back on that time without getting a little frustrated with myself. The answer was right there in front of me all along. But I couldn’t see it. 

The answer was to simply start enjoying my baby. 
Enjoy the baby I had in all his glory. 
Enjoy his intricacies, his uniqueness, his human weaknesses, his heavenly strengths. 
The only thing holding me back from enjoying my baby was my head. My heart had been there from day one but my head. 

That damn head. 
So full of overthinking, so full of SHOULDS and SHOULDN’TS. 
So full of worry, anxiety and fear. 
My head that didn’t know who to listen to and who not. 
The head that desperately pawed through sleep training books and forums looking for answers. Magical fixes. 
Damn head. 

It robbed me of a good 6 months of simply enjoying my baby. 
This baby who is now the most delightful, engaging, gentle soul. 
It’s hard to imagine or recall how I ever could not have enjoyed him. 
My darling first born. 
He taught me how to mother. 💙

💙Enjoying reading Grubby Mummy articles? Join us in Facebook 💙

Status

When giving everything you’ve got is still not enough

My two year old is particularly intense today. He’s demanding more from me even though I have nothing more to give. He’s not himself. He’s acting out and doing things he never does. He’s hurt the baby three times intentionally. He threw the clean clothes out of the basket and all over the floor and then called me in to show me. He kicked the dog and threw his breakfast on the floor. I know this uncharacteristic behaviour is all him desperately trying to tell me he needs me, he needs more from me but I am honestly at a loss as to what it is he needs! I have given every cuddle, every distraction, every ounce of attention, listening, hearing and understanding and STILL he wants more.  

It doesn’t help that the baby refused all attempts to get him down for his sleep. His continued presence has certainly not helped.

As he hurt the baby for the third time, I felt something crack in me. But, as I scooped the baby up, I took a deep breath and calmly walked my toddler to a room and closed the door.

I did not put him in timeout. I did not think he was learning anything being shut away but he was safe.

He was safe from my rising anger and safe from his own loss of control.

I then calmly packed our bag and loaded it and the baby in the car. I went and retrieved him from the room and gave him a big, warm cuddle and I explained and reassured him about what had just happened. He calmed quickly and I loaded him in the car.

We got out.

We escaped from the ever escalating frustration and misunderstanding we had going on at home.


The baby still didn’t sleep but nor did he cry. He happily crawled around and had a few quick feeds to keep calm. My toddler got to dance and sing and enjoy rhyme time while I got to sing and smile and build some positivity back up with my guy.

As we left, I made sure everyone had a full tummy and had extra drinks for hydration. We then loaded back in the car and cranked up some Classic FM for a calm drive home. I took the scenic route to give me a little longer to just chill and amazingly, when I pulled up at home, I had two peacefully sleeping babes who even transferred to bed which in itself is a small miracle.

So here I lay, between my babes. Soaking up the peaceful sleepy vibes and I appreciate how far I’ve come and how far I still have to go on this journey of gentle parenting.

It is so hard to not lose your temper. It is so hard to remain calm. It is so hard not to join the storm. If I find it so hard, I can only imagine how hard it must be being two.

I may not have been able to meet all his needs today and I know he needed more but I also think he knew I was trying as hard as I could and for today, that will be enough.

💙Enjoying reading Grubby Mummy articles? Join us on Facebook 💙

Status

‘I bet you can’t wait to get them out of your bed!’

‘I bet you can’t wait to get them out of your bed!’

Actually I can. 
Time passes by too darn quickly watching my babies grow to ever want to live just ‘waiting’ for the future. 

I’d rather live in the here and now. 
Right now I live in the land of twilight cuddles, nursing, sweet milk breath, tiny hands, kicky legs, sleepy sounds, toddler nightmares, teething pain, cries in the night that I can calm just with my touch, my presence. 

My bed is incredibly full right now, although the new addition of a single mattress next to our King has created the space we all needed to feel comfortable. 
I didn’t choose bedsharing first time around. My baby chose it and I will be forever grateful to him for forcing my hand. 

Second time around, we chose it from the start. Why?

  • Because it feels so right for us. 
  • I get more rest. 
  • My babies have me promptly when they need me. 
  • I can be the parent I want to be through the night. 
  • It’s easy when we travel. 

My husband and I will have years of our bed to ourselves. 

I can wait for that. 

Right now, our family bed is for our family. Always present. Always comforting. Ever loving. 

💙 Enjoying reading Grubby Mummy articles? Join us on Facebook 💙

Labels that just might stick …

Labels that just might stick …

The hyperactive, careless troublemaker versus the energetic, experimental, hands on enthusiast?

Which of these two people described, sound like they will go on to live a happy, valuable, secure and successful life?

Both may, but the path is bound to be easier for the second person who has all of these strong, positive personal traits in their armour to help go out and enjoy this world while the first person would need to battle against their negative labels and push past these expectations placed on them by others.

Now you are probably wondering where I’m headed with this.

Last week, I attended Pinky McKay’s wonderful Toddler Tactics seminar and during her presentation, she made the point that children will see themselves the way we tell them to see themselves. A self fulfilling prophecy. If you tell your child they are naughty or bad often enough then they will internalise this and see themselves as ‘naughty’ and ‘bad’. This wasn’t news to me as a primary school teacher. I’ve heard it all before but while I was sitting there listening to Pinky skilfully point out the flip side to common traits that may be considered ‘bad’ I realised that I had honed my own skills through years of writing report cards but never really considered the full impact of my words.

I must admit, as a teacher, before having my own babies, it did actually grate on me that I wasn’t able to simply ‘tell it like it is’ when writing reports and begrudgingly ‘sugarcoated’ what I thought parents really needed to hear. In short, I was a bit of an arsehole.


You see, if I couldn’t come up with at least three positive words to describe a child I worked with 5 days a week, then really that was my problem. I obviously hadn’t been able to connect with that unique little human and they weren’t able to connect to me. I’m the educated adult in the pairing and so the onus really is on me to sort this out.

Being a teacher is incredibly hard work. The workload is massive. The behaviours that enter with some of the children in your room can make it an extremely draining, deflating and thankless job. With the curriculum as pumped up and intense as it is, along with huge pressures on teachers to jump through hoops to prove that their class can do XYZ in some stupid standardised test that will be used to pummel said teacher when she fails to get her children over the arbitrary line, it can be hard to see the forest from the trees.

No teacher worth their salt will see value in all this testing and yet they will work their ring out to try and buffer their kids the best they can from the pressure. Unfortunately, the skills that are really needing to be worked on and would truly benefit the kids in our classrooms are sadly rushed or absent in the curriculum altogether. Finding time in an overstuffed day to simply ‘connect’ with the unique people in front of her, is a luxury that many teachers simply cannot do justice to.

And so, the behaviours are ‘managed’ the best that teacher can as she soldiers on, trying to ensure her charges get the most they can from what is put in front of them. Just ‘managing’ is exhausting. It wears you down. It’s hard when you’ve worked your butt off to try and make your classroom and lessons as accessible and engaging as you physically can to have children still so disengaged and often times disruptive. You look at the faces of your hard working little ones and the resentment starts to seep in. The ‘ungrateful little shit’ thoughts come to mind. The ‘why won’t her parents sort this out’ thoughts rear their ugly head. The reward charts, the bribes, the communication books, the buddy classrooms, the warnings, the threats, the calls to admin … All add to an ugly cycle in that child’s life. 

I knew it but not as I know it now. 

Now I’m a mum. 

Those troubled kids are someone’s baby. Now I’m a mum, I can fully grasp the sheer magnitude of this. Their uniqueness. Their struggle. Their need for love, understanding, connection and security. I get that all ‘negative’ behaviour is communication of an unmet need.

I can finally see why we were expected to write our report comments in this positive way and it has bugger all to do with political correctness and politeness and EVERYTHING to do with giving that child something of worth. A recognition of THEIR worth. Of their unique and perfectly imperfect traits that whilst troublesome in the flawed educational setting, are not necessarily troublesome for the real world and real life.

I now see it as a huge responsibility and honour to raise my boys to see that every weakness has a corresponding strength and that their light will always shine brightest when they are able to be truest to themselves.

One day when I re enter the teaching world, no longer will connection be pushed to the backseat. It will be at the forefront of every interaction with my children. I WILL as the adult with my knowledge, skills and powerful role work to help each child see their true colours, no matter how challenging they may be right at that time. When I feel the disconnect arise, I will pause, reflect and try to remedy this. 

I know at times I will fail as I am mere human after all, but I will do my best to find my focus and regroup as many times as it takes.

The hyperactive child will be the someone who works best when physically engaged.

The quiet, serious child will be the deep thinker.

The daydreamer will be the imaginative soul.

The class clown will be the one who works best when connected to others. Vivacious and friendly . A born entertainer.

The talkative child will be a gifted sharer of ideas.

The one who disagrees with everything will be the one who isn’t afraid to challenge authority in the quest for understanding. A true seeker of justice

The easily upset child will be the sensitive soul and the peacemaker.

The child who is afraid to take risks will be the cautious thinker.

The child who struggles academically but excels with social interactions will be the people person who makes others feel special and valued.

I could go on and on. I cannot imagine all that I will see as each unique person who will present in front of me will challenge me to find them, their true self. 

I will never again allow myself to do another child the disservice of not ‘seeing’ them. Seeing through the behaviour. Seeing the soul beneath. And doing my level best to make sure it’s not only at report card time that they hear what I can see in them. Connection. Value. Affirmation. We owe it to our children.

💙 Enjoying reading Grubby Mummy articles? Come and join us on Facebook 💙

‘Why on earth do people have more babies?!?’

‘Why on earth do people have more babies?!?’

This is the question a dear new mummy friend of mine posed to me last week as she stared at my toddler racing around on his trike while I constantly swooped in to rescue the baby as he chased the wheels like an over excited puppy. Why indeed.  

I remember my husband and I, in the depths of sleep deprived exhaustion, looking at each other and saying the same thing. Why the f#%^ would you have more kids once you know the ‘joy’ of having one?!?

Well, I think I can answer this at least from my perspective anyway.

Firstly, if you are the mama of one dear baby looking on at mums with 2 or more babies wondering how they do it because you are finding one more than enough to handle, ease up on yourself. First time around is every bit as hard as you are finding it. Those mamas would’ve felt it just as keenly as you do. It’s normal.

First time around, the emotional, mental and physical exhaustion is like nothing else. It’s all new. The baby and all its little intricacies, the baby care, the sleep deprivation, the feeding, the new identities of mum and dad, the lack of control, the uncertainty, the naivety, the body changes, the hormone changes, the responsibility, the expectations for the future as well as the expectations already crushed and rethought … It IS an enormous amount to take on and process.

And then there’s teeth, milestones, sickness, separation anxiety, possibly a return to work and many more bumps to navigate. Why oh why would you want to throw another baby or two or three in for good measure? Why?

Because it’s completely different second time around.

I think this is even more true if you’ve not had the easiest route first time. You have been broken in. The surprise factor isn’t there. You know what’s coming and you know it will pass. You can see past the drowning moments to the very quickly approaching time where you’ll be swimming along just fine.

Sure, it’s seriously freaking tough and there has been MANY more occasions of ‘What the f#%^ have we done and how about you go and get the snip directly honey because I sure as shit won’t be doing this again cause it’s f#%^ed!’ But in all honesty, it just happens. The same way the days just tick by with one and before you know it your baby is a toddler.

I never got to the ‘I’m ready for another baby’ stage … I fell pregnant while still in the ‘I don’t understand how this world is still populated’ stage. And even I can say, there are more babies because for everything that is harder with two or more, there is even more that’s easier! The logistics can be a killer but the emotions are way more in the realm of manageable.

That first baby, well it’s doing its bit to keep this world growing. It’s training its mum and dad in the ways of the baby world. Listen to that baby’s lessons and before you know it, you may just find joy in doing it all again with another tiny soul who is just the right fit for your family and get to learn even more lessons on this crazy journey that is parenthood.

Chin up new mama, you are doing just fine x


💙 Enjoying reading Grubby Mummy articles? Join our Facebook community here 💙