‘Woooo Hoooo, we’re having another baby!’ Before I had children I wanted 5 boys. People used to joke that I wanted to start my own football team but I was set on 5 boys, no more, no less. I then had a child and that 5 soon turned into 2 children: 1 girl, 1 boy. I am now a week away from having my second boy! We definitely want a 3rd child (and I am going to push for a 4th but my husband doesn’t know this yet). Now, I just want them all to be happy and healthy, I couldn’t really care less if I had all boys or girls if I’m honest. When we found out we were having a 2nd child it was a slight shock but a lot more exciting because we felt we were definitely ready for it. We have a house that is big enough, we both have stable jobs and we have Jaxx who keeps asking to be a big brother.
But, oh wait…what’s that? There it is again, MUM GUILT! It came flooding in again and it doesn’t help that I don’t have the best pregnancies in general. I suffer badly from sickness until about 22 weeks (I’ve ended up on medication both times). I then had low blood pressure which made me dizzy and I am currently on iron supplements, so before I was on those I was unbelievably tired. I felt as if this was really affecting my mothering skills and I have cried so much because I feel like it could be ruining mine and Jaxx’s relationship as I have now become quite (in his words) ‘boring’ and can’t do the fun things he enjoys at the minute. I then started asking myself how I was going to love baby number 2 as much as I love Jaxx, surely it’s not possible! This is a crazy way to think because I am my mum’s second child and I don’t ever feel unloved. Everybody I have spoken to have said these feelings are normal and will come and go, which I’m hoping is true.
Alongside all of those worries I started to worry about myself – I’m epileptic so pregnancy is always a bit of a concern anyway. What if labour doesn’t go well and I am in a horrific way afterwards, not being able to look after any of my children? What if it affects me mentally and completely changes the life I have at the minute. All of this isn’t helped by the fact that I am a hypochondriac (according to my husband), so if there is a possible negative outcome with anything, it does cross my mind a thousand times over. Then, on the other hand, I get all happy and excited about this new little adventure, seeing Jaxx grow into an amazing big brother and getting to make so many new memories as a family of 4.
We waited for the first scan and all the blood tests to come back before telling Jaxx, which a lot of people told me was too early but I was being sick several times a day and we were in lockdown so there was no way of me hiding it and I could tell he was starting to get worried. We got him a hoodie that said ‘big brother’ and wrapped it up alongside the scan picture which we gave to him a couple of days before Christmas. He was over the moon! He just kept shouting ‘oh my god’ and touching my belly. What we didn’t do was prepare for the 100s of questions we were about to get for the next 5 months. At first, the questions were the typical ‘when will he be here?’, ‘where does he come out?’, ‘did you buy him from the shop?’. Then come the funny questions like, ‘who will wipe my bum?’, ‘does he poo in your belly?’, slowly followed by the heart-wrenching questions like, ‘who will be my mummy now then?’, ‘I’m sad about having to share my mummy’. These comments made my eyes rapidly fill with tears and question every part of becoming a mum of 2.
We have been very conscious of heavily involving Jaxx, he has helped to pick clothes and blankets with us and he keeps suggesting all kinds of names. So far we are working with; Link, Cloud and Julie – not a great selection for a baby boy I know but I think this has really helped with him understanding that there will be someone else around very soon. It has also helped me to realise how excited he is and how much he is going to love it which means all this guilt will be unnecessary.
In terms of work, I don’t think I could have timed this baby any worse! I am due just as everything starts going back to ‘normal’. Schools are running at capacity, holiday clubs are back in full swing and I decide to have a baby. It has been stressful to say the least, the team have been great and luckily I have been able to delegate most of my jobs to other team members but sometimes I do admit I find this difficult. When you have done something yourself for so long it is really difficult to put 100% trust in somebody else doing it (although they are definitely more than capable).
I don’t know if I will mentally allow myself to have maternity leave, with Jaxx I had 12 months which was bliss but this time I am in a fortunate enough position to pick my own hours and work when I feel up to it. Work is my little getaway and mentally it does really help me so I won’t put pressure on myself to work every hour under the sun but it does really help me clear my headspace. However, come back to me in 5 weeks time and work will probably be the last thing on my mind!