Handling Pregnancy with a Toddler

It’s hard enough being pregnant. Your body transforms itself into this whole other being. Hormones rage as your emotions run high, your body sweating constantly with food cravings raging. Just getting through the first trimester can seem like an accomplishment in itself for those who deal with morning sickness. Pregnancy is a crucial time of change within your body and your soul. Physically you may feel worn out and exhausted, especially once you get towards the end. Yet even so, first time moms don’t realize just how easy they got it. It’s a whole other story when you have another kid already in the picture.

Toddlers the Explorers

Toddlers are learners on the verge of discovery with everything they do. Their eyes are always wide-open to adventure – whether their adventure involves climbing up into the window sill or knocking down all of the books off of your bookshelf. They are busy, busy little people with motives to get into trouble at every turn. Not only are they adventurous but they are fearless in everything they do. This can make a mother feel quite overwhelmed at times, especially for those who stay home as stay-at-home moms. They require so much focus and attention all day long that the mother barely has time to even remember she is pregnant. Sometimes it’s good to have distraction from it, yet other times it can just make you feel like you are lagging behind as you physically just can’t keep up the way you wish you could.

The Way it Was Before

It’s easy to look back to your first pregnancy and compare it to your second, especially when you have a young child who is still pretty new to the world himself. It’s hard not to feel nostalgic for the past, wishing that you could simply nap the day away on those days where you weren’t feeling so great just like you did during your first pregnancy. Of course this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people have better second pregnancies than first – having less nausea to deal with, feeling physically better, or possibly having a chance to stay home with any older child/children rather then work all day long. Yet even so, it is just so easy to compare your first with your second. The time that you had to put into thinking of a name back then. The way that you could just daydream about your new baby all day long, smiling and giggling to yourself at each and every little kick.

By the time the second one rolls around the state of pregnancy just doesn’t feel quite as exciting as it once did. Of course any baby is a miracle – those sweet little movements bringing joy to any mother’s face whether it be her first baby or her seventh. Yet once you have experienced it all before, seen how the fetus once within you can and will grow into a healthy person, you tend to not think about it as much. The kicks you feel throughout the day sometimes feel more bothersome than sweet, especially when you are rocking your toddler to sleep and he is awaken by the new baby’s movements from being in your lap. It is important in this situation to not resent the new baby. This is especially important when the second baby has been unplanned. It can be easy at times to feel as though the new baby within you has caused an intrusion, greatly affecting your relationship with the older child as you feel more sluggish and emotionally drained. Your older child may still feel like your baby – the idea of a newer, smaller baby entering the world making you feel guilty for stripping your toddler from his babyhood. The idea is to remember that no matter how much older your first born is he will always have a special place in your heart as your baby.

Something to Gain, Not Something to Lose

It’s important to look at the glass as half-full in this type of situation. Having a new baby in the family is a beautiful, precious thing. Your older child will only benefit from the experience, becoming more of a sharing, caring person in the long run because of his wants and needs having to be shared. Rather than being spoiled with all of the attention and love, the older one must learn to share Mommy and Daddy with his new little person. The older sibling will now always have a buddy and playmate close to his age rather than having to wait to attend a play date or visit other relatives. He also has the chance to feel more grown up himself, being able to help teach his little sibling new games and ways of doing things, making him feel quite special and confidant.

Surviving This New Change
As a pregnant woman with an older child you have to make sure you take care of yourself. It is easy to push your own limits, wanting to chase your toddler around just the same as you did before without having to strip him of his special time with Mommy. As a young child your toddler won’t care if you can’t chase him the way you used to. Most of the time he will be just as content to sit and read a book or play a toy quietly on the floor with you. You must pace yourself, allowing yourself breaks and making sure that your husband, a grandparent, or a friend is there to help you out often. As different as things are during the pregnancy it will only get harder after the new baby comes.

As hard as it may seem, it is very possible to survive the beginning of taking care of two little ones. Watch yourself for postpartum depression and have your husband or relatives keep an eye on you for it as well. It is important to remember that this isn’t the time to have your household perfect and tidy – you’ll have plenty of time for that later on as your kids get older and can help out with everyday chores. Keeping an agenda book for appointments or important dates is key for a new mom with “baby brain”. The most important thing is not to beat yourself up over the little things and to look at your children and take in all the beautiful moments that are passing by everyday. Oh and to keep a camera out and handy at all times. Before you know it you’ll be feeling that tinge of nostalgia creep back up again, looking back to the days where the new baby was in your belly and your toddler was your only focus. Enjoy it while you can!

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