My second pregnancy began back in October 2015, when my firstborn Ridha Zaynab was only nine months old. It was around this time of year, and perhaps I am getting a bit nostalgic of it all. Reflecting back on the journey to motherhood and being able to write it all down is a reminder of how far I’ve come and how much has truly changed in our lives. So this post will do just that, take you on a journey with myself- becoming a second time mom.
I remember this time because it was just after our beautiful fall family photo shoot done by Visionaire Photography. And if you can tell from the photo, I was finally starting to get back into shape. I thought my post-baby body episodes were finally coming to a climax, and although things won’t ever be back to the way they were, I was beginning to feel comfortable in my own skin. And lo and behold, it started again.
My pregnancies have never been too bad, Thank God. My first one consisted of inexplicable, endless cravings, aka lots and lots of donuts, melty, cheesy dishes and I discovered a deep love of eggplant. The second time around, the game changed. I had a bout of horrible morning sickness for all nine months. Thankfully, I was prescribed a godsend morning sickness medication that took care of that problem.
No, the game changed for different reasons. I could no longer rely on pampering, because I was the one doing the pampering – pun intended. I had a baby to take care of. In the midst of preparing baby foods, diaper changes, nursing my baby, spit ups and keeping her entertained, I would forget my current state of pregnancy. Multiple times a day.
So the thing about forgetting my pregnant state? Well I meant it. I didn’t do this intentionally to myself, but I took horrible care this time around. My first pregnancy was all by the book, reading and studying the endless pregnancy material in all its forms, health-conscious eating and exercise, you get the point. Second time around, I think the only thing I got right was making it to every doctor’s appointment.
The Real Challenge
It wasn’t until third trimester, that I couldn’t possibly forget even for a moment that I was carrying a child. How could I overlook a giant bump, that prevents you from sitting, standing, sleeping or putting on socks and shoes without struggle? Putting all those aside, the challenging part was managing to carry my baby, and carry my baby. Meaning I was constantly carrying my one year old, who refused to climb steps or walk on her own. And I was carrying her unborn sister, which I think was a challenge in and of itself.
Mom Guilt and Stress
This pregnancy was no joke. Never mind the physical strain of carrying a child, but the anxiety that came with it was an added pressure. I didn’t know how I would manage two babies, a year and a half apart. How I would be able to give my toddler attention that she needs, while taking care of a newborn who is completely dependent on me? The thought is a scary one, and would keep me up, though I don’t think I ever discussed it with anyone. Delivery was a piece of cake in my mind, but the post-baby-coming-into-the-world part was stressing me out.
And if all of that wasn’t enough, add to it the constant mom guilt. I felt that we were doing an injustice to my firstborn, who herself was just a baby and who needed to stay a baby a little while longer. But this new infant would force her to grow up just a little bit faster.
Throughout my pregnancy, I religiously took my daughter to toddler groups at the library, the park, any enriching activity that I thought she’d enjoy. Because it was the only one-on-one time that I would be able to give her. I remember fatigue and episodes of dizziness on some occasions during these outings, but I didn’t want to take that away from her. And so began my balancing act, that is still something I struggle with today.
One thing about having a baby, doesn’t matter if it’s your first, second, or fifth, is how truly magical it is. When we welcomed Rabab Fatima into the world, all the fears, stresses and anxiety just magically vanish for that time. Everything seems possible, and positive, hopeful and amazing. I won’t say that those challenges I faced didn’t reappear, because they did, with brand new ones. However, the stronger faith I had in God that everything would be okay, and the more I believed, the more things did get better, gradually. And hey, we survived it!
I always used to ask mothers in my family and my own mom, how it is possible to love every child unconditionally and equally. Well I didn’t know. I didn’t know how powerful a mom’s heart could be. Each child makes a space in her heart, fit for only them.
How was your second pregnancy different than your first?