My name is Amy, I am 30 years old and I live in Cambridgeshire with my partner, son and soon to be daughter!
Having had a challenging experience during, and after the birth of my first child in April 2015, I have decided to write a blog about my second experience, detailing the highs and potential lows along the way. I'm having another section, (planned) as my son's birth resulted in an emergency section.
"So why are you writing a blog?", I hear you say.
I teach a psychological training programme called 'The Thrive Programme' which I have to say, categorically helped in maintaining a healthy perspective of the overall experience following the birth of my son last year. I well and truly 'walk the walk' of the programme and live my life in the same way that I teach my clients to live their's every week. Because of this, and because there are just so many women out there who are feeling frightened at the prospect of giving birth either for the first time or following a traumatic previous experience, I thought to myself....."well why not share?"
When I first fell pregnant, many of those close to me thought I had gone stark mad to be having another baby so soon and even more surprised to hear that we were over the moon about it. The truth is, when you are Thriving, you don't analyse situations, you certainly don't hold onto the past and you feel quite powerful because you know you have good coping skills, therefore, why would I not have another baby or even one so soon after? People do it all the time right?
Its baffled me that throughout the past few months, I would say 90% of the time, when making a purchase or at a checkout in a supermarket, people look at my one year old (throwing the contents of the trolley on the floor or rather eloquently attempting to chew his way to freedom through the trolley) and then clock onto my rather large bump and decide to tell me that 'I'm brave' or that 'I'm going to have my hands full'. Now, as much as I appreciate that both these statements may well be true, if I put myself in the shoes of someone who is rather anxious about their imminent arrival, I'm not sure how welcome I would find those comments, I may even find myself brooding about it and wondering if I've just made a terrible mistake?! Which is what has also led me to try and blog about my experiences from the perspective of someone who has been through the programme, teaches the programme as well as lives by the programme and therefore potentially help improve the experience of many more mums who are trying to overcome daily hurdles/challenges with their pregnancy/labour/children and lets face it, the reality of the situation is there are A LOT!
Now I would very much like to clarify that I am not one of those people who preaches that child rearing is a walk in the park and our home is filled with love hearts and pink ribbons, that my child has always slept through, is well behaved and I feed him 5 star nutritious home cooked dishes everyday. The reality of the situation is that walks in the park usually result in dicing with death on more than one occasion due to having a child who will only run at his fastest pace and rarely in a straight line. Our time at home consists of cleaning up after him and discussing his latest digestive issues, cold, ear infection, temper and cleaning the walls or sofas from the remainder of his meals, 50% of which is regurgitated. He only just started to sleep through from 10 months and only because we finally decided that being up every 3 hours to tend to his inability to put himself back to sleep after 'stirring' was not going to work for us, especially when we have four jobs between us. Oh, and he refuses my food, probably because cooking isn't my strongest point (this is a goal I'm working on).
However......as much as I'm sure all current mums can relate to the above there is also a world of pure happiness and a bottomless pit of unconditional love that comes with having children. They bring you an element of joy which is so great it just doesn't feel real at times. They are learning all the time and following in your footsteps whilst you take on your daily routines as well as responding with such joy to the simplest of things.
So how am I feeling at the moment?.....READY! Having sciatica and a one year old as well as being heavily pregnant and still working is proving achievable but has not been without its challenges. I've got a daily mantra 'this is for now, not forever' which has helped somewhat as well as doing my daily 'Thrive' exercises in order to keep my patience levels as high as possible.
Research suggests that when you desire control to a high degree but consequently do not have it, you tend to find you lose perspective relatively quickly and will inevitably slip into meltdown mummode with the ability to burst at the seams just because your partner asked you if you could pass him the salt. When you work on your coping skills, you tend to desire control a whole lot less because essentially, why would you desire control if you have great coping skills? This is proving extremely helpful when my one year old is acting up or if I'm simply tired, or in pain.
So with only a couple of weeks left until she is here, I've just about finished her room and packed a hospital bag which was such an odd but lovely feeling. Her clothes are so tiny, most of which were her brother's, it's crazy to try and imagine him ever fitting into those clothes, especially only last year! Today I sat on the bed in her room and looked at her tiny cot and imagined her lying there which in turn led me to think about the moment she is handed to me and having the opportunity to embrace it as opposed to the relatively rushed, dramatic situation we found ourselves in with my first born. By managing my thoughts and imagining all the things that I WANT to happen, as opposed to what I fear will happen, any anxiety I have about the birth is at bay and essentially all I would like is a healthy little girl. I genuinely cannot wait to meet her and bring her home to the madness.
I appreciate that having two under two comes with its own challenges but that blogs for another day.........
If you'd like to know more about The Thrive Programme please take a look at www.thrivewithamy.org or www.mummythrive.com