Pregnancy worries the first-time round
Three years ago, when I was pregnant for the first time, all my fears were based on the unknown. How will I look after a baby? How do you change a nappy? Will I be able to breastfeed? How will I cope with hardly any sleep?
Top of this list was giving birth (in big bold capital letters).
Back then, to me, birth meant fear, pain, blood, screaming and a miracle (there was one positive in amongst all that fear). These were the five words I wrote down to describe birth in class one of The Wise Hippo hypnobirthing course, and as my teacher pointed out, I hadn't given birth before...I didn't know what it would feel like for me.
These thoughts had come from what I'd seen and heard about birth, not my own personal experience.
Anyway, after my hypnobirthing course and lots of practice, alongside plenty of prenatal yoga, swimming and a bit of massage. I went onto have an amazing calm, special, natural and relaxed birth.
Fast forward to today and this time I know that birth can be great. Intense, yes. Long, yes. But something that I can, (know it might sound weird), enjoy. Not just because of my experience but because of my experience combined with the experiences of all those I've taught.
Many of my couples have had straightforward labours and others have had complications, but they've all had positive birth experiences where they've felt calm and in control. I've learnt so much from them too.
I can honestly say that I'm not scared about giving birth. I'm actually looking forward to it. If you'd told my younger self that, she would have thought you were crazy.
Yes, I've come along way in terms of birth.
I also feel more confident about lots of things - trusting my own instincts, knowing what I'm doing with breastfeeding, nappies, baths and getting baby to sleep. I'm generally far more relaxed and confident this time round.
Pregnant again, different worries
But don't get me wrong I'm scared. I still have pregnancy worries. Now I'm scared about the practicalities of having two - if it took me all day to leave the house during the early weeks with one, how long does it take with two? Will I actually manage to leave the house...?
I'm worried sbout how my daughter will cope. Yes she loves her baby dolls. But when our cat sleeps on my lap she'll often say 'no, that's my mummy' and try to push her off. And she often gets upset when I cuddle clients' babies - eek
I'm also scared about going on maternity leave, I've built a business that I'm passionate about, that I love. I want to work. I love meeting new people, seeing them transform - from scared about birth to confident and excited. I love making connections and getting to know the couples I teach. I will miss that, even just for the few months I'll take off. But I do want to take time out and be with my new baby. It's that work/life balance thing again that we all struggle with.
I guess, like the first time round, these fears are ultimately about the same thing - they're all about the unknown and how I'll cope.
Hindsight is great.
- This time round I will say YES when people kindly offer help of any kind. I won't think I have to prove that I can do this by myself.
- This time round I won't be so hard on myself and I won't look at online forums - if this baby can't nap in its cot by 3 months I won't stress. I'm going to carry this baby with me wherever I take my toddler.
- I will go to as many coffee mornings, classes and playgroups as I can.
- Last time I had a colicky baby from 6-20 weeks and I hid at home during most of that time as she could and would often cry for most of the day. This time I have a whole list of things I will try - cranial osteopath, checking for tongue-tie and getting it snipped, reflexology and a chiropractor.
Yes, hindsight helps a lot.
Deborah Pryn writes for various magazines and blogs at Riverside Hypnobirthing. You can watch some videos of hypnobirths here: Birth videos and read birth stories from first and second time mums and dads here: Birth stories