Being a parent to two under-two has been an interesting time for us. My toddler daughter immediately learnt how to constantly repeat the sentence "mummy put baby down" whilst my body reeled from the effects of two so close in age. Our little bundle didn't seem to get a look in to begin with. I didn't enroll him in swimming classes for newborns or baby sensory as I had with the first; I relied heavily instead on the entertainment my daughter was providing him at home.
Being in my late thirties with a toddler to chase after, I felt exhausted during the second pregnancy and absolutely wiped out after the birth. It was a physical and mental challenge going from one to two. It was at month three however, that I was faced with a real hormonal shift, resulting in a lot of my hair beginning to fall out. It was slow at first, just a few more strands than usual in the shower, then, suddenly, over a two-week period I started losing so much that I was worried I was going to go bald.
As soon as I could, I booked myself in with the doctor and had some blood tests. Having done my own research (thank you Google) on postpartum hair loss, I specifically asked the doctor to check my ferritin levels. Low ferritin, according to trichologist Philip Kingsley, is one of the main possible reasons for female hair loss. Low ferritin means that the iron storage is being used up with very little left to support less-important functions such as hair growth.
As suspected my ferritin results came back low and I was prescribed strong iron tablets. Within two weeks of taking these, plus my own homeopathic remedies and acupuncture, I felt stronger, energised and able to fully participate in life with kids and all their demands. One month down the line I can even see small amounts of regrowth sprouting around the edges of my hairline. It is a beautiful sight!
As time has gone on everything has settled down and my daughter now really enjoys her brother being around. I've taken him to the occasional music group and even managed a bit of baby swimming - albeit not the religious weekly classes I used to go to with the first. I've realised it is nearly impossible to treat each child exactly the same and I'm over the guilt of not managing to do so. I decided it is better to have a relaxed atmosphere at home then a stressed out timetable-chasing one.
Having worked as a jeweller in Hatton Garden before having children, I needed to mentally adjust to no longer having the freedom to work whenever I wanted and leave the house whenever I needed to after having a baby. I still attempted to work with my first until my daughter got to the stage she was no longer happy coming to the studio with me. She needed to be played with. I had to rethink my career. Making jewellery from home was never a real option. The mess from making jewellery (soldering, sawing, filing) is huge, and our home is small.
By the time number two came along, I had resigned myself to my situation. Although I love being home with the children it can sometimes be boring. However not only have I fully accepted that being at home is where I belong for the next few years, I have also discovered a new career path that allows me to be home. Studying to be a Homeopathic practitioner means I can spend time with my children and still exercise the grey matter - with the focus of a career ahead. If I had not had the two of them, I would never have discovered this path.
Having two children has been a miracle and a joy (especially when they are both sleeping through the night). We are now five months down the line from a four-day labor, three months of feeling like a wrung out, tired hermit, three months of intensive milk pumping (due to non existent latching on), four and a half months of broken sleep - and I am evidence that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Normality does reign eventually. Having kids is worth the physical pain, potential hair loss, career changes and mental tiredness. Having kids is life enriching and also if you allow it, it can lead you to onto paths you had never thought possible.