As a Mum of three, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of the things that I wish had been shared with me, as our family grew from one to two children. I've got a lot to say about the upping the ante from two to three, but that's another letter.
Our second child the lovely Coco was very much a wanted baby, but certainly came as a bit of a surprise. I had miscarried around three months before and we definitely were not 'trying' to get pregnant. So, when I found out we had conceived around nine weeks into my pregnancy, the news was unexpected to say the least.
While some of the emotions I experienced, were related to the worry of losing another baby, most of the feelings of fear were connected to the evolution of our perfect little family unit. The fact I had 'been there and done that' with my son two years before, made my worrying feel self indulgent. And as no one had spoken to me about this type of thing before, I felt isolated and a bit abnormal. It should have been easier second time around right?
It would have been great to get the memo about sharing the news with my friends and family after I had had my twelve week scan. The one that said, "don't expect much more than a pair of barely raised eyebrows." Number two is never going to get the same amount of air time, but you get that more than anybody right?
If one of my friends, midwives, anyone had said to me, "How are you feeling about giving birth this time?" Rather than assuming that I was absolutely fine, because of my first successful home birth. I would have felt I could breathe a little more. It wasn't so much the 'birth bit' but the worry I couldn't be that lucky again. This feeling stayed with me, until I started my hypnobirthing practice. If this is one of your fears Kate, know that you can have a second wonderful birth too.
I needed someone to sit me down and say you don't have to stop loving your son as much to make room in your heart for this new life. That was definitely one of my biggest concerns but it didn't need to be. It's true what they say about the heart, there isn't a finite amount of space or love. The more children you have, the bigger your heart becomes.
I wish I'd known while it's normal to worry about how my son was going to deal with our new addition, I didn't need to fear it as much I did. As siblings, sometimes they're lucky and love each other like best friends, right from the start. And other times they'll fight, irritate and frustrate the hell out of each other until they are old enough to appreciate that they are both equally amazing human beings that are fortunate enough to be in each other's lives. Sometimes this happens simultaneously.
Once your new little one has arrived it's totally normal for your eldest child spend a disproportionately high period of time with their father, while you are looking after and getting to know number two. Dividing and conquering is part of the course.
Having two isn't exactly double the work, at least not from an emotional perspective. You're more relaxed because with two children to cater for you can't obsess over every little cry and sniffle as you did with your first. The big difference is the down time, you don't get any. And you often find yourself wondering how you managed to feel so tired first time around.
When it comes to balancing your time between your two children and your husband, you'll feel you're getting much of it wrong every single day. It does get easier.
Pregnancy the second time around, can be beautiful, affirming, exciting and humbling. It can also be stressful, challenging and leave your head feeling a bit like mush on a bad day. For me, hypnobirthing was the single most powerful tool for helping me let go of all of the fears that I didn't feel I could talk to my friends and family about. But if I'd had someone there telling me that everything I was feeling was part of the course too it would have been even better.
So, from me to you...it's all normal. Relax, enjoy and be kind to yourself.