I am currently 25 weeks pregnant with my second child.
Little-me-to-be is due to arrive some time around the beginning of May, and theoretically I'm looking forward to meeting him.
I say 'theoretically' because, although I'm pleased to expand my family, and I ruddy ADORE babies, part of me isn't 100% behind this whole having-another-human-reliant-on-me-in-the-really-near-future kinda thing.
This isn't something I confess easily. I know many people - including friends I know and love - who are desperate to conceive. There are women (and men) who would pull out their own teeth to even have half a chance to be in my situation. I appreciate and am thankful for how ridiculously lucky I am.
Yet however much I tell myself I'm thrilled and happy, there is a part of me that is totally freaking out; and this horrible truth is getting increasingly harder to ignore.
Objectively, I can see what the issues are. Firstly, having experienced the joy of childbirth for the first time in 2013, I'm not super stoked about revisiting that particular treat again. I was expecting a calm birth - a serene birth - and I'd taken a hypnobirthing course that had taught me how to 'breathe my baby out'. I hired a birthing pool and recited affirmations and practised magical breathing techniques with my beloved.
When the time came though, the birth was not calm. I did not breathe my baby out; I screamed my baby out. My hippy-chick home birth developed into am ambulance transfer and stirrups affair. When I pushed Maya out I wasn't doing 'J breaths' with my husband, I was clawing at the hand of a 19 year old student paramedic called Jake. He was lovely and made me tea as I passed fist-sized blood clots afterwards. It was the most insipid cuppa I'd ever tasted and I drank it gratefully.
I discovered afterwards that was a textbook 'easy' birth.
Another fear that's plaguing me is sleep. Maya is the best thing in the world, but she was a dreadful sleeper. My husband and I endured month after month after month of exhausting broken nights. She didn't start properly 'sleeping through' until she was about 19 months old: around about the time I conceived our second child (funny, that).
I'm really not looking forward to not sleeping again.
Sleep deprivation is the pits.
There's other stuff too, that's more tricky to articulate. Fear and concern about how Maya will react when confronted with her brother: a brother who will constantly demand attention and take up lots and lots of her beloved parents' time. And there's fear and concern about how I will react when confronted with another baby: another baby who will constantly demand attention and take up lots and lots of my beloved time.
I feel like the most despicable person for admitting this, but part of me is dreading having this kid. I'm scared and I'm anxious. The excitement I felt first time round is notably absent. Sometimes I forget I'm pregnant at all, and it feels quite nice.
This is my awful secret.
But then, but then.
I hold my friend's three-month-old baby today, and I don't want to give her back. I stare into her eyes, coo at her open-mouthed smiles, pull her little body close to me. Everything stops. She is so soft and beautiful and perfect and bewitching; I am all-consumed. And my body tells me it's OK, this is how it's meant to be.
The real truth:
Fear is just fear. Anxiety will pass.
All will be well when I hold my boy against my heart.
This post first appeared on Lotte Lane's blog