Children: Douglas, 4 years and Angus, 1 year
Previous blog entry: http://www.themothers.co.uk/2013/05/nicola-and-douglas.html
Life since the last blog post: I was about 5 months pregnant at the last post. Since then we have moved house, Douglas started pre-school, potty training happened (yuk!), and Angus was born. Now Douglas has started school and I’ve started back working more fully (I work for myself) since. It’s been hectic, but great, and I feel very fortunate to have two healthy, happy kids.
Motherhood since last being on the blog: Obviously it’s different and a little more taxing being a mum of two than a mum of one, however the second child really is a walk in the park compared to your 1st. You have done it before so the ability to trust your instincts is there and you just don’t fret about the little things the way you do with your first – or the way I did at least. I still worry about Douglas more than Angus in a way. I suppose everything he does is always going to be the firsts! His tantrums, his potty training, his night terrors, his settling in at school – these have all been bigger sources of stress than anything with Angus. I’m hoping that I will take all of these things in my stride with Angus when the time comes but we shall see. It seems like your 1st child is a bit of an experiment!
Having 2 of the same gender helps, but Angus is very different to Douglas in that he is way more physical at a younger age. I do have my challenges with him. There were no stair gates or cupboard locks at this age with Douglas! He sleeps better though (touch wood) so perhaps that’s down to him exhausting himself! Perhaps it’s down to us being more relaxed, and so jumping less when he stirs. Or perhaps that that is just how he is. Who knows. They certainly don’t come with manuals! He is his own person and I’ve stopped trying to find reasons for things. My kids just wake up at night and that’s it!
Has motherhood changed you? More than anything else in my life ever has, or I think probably ever will. It’s a gradual change from the minute you hold your baby. But I like to think I am still me and I think for a while I lost that after Douglas was born. I found the first few months very hard with Douglas and I’m happy to admit to feeling pretty blue on and off. I couldn’t understand why as I thought I really ought to be grateful for having a new baby. I am sure it all sounds very familiar to lots of people reading this as I think there is a grey area in regards to post natal depression and the baby blues. I was so frightened to say I might feel down in case I was branded as having PND. I didn’t have it, I don’t think so anyway, and thank goodness. But I did definitely feel anxious for longer than the norm. But what is normal anyway? It’s just a hard adjustment and no one can ever explain to you in advance how it might be. I think lots of new mums feel as I did. It’s ok to say it.
There was one thing I did to try to combat this second time round and I would like to talk about that here. I decided to keep my placenta and have it dried and made into capsules. I had heard about this after having Douglas and I swore I would try it if I had another child. We are the only mammals that don’t consume our placentas after childbirth, I think.
At the last minute I decided, in for a penny, in for a pound, and I decided to have it made into a smoothie on the advice of the IPN specialist that I had booked. This sounds nuts and grim I know, but it really didn’t taste of anything other than the berries she blended it with and I was consuming my own bacteria from my own body so it’s not dangerous. The hospital (Wythenshawe) were fully supportive of us keeping the placenta in fact my midwife was very pro it. After what was a tough birth with Angus (I opted for a natural birth after a C-section with my first child so it was like a first labour for me) I can honestly say I healed very well, my milk came in easily and quickly and I felt way better mentally than I had 1st time round. It could be a placebo effect or it could be that the placenta smoothie worked. I’d do it again if I had another. I know the government want to ban it and I thoroughly disagree. So anyone out there who fancies trying it I would say do it. I used the Independent Placenta Network for it.
Hardest parts of being a mother: Relentlessness. That’s all; just that one word. It is relentless. Sometimes you just feel like you need a break.
Best parts of being a mother: All the rest.
It’s so, so, so rewarding to me now, on top of all the things I said about having Douglas in the last post, to see my 2 boys interact as little people. I thought the gap of 3 and a half years would perhaps be an issue until they were much older but already I see how Douglas cares for his brother and how Angus is developing so quickly as he watches everything Dougie does. It’s so sweet to watch and it makes my heart swell with pride and love every time I catch a secret glimpse of them playing together.
What you wish you’d known before having children: That sleep deprivation is used as form of torture for good reason…I think maybe I said that in my last post too!
Any more advice for mothers and expectant mums? I think I’ve probably said plenty above about baby blues, placentas etc. but really for me I would say try to trust your instincts. You are usually right. And if you aren’t it’s no biggy!
Plus try to let other comments pass you by. I had an old lady in Sainsbury’s tell me I was a bad mother for leaving Angus asleep in a baby trolley seat strapped in while I walked 3 paces away to get some milk! It’s best to ignore those people! They’ve nothing better to do. Sadly I had only had about 4 hours sleep so she got a mouthful from me!