The naked truth - Pregnancy & Toddler
As mothers we somehow manage to cope with whatever lemons life gives. You pick your head up and you make the most of every moment. When you look back and think about how you got through, give yourself a pat on the back! Not only are you strong because of your children or families - sometimes you are strong simply because you are.
Believe it! Live it! And love it! Challenges make us strong, confident and supportive women.
This is the naked truth about my experience of raising a toddler whilst being pregnant.
To say that I was fulfilled after welcoming our firstborn (Joia-Belle) into the world, is an absolute understatement. At that time I couldn't wrap my head around having a second baby. Franco, on the other hand, was ready for the next one when Joia-Belle was only one week old, or so he thought... You can only imagine that I couldn't possibly see the humor in that bold statement as I had just given birth.
But when Joia-Belle was about 9 months old, I developed a profound hankering to fall pregnant again. I was ready to have my second. In fact, so ready that our reality of not falling pregnant as soon as we had hoped, left a whole - a deep unimaginable ache. It's a type of longing that consumes heart, mind and soul. Bless all who are still awaiting their babies with this yearning desire and remember to never lose hope.
I fell pregnant just a few months later. We couldn't be happier! But the truth is, ever since that very moment, there's been a considerable amount of challenges:
We took the long UK flight when I was between 1-2 months pregnant. During the first trimester of this pregnancy I struggled with morning sickness at midnight and craved foods that made me nauseous. Not even to mention the extreme tiredness and lightheadedness that come along with the territory. In other words - I had it bad!
We arrived at our destination with nothing but three pieces of luggage of our own and one that was packed with Franco's Springbok kit. We had a week to settle in as much as possible before Franco left to fulfill his Springbok duties. Yes! ONE week. In a new country, by myself, with a toddler, pregnant and with nothing but the essentials. Joia-Belle and I actually enjoyed this part so much! We had two weeks to do as much as possible to impress Franco when he gets home :)
Was it challenging? Without a doubt! But we made memories that will last a lifetime. And, I thought that we did a great job settling into our new home, if I have to say so myself.
2. Dad is #1
Franco takes a lot off my plate, especially during this last month of pregnancy. Now he is the only one who gets do all the fun stuff with Joia-Belle. I'm referring to activities that a pregnant woman definitely shouldn't be doing, or physically can't do anymore. He really gets to spend quality time with her - so much so that I feel like I'm losing out. I'm still on duty to facilitate the less risky activities. I try to make these as entertaining as possible to be able to spend that quality time with her. But these low-risk-for-pregnancy activities can only keep a two-year-old entertained for a short period of time. I don't blame her, obviously she'd rather want to do something more exciting her dad instead.
3. Your pregnant body doesn't move like it used to, mama -
How hard is it to try and explain to a two-year-old that you can't pick her up; or that you physically struggle to get in and out of a bath; or that there is absolutely no way that you still fit into the small openings at an indoor play area? She cries and begs to sit on my belly...and I simply can't allow it. What goes through her mind? I hope and pray that she doesn't feel abandoned. Especially if the situation is as bad to her as it is to me.
4. Fatigue & Tired
Whether it's your first or third trimester - feeling nauseous, fatigue and tired is part of growing your miracle. Toddlers have a lot of energy which they need to get rid of. This makes it hard to keep up when we do shopping or when she wants to play. What is supposed to be retail therapy literally turns into hell, so much so that I need some rehab and a new mindset thereafter. I was forced to find a midway that keeps everybody sane and happy. Now I try to sleep when she takes her afternoon nap. Also, we do all our shopping online and everything gets delivered to our doorstep - from groceries to party decor! And it works like a dream. Goodbye Stress and hello Peace! Do what works for you and your baby - no one else matters like you guys.
5. Toddlers have a mindset of their own
Before I had kids I used to be that person who thought 'mmm, I wouldn't ever allow this... or my child wouldn't dare to...' Toddlers are strong willed and narrow minded. They don't ask for your permission and there is absolutely no room for discussion. When they want something, you should have given it to them yesterday already :) Who blames them? It's a toddler's birth right to act their age. I say this based on my experience, but also keep in mind that everyone is different and your toddler might be the exact opposite. The naked truth is - I don't fight against her will but I'd rather compromise until we find a way that works for both of us.
It's absolutely irrelevant whether others agree or disagree on how you raise your child/ren. No one knows your miracle/s like you do. Take a deep breath and know that you are doing an amazing job, mama!