Life is all about experiences
As we constantly tell our children it is all about learning from our own experiences. So when I fell pregnant with my second child I thought, ‘this time I’ll feel more in control and less stressed because I know what to do’.
Of course, the small logical part of my brain new this to be complete nonsense and that no two children are the same let alone two pregnancies, but nonetheless I continued with my naive fallacy for a good long while.
Looking back on it now, I can see that actually holding on to this idea that second time around would somehow be easier actually caused me more stress than less. I wanted my second pregnancy to be just like the first (even though it had been stressful, I knew how to handle that particular stress!) But of course it wasn’t, not even remotely. I was so sick I could barely function for the first 17 weeks, but this time around I also had a 3 year old to look after. First time I was pregnant, I was sick a couple of times and that was it. The differences I could list for you might fill a page, but I’ll spare you the details! Let’s just say it was hard work both emotionally and physically, much like my first, but just in completely different ways.
When baby number two arrived, even the birth was totally different, but had I learnt my lesson about not expecting everything to be the same, well no not really. My son (number two baby) was not remotely interested in being soothed by anything other than my little finger or by food-so for two nights I had no sleep. He refused to sleep in the cot and would only sleep on me, which of course meant that I was not allowed to sleep in the hospital. I was so relieved when I got home! His birth however was actually a lovely experience. Baby number one (my daughter) had slept like a dream from very early on but arrived after a traumatic birth.
I expected my son to sleep like my first child, and share the same patterns. But of course he didn't because he was and is a totally different person to his sister. Logically I knew all of this, but hormones and tiredness can play havoc with your brain and I persisted in thinking he ‘should be eating like this’or ‘why isn't he sleeping like that’.
And at one point these thoughts actually led me to believe that I wasn’t bonding with my son as well as I had with my daughter. Of course this was nonsense, but I couldn't let go of the idea that there should be a recognisable pattern for me to follow with my son. Not necessarily the same pattern as my first born, but a pattern all the same.
And of course, the pattern with my son was that there was no pattern and once I realised this and relaxed into simply being his mum, I enjoyed it so much more. Allowing him to be his own little person gave me the space to enjoy him so much more and to relish the differences rather than fight against them.
It’s a natural thing to do though I think, to use your prior experience to inform you of the next similar event. But actually where pregnancy and children are concerned, you almost need to unlearn these experiences and remember that much of what you know won’t necessarily help all that much. And what will help is taking each child as an individual, right from the very start.
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