At 23 weeks pregnant and with number 2 on the way, it has definitely been an interesting journey.
The biggest difference I note from my first pregnancy is the heightened level of fatigue. When pregnant with my daughter, I was at the gym 3 times a week at 6am, eating well and with bounds of energy. I could easily continue to work and go out each night for late dinners, movie nights.
This time around is so different. If I can still have a conversation with my husband at 9pm it’s a miracle! I find the after kinder hours even more tiresome than normal and if I can get through the bedtime routine without losing my patience it’s a good night.
When sharing this with other parents their regular response is: ‘You have another child at home, of course you are more tired’.
When my daughter takes 25 minutes to choose her outfit and get ready each morning, I find myself huffing and puffing through gritted teeth whilst rolling my eyes back till they can roll no further. Later in the day, I catch myself and realize this is the complete opposite approach I should be taking with her.
Soon, she will no longer be the only child and I will never regain these precious one on one moments ever again.
It makes me realize that not only is she feeling the huge impact of an impending sibling, but I also am a little nervous at what a life changer it’s going to be.
For various reasons my husband and I will have an almost 5 year age gap between our children and obviously there are pros and cons to both situations where the age gap is less or more. Our daughter will be old enough to ‘help’ (this is what I’m told anyway :). She will want and need to be included as much as possible in shopping and caring for the baby. On the flip side, how can she not feel a sense of resentment when all of a sudden after 5 years she is no longer the center of the universe?
I can already see how it’s impacting her. Preferring my husband to put her to bed each night, which is something new. Perhaps she’s already creating a defense mechanism, preparing herself for when the baby comes and she has reduced mummy time. This often means that her bedtime takes much longer and by the time my husband has finished putting her to bed I am already so tired that we have very little time to catch up about our days.
She is also doing new things to get our attention (both good and bad) and I guess this is the inevitable journey we all must go through.
Being a sleep consultant and having a natural interest in consulting with parents and understanding their journey, I find it interesting when you reflect on your own. I shared this with my husband over the weekend how important I felt it was to implement specific family time each week where our daughter is the focus and there are no work distractions. Phones must be switched off/laptops in the other room etc.
Last night was our first time of implementing ‘family movie night’. I know it sounds like a simple thing to arrange and there are probably many families that do this on a regular basis, but not in my house where work schedules rarely correlate and phones stop ringing and my husband and I happen to be home and awake at the same time.
We told our daughter in advance so she had a few days to get excited for it. The movie selections are always hers, and we even promised snacks.
Last night’s movie night was a huge success and I couldn’t believe how happy she was to have both of her parents by her side for a full two hours with no distractions. Of course bedtime was much later than normal and it was hard to calm her down but it was worth it.
Such a small and easy thing for us to arrange that would have cost less than $10 and I know it will have such a positive impact on her life. It really does hit home how important it is to have designated family time each week, especially when expecting as these moments of ‘3’ will so quickly be over and we will never be the same again once the bub arrives. It really is important to savor these moments. I will try to remind myself of this tomorrow when she takes another 25 minutes to get ready for kinder.