I’m 9 weeks into raising my second and last EVER child. A boy. Wonderful news especially as I already have a girl. One of each as they say. I’ve heard boys are easier, and they love their mothers more, I will test this theory when they are teenagers but I’m very happy to have been blessed with both. Apart from the fact that my son was born during a pandemic, a day before lockdown in the UK, ( and I will write about that experience soon) my pregnancy experiences were completely different. The geographical location of each pregnancy, my personal growth and ability to panic less are some of the major differences.
I fell pregnant with my first child in 2013 in Thailand and returned to Zambia two months pregnant. I remember not being able to tell my mother about the baby till I was 3 months pregnant because of the shame an illegitimate pregnancy carried and still carries today. The fact that my partner at the time had stayed in Thailand and I had returned home alone, pregnant and unemployed further fuelled the tension with my mother. With my second child, I am now living in the UK, I have a partner who is supportive and the question of illegitimacy has not crossed my mind or anyone’s lips. not even my mothers.
With my first pregnancy I had no complications at all. I was also 28 years old. With my second at 34, I had two weeks of unexplained bleeding which thankfully turned out to be nothing. I put it down to a few things, with my first I was unemployed and living with my sister in Zambia. We had a house help who cooked all my meals and did my laundry. However with my second, I was working up until the 8th month, running my own home, looking after a 5 year old and a man, so basically two children! The second was therefore definitely the more stressful of the two. Being pregnant with another child running around added its own set of challenges, I still had to be a mother, while going through all the motions of pregnancy. It was however really lovely to see my daughter excited to have a sibling. If you have more than two children I’ll have to salute you as I have no idea how you do it and I do not intend to find out.
When I first fell pregnant I was determined to give birth naturally but the labour was slow and with no dilation I ended up having an emergency c section. With my second baby in the uk I decided from the onset that I would be having an elective c section. I remember sitting in the doctors office justifying why despite being healthy I wanted a c section. I was simply scared. Having lost my sister in 2009 when she died during labour, I had developed an irrational fear of giving birth and luckily I was allowed to have the c section. I must say that was the best decision for me, I was given a lot of information on what to expect with the C-section and I met the doctors that would carry out the surgery on the morning of the birth. It was a very comforting and surreal experience. I was even allowed to bring in my own music and though I was tempted to bring in the ‘circle of life’ from the lion king I settled for the ‘stand by me’ album by the kingdom choir who found fame after singing at Harry and Megan’s wedding. The surgery was over in under 30 minutes and as I was awake I got to meet my son right away. My partner was able to cut the umbilical cord making the moment special for both of us.
I am now almost 2 and a half months postpartum and I haven’t lost as much weight as I would have liked. I remember losing a lot of weight with my first child and 6 years later I was expecting my body to do the same thing. However, I am reminded that I moved in with my mom after giving birth and I had the joy of having my own house help, doing the laundry and holding the baby while I did my Zumba workouts. With my second baby born in lockdown, there’s no passing the baby to anyone but my partner. So the weight is not coming off and its going to take more than a few Zumba videos to lose the weight this time around. Also as soon as I was ready to work out (after the 6 weeks recommended time), my partner went back to work leaving me home with a very active 6 year old and a 2 month old who refuses to take naps unless I’m holding him.
There are a few things that have made this pregnancy experience much easer and I will list them here.
1) nursing pillow; https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=nur sing+pillow&ref=nb_sb_noss I didn’t have one of these with my first child but I was gifted two by my friends and they are a good way to prop baby up, to help to get baby in the right position for easier latching during breastfeeding or if you simply want baby’s head to be upright when you need a break from holding him/her.
2) Next to me Crib;https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chicco-Next2me-Side-Sleeping-Crib with my first child I shared a double bed with her till she was three years old. This is discouraged as could lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome but it is for your own discretion. This crib goes right next to your bed so baby feels like they are next to you. Its quite expensive so be sure to stalk your local Facebook market place for a good 2nd hand one.
3) baby nest cocoon; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-nest-Sleep-Pod-Portable when my son outgrew he’s Moses basket and we decided to move him into a next to me crib, he had other plans. He screamed non stop and would not settle unless we took him out of the crib. I figured this was because it was very roomy in there. This cocoon gave us back our sleep as it fits in the crib but keeps baby snug giving the impression that he was still in he’s Moses basket.
4) Nuby teething Mitt; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nuby-99548-Teething-Mitt for early teethers. At eight weeks old my son started displaying symptoms of teething. He refuses a dummy and I cant comfort him by breast feeding all the time so this little affordable glove helps babies who haven’t mastered the art of holding onto a teething ring and prevents them from scratching themselves.
5) Infacol; https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=infacol&ref=nb_sb_noss you will want this if your baby is colicky. Its amazing and it actually works. Using infacol to ease my babies colic taught me that its okay to use products that are safe to make parenthood easier. I’m always looking for natural remedies so I wasn’t too keen on trying infacol. I had resolved to myself that I would ‘heal’ my babies colic by obsessive burping and I would stay up for over an hour on some nights to burp him just to avoid using infacol. I gave in when it was obvious my lack of sleep would only make mothering more difficult and I haven’t looked back since. However, do extensive research before introducing your baby to any products and always consult your GP.
Having had two children in two very different circumstances has taught me a lot and I can therefore conclude that children can be raised without the fuss of expensive gadgets and unnecessary medication. Things are good to have and can give quicker results but remember always that women have been having children since time began so go easy on yourself, your bank account and your body. There are a few things that can really help though and I highly recommend them; love, support, family, and a good nights sleep, whenever you can get one.