Your first pregnancy was all about you and your bump, but with a toddler in tow, pregnancy number two is a different ball game.
Five second-time mums share their coping strategies:
Change your routine
‘Ask your partner to help more! I asked my husband to take over cleaning the bathroom, as bending down was tricky with a bump,’ says Becky Watts, mum to Rose and Alice. ‘Early nights help, too, I sometimes went to bed at the same time as Alice.’
Ditch the guilt
‘Don’t constantly struggle to clear up your toddler’s mess. Leave it until the end of the day and then, if you can, get someone else to do it for you,’ says Elise Eminson, mum of four.
Don’t be too proud
‘Ask for help. My mum looks after Holly twice a week, so I get a rest and Holly gets lots of attention,’ says Stephanie Wallis from Basingstoke, mum to Holly and 9 weeks pregnant. ‘Scale down what you expect of yourself and accept all help offered,’ agrees Lucy Parsons from Welford, mum to Iris and 23 weeks pregnant. ‘Make time for yourself whenever you can.’
Involve your toddler…
‘Give your toddler a baby doll to look after,’ suggests antenatal teacher Emma. ‘Let your toddler sort out baby clothes, choose items that need buying, kiss your bump and get involved.’
…but not TOO soon!
‘Avoid mentioning the new arrival until your bump is very obvious. Toddlers have no real concept of time and can find the wait for their sibling very frustrating,’ says mum-of-four Elise.
Try not to worry
‘I felt a lot more empowered knowing that I’d already survived nine months of pregnancy. I knew my niggles would pass,’ says Fiona Stone, from Milton, mum of two toddlers. ‘Rather than being scared of whether you’ll cope during labour, you already know you can – and how you’ll feel during and after it.’
Focus on what you’ll gain
‘Try to enjoy it,’ says Fiona. ‘You’re already a great mum – and you’ll be an even better one this time around as you’ll have the same amount of love but all that knowledge. You’ll soon be able to watch your kids playing together, loving and protecting each other, and you’ll wonder what you worried about.’
Need more support?
Book yourself onto an antenatal class. NCT not only offers courses for first-time mums, but also ‘refresher’ sessions. Emma Phillips-Harrington, who runs NCT antenatal classes for second time mums, says, ‘Women often come to my refresher classes wanting to recap on things like pain management. It’s also a good way to meet other couples in similar situations and share worries.’
For info on classes near you, visit the NCT website