It’s been 17 weeks of being a mum of two and I have to say that my experience this time around has been significantly different to the first time, even aside from having to deal with it during a lockdown.
It’s been overwhelming to say the least. No pregnant person would have expected the way that their journey would have panned out over the last year and now that it seems that we’re in the same situation, 10 months down the line, it’s as though we really are in it for the long haul.
I’ll be honest, I’m not expecting much normality for the duration of my maternity leave. It’s not been what I wanted in any way, shape or form but when I do an update in 9 months, let’s see where my head is at.
I am so grateful that I had the best birth experience, and even more grateful for the support I’ve had. It’s made the last four months even better and yes, I’ve definitely had periods where I’ve felt low, overwhelmed and scared – the circumstances have meant that I wanted to find the positives in every situation related to Casey and I just feel so grateful for all of it.
Recovery wise, it’s certainly been a lot less traumatic than my first birth. I’ll be honest and say that it’s definitely not been glamourous; I have had to deal with my fair share of discomfort but it’s felt a lot more bearable.
My mental health in relation to Casey has been up and down. My journey with breastfeeding has now come to an end and the battle to move to formula really threw my brain off track despite it being in my plans from the get go. I felt miserable, unable to tend to Isla when I wanted and needed to, but also unbelievably sad because my favourite part of our bond was feeding. There was guilt, shame and pressure to continue and I cried a lot when I decided to ease off, for all those reasons, despite knowing that he would be absolutely fine. The truth is, is that Casey is happier, fuller and sleeping better, and that’s all I wanted from my baby.
It’s definitely been difficult to manage my hormones. They have been all over the place and you can bet that I’ve taken my mood out on the people closest to me, but I’m just glad they’ve been understanding and although it’ll go on for however long, being aware of it makes it easier to deal with.
Over the last 4 months, we’ve seen a glimpse of normality in the way of seeing some close friends, being thrown back into Lockdown 2.0, Tier 4 and being made redundant from my job. General recovery from birth, the slow end to our breastfeeding journey AND the rollercoaster that is sleep with a newborn.
No one knows how the next few months will pan out, but with having to spend the majority of my pregnancy indoors, terrified of catching a deadly virus, I wish I held more hope for my Mat Leave and 2021. Despite that, I have been settling into Motherhood Round 2 and generally, I’m loving all of it, holding onto the hope that it will all get better.
Casey is sleeping a good amount during the night right now, despite Leap 4, and it means that I don’t feel like a complete zombie in the morning – I’ve taken up the awful habit of having a black coffee, though I must admit, that’s certainly helping!
I’m trying my hardest to get out of the house for walks most days, both for the fresh air and to ease myself into exercising. I’m definitely being really hard on myself about my body, but also fully aware that it pushed a small human out 17 weeks ago, and I keep reminding myself of that. Some people may be ready to get back on the saddle after 3 months, but I did the same with Isla and I want to make sure I’m being as kind to my body as possible. I’ve spoken about my coming to terms with my post-pregnancy body and my feelings around this still ring true.
Casey is a completely different baby to how Isla was and in hindsight, it’s quite clear how obvious her needs were from so early on (just in my experience, I should add), and I find myself being so pedantic about how he is developing for that reason. There’s no negativity in doing that, I should add.
Casey’s personality is changing every day – he is just the sweetest, most calm little boy – doesn’t fuss unless he’s hungry (definitely gets that from me!) and I feel so incredibly lucky to be a mum to two amazing children.
Life has thrown me SO many curveballs in the last year and my plans have completely changed for 2021, but I’m excited. I’ve now got a whole year of Mat Leave and I cannot wait to experience more milestones, focus on Isla and more importantly, myself this year – as Casey enters his fourth month, I’m beginning to feel a lot more like me and it’s exactly what I need right now.