The first thing everyone said, when I told them I was pregnant again, which was by accident and completely how-the-hell-did-that-sneak-in, and that I was freaking out about it, and didn’t know how I’d cope when I struggled with one as it was (they’d be 15 months apart), and had previously decided I wasn’t going to have any more than one, and that I was so tired and suffering anxiety, was … “Congratulations!!!” I wasn’t sure they heard me right, but anyway.
I had spent six months with Little Miss Sleepless, who was not so bad when she wasn’t going through developmental leaps, teething, or trying to practice rolling or crawling during sleep-time (so about 5% of the time I could be guaranteed of an okay night’s sleep, though never all the way through), when I fell pregnant again. Ironically, I was just out of sleep school and Little Miss was starting to sleep better. Also ironically, the paediatrician at sleep school had told me the contraception I was using might not be the best, and I’d said, “It’s worked just fine so far.” She’d basically said, “It’s your funeral,” (or perhaps, “As long as you would be okay with falling pregnant again”) and I had thought, “Ha! It hasn’t failed me so far.”
I also kept hearing from all these women with babies the same age as mine, how they couldn’t wait to fall pregnant again. I thought, “Are you mad? I would have a nervous breakdown and cry for weeks!” Well, close enough.
(I should say, despite my initial denial, I am loving my Peanut now. The bond kind-of snuck up on me, same way pregnancy did. I even find myself being positive about having two kids close together sometimes, before I remember that I’m supposed to be filled with self-pity.)
I often hear from people how having two children close together is a great thing. There are definite positives. They will always have a playmate. (Or someone to torture and dob on; whatever.) I will feel safer knowing they’re looking out for each other. (Or egging each other on). Apparently, they will entertain each other so I have less work to do. (Or demand double the attention.) I will get all the “baby stuff” out the way at once. (Though without benefit of a much older child who could possibly be a helper.)
But oh, my gosh, the hormones. Save me from the hormones. Don’t talk to my partner about the hormones. I feel like I’ve said, “I’m sorry, it’s the hormones,” so many times that it should be just a given by now.
Leaving aside the bone-crushing first trimester tiredness, the feeling that I’m not entertaining my Little Miss properly because I can’t muster up the energy, the vasospasms whilst breastfeeding in very early pregnancy which thankfully passed, the changing and diminishing of my milk which has seen Little Miss stop breastfeeding as much and instead devour all of her food and then mine, the pregnancy nose which means I gag during nappy changes and banish my partner to the couch if he so much as breathes in my direction after garlic … SAVE ME FROM THE HORMONES.
One night, I’ll feel all loving and maternal. I’ll look at my girl and think, “Gee, she’s sweet. She’s so beautiful. She’s growing up so fast. I could cry. Oh, don’t you cry, honey – here, I’ll feed you and pat you till you fall asleep. There, there. You’re my little angel. I love you. I’ll sit here all night with you if I need to. I know, I know. You’re just a baby. I’ll stroke your little downy head and sing you a lullaby.”
Next night, an internal (I stress, internal) monologue goes on in my head, something like this: SERIOUSLY? Are you frickin’ SERIOUS? You’ve been outside as long as you were inside, and you haven’t learnt to sleep by now? You know I’m pregnant, right? You know Mummy needs sleep too, right? Can’t you think of Mummy? I think of YOU all the time. Yeah, yeah, okay, I’ll feed you. Oh holy crap DID YOU JUST BITE ME? Okay, now I know you’re just using me as a dummy. Aarrrgh, stop screaming my ears off, they’re bleeding. OMG, you do know you have all DAY to practice crawling and standing and babbling, right?
There are nights I could cry myself to sleep from exhaustion. Then morning breaks; I hear a little noise from the monitor. I sigh, and resign myself to getting up and starting it all over again. I go into her room. She gives me the biggest, happiest grin, so excited to see me; that smile that says, “You’re my favourite person in the world.” And I melt, and think if I get two lots of that smile, maybe that ain’t such a bad thing.