Some news...we're growing our family!

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I’m so relieved that I can finally share the news that we are expecting another baby! I’ve mentioned it a few times on Instagram, but only subtly in my stories as I wasn’t feeling ready for the big reveal just yet. Our baby is due mid-march 2019, and at the time of writing this I’m just over 20 weeks pregnant. We found out the gender last week, such a special moment as Rory held my hand during the whole scan and looked from the screen and back to me again with the sweetest smile. I’m not going to share with you just yet though…keep that secret for another day. I found out the gender with Rory too, mostly because I’m just too impatient to not get the news. It’s another little piece of the puzzle that helps me connect to this life growing inside of me, and I’ve never had a reason good enough to keep it a secret for another 20 weeks. Birth seems like enough of a surprise to me, without needing any more surprises at the same time! It’s taken a while for me to properly share the news about this pregnancy because the doctors in Hertfordshire didn’t refer me for any appointments initially and I had to keep hassling them for a scan. They really have been pretty useless, and I only just had my 12 week scan at almost 15 weeks. I was a little nervous about sharing too much before that, because if you’ve been following me for a while you might remember that I had a missed miscarriage at 12 weeks before I was pregnant with Rory. An experience that has meant any subsequent pregnancies have been met with a little more uncertainty in the early weeks than they would have been otherwise. Thankfully, so far, so good and the baby all looks perfectly healthy and as it should do. It’s a relief, for sure.

And now…well the weeks are flying by, and half the time I forget I’m pregnant until I feel a kick or a wriggle that takes me somewhat by surprise. It’s such a different experience this time around, with so few moments to slow down, connect with the baby or with myself, and certainly no days of resting up in bed, taking long hot baths and taking care of my physical and mental needs throughout my pregnancy. I yearn for just a little of that, a day off, some time to walk and think and slow things down. Instead my to do list gets longer, the washing basket gets fuller and my legs and belly get rounder and achier. There’s so much to do with work and the house renovations, I’m trying to get as much done as I can before the end of the year so I can take some time for myself at the start of 2019 when things will be quiet an I will no doubt feel huge and exhausted!

We are so excited to be growing our family. Rory calls the baby her “brothersister” and tells me every time we walk past their newly painted room that it’s where they are going to sleep. She’s not so keen on the prospect of having to share her toys, but she’s got time to come around. She often exclaims “oh mama, look at your big belly!" and asks about the baby in there, rubs her hands across my stomach and sings ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ or whispers “goodnight, baby”. It’s so sweet and tender, and so lovely to watch her develop her interest and understanding about what is happening. It just feels right, to be adding another little life to our already happily chaotic household, even though it took me a while longer than most of my friends to be ready for another baby. It seemed to me that they got broody as soon as their baby turned one, or started walking or felt just that little bit too grown up, but the urge for another newborn in my arms just never came back to me. I was so happy to have an independent toddler, everything seemed so much easier and I was starting to feel more like myself again. My body didn’t ache so much, I slept through the night far more often than I didn’t, and I had the freedom to work and socialise either with or without her by my side. I loved how much I could interact with her, share with her, and the more time we spent together the stronger our already unbreakable bond became.

Our old London flat made life with a toddler and a dog so much extra work, and I just couldn’t see how having another baby while we lived there was going to be anything I could manage with even a shred of gratitude or grace. So I waited, until it felt like the time was right. Well, as much as it could feel right, because really there never seems to be a right time to do anything, just a heap of slightly worse or slightly better times. Part of me felt like I’d rather not do any of it again. Pregnancy, birth, those newborn days. They’re just so hard. But another part of me felt I’d regret not devoting the next few years to making and rearing another human, an investment that I know full well pays back a hundred times over. I see in my future two children around the table, a bigger family and a house filled with noise and love and laughter. So at some point, I knew I had to see my present with my getting pregnant, giving birth, and nurturing a newborn.

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This time around, my first trimester was really tough. It is so much harder the second time, when you already have a toddler to care for. Sleepless nights, no lie-ins, and no early nights if they decide they won’t go to bed until gone 9pm. There’s all the lifting and carrying, emptying the potty at 6am when you already feel like you’re going to vomit, the battles to leave the house on time, the chaos and the mess and the never ending hunt for the other shoe. There’s just no let up whatsoever. I was exhausted, nauseous 24 hours a day and suffering with pregnancy insomnia coupled with Rory not sleeping that well for a few months. I think the move unsettled her, she woke more in the night and often seemed to have bad dreams and need midnight cuddles to get her through. All of that on top of my hormonal changes meant I struggled with depression quite badly for the first two months of my pregnancy. I was just so down, so hopeless and so damn tired. Some days I was so sick and dizzy that I couldn’t get out of bed, and I just had to placate Rory with something on the laptop while I lay down beside her until I started to feel better. I’m going to be really honest and say during that time I regretted being pregnant. I just hated it. And I felt so incredibly guilty for how much I was hating it, because I chose to get pregnant and I know what a privilege it is if you’re able to conceive without too much fuss. I was so miserable, and so lonely. I’d not long moved away from London, away from my closest friends and just after I found out I was pregnant my best friend moved to Thailand. I cried the whole night while she was on the plane. I felt completely heartbroken and alone. I started to question everything. Moving house, having another baby and how that would affect my life and my work. I spiralled down and I know that Gav was really worried for a while. It was a hard few months that were all about surviving through the day. Hoping that I could manage to give both of my babies at least the minimum of what they needed while I struggled physically and mentally to have anything left for myself.

I tell you all that because I always like to share the whole story of everything I experience, and write as much of it down as honestly as I can manage. Nothing in life is ever just one thing, is it? We’re a big, complicated mess of tangled feelings, conflicting emotions, just doing this life as best we can even when sometimes we have to just feel our way slowly in the dark. I am so full of joy and gratitude about everything in my life, but it’s often assumed that those positive feelings don’t sometimes come from a place of chaos, sadness and confusion. Of course it’s wonderful that we’re having another baby, we are so excited and there are so many happy and magical moments that come with being pregnant. But there’s so much more than that…I’m such a believer that we should talk about this stuff, because I think we expect ourselves to experience something with one over riding feeling or emotion. But that’s just not the way it works. It’s OK to be excited about having another baby, while simultaneously feeling really fed up of how unwell pregnancy has made me.

Around the ten week mark, thankfully the fog started to lift. I was still tired and nauseous, but it was easing off enough that I could start to function a little better. My mood improved, and with every bit of energy that returned to me I brightened even more. There were still days I couldn’t move from the sofa, barely able to feed or clothe my toddler. There were the two solid weeks of debilitating migraines from weeks 14-16, but after that, it’s been mostly plain sailing. I’m forging ahead with life, work and home improvements, because I’m getting bigger and more tired by the day. I’m careful to rest when I need to and not push myself too hard, but my eyes are on the prize of a slow start to the New Year with not much of anything on my to do list but waiting for a baby. I want to read, learn to weave, photograph my slow days at home and soak up the last of this chapter of our lives before it changes once again. I’m in a constant state of happysad, enjoying the present, excited for the future, but painfully aware that time is moving ever onwards and handfulls of blissful moments just blow away in the wind. It’s all just passing in such a blur, and I’m trying to hang on to it.

Adding another baby to our family is really exciting, and we are so very happy and grateful. I can’t wait to see Rory as a big sister. She is baby obsessed (even before I got pregnant) and I know she is going to be so helpful and loving towards him or her. But, I am scared too. Those newborn days are hard, in fact the first year is hard. I remember how much better everything got when Rory was over 9 months old, almost sleeping through the night so I could function again. I am a little scared to go back to that, especially as I feel so much freedom these days. She’s happily settled with a childminder a few mornings a week, I’ve been getting stuck into my work and my business is steadily growing. Life is good, and dare I say after a few years of getting the hang of balancing life, work and motherhood it feels like things are falling into a happy sort of balance that I could easily keep this way for a good long while. I know that right now there’s so much I can’t imagine, because it’s outside the realms of my experience. I haven’t met this new baby yet, and can’t quite get my head around how I will love them as much as I love Rory. How will I even have room for that much love in me? Will they be as sweet and kind and loving and thoughtful as Rory? Will they be similar, or so so different?

Everyone with more than one child tells me they worried about these things right up until the moment their next child was born. And then it all just sort of clicked into place. Your heart, your family, your capacity for love just grows again and it’s like they were never not a part of you. It’s so hard to imagine, right now, but I trust I will feel the same when the time comes for us. I mean, I made one pretty amazing human, so there’s no good reason I can’t do it again, right?