Written by Sabrina Reid
You may have noticed that I took a bit of a break. Given that the break came only three posts into my blogging life you may be forgiven if you concluded that I had laid my pen to rest and allowed this phase to pass. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
My last post was a goodbye to pregnancy and a tribute to my third and final baby. But as most of you know by now I am pregnant!
Pregnant for the fourth time, pregnant and totally unprepared, a pregnancy unplanned that catapulted me into the depths of despair and so please excuse the unexpected interlude as to put it frankly I just needed time to get my shit together.
I’ve had the experience of an unplanned pregnancy before. My first 18 years ago was totally unplanned and yet failed to rock my world in the way that this one has. Maybe walking into the unknown that first time round mixed with the naivety of my youthful self made it a little less daunting. Maybe knowing the true realities of parenthood especially with four children is the culprit of the fear that has gripped me for the past several months. It’s probably also the lack of control.
Since having my eldest I’ve been careful to take tight hold of those metaphorical reigns of life and have tried to guide my journey and life outcomes with care. So what happened? I let my guard down. Longed to feel like myself again following a difficult and testing pregnancy, wanted to feel close to my husband after months of illness and carrying what felt like the biggest baby ever, not to mention those early sleepless nights that new parents endure. And with that I convinced myself that exclusively breastfeeding would offer me guaranteed protection and had a night of unforgettable passion! (Well let’s just describe it like that ) I mean the ridiculousness of that last sentence is enough to make me want to slap myself around the head. I got caught up in the moment and got caught out!
Feeling normal again after a gruelling 10 months of pregnancy is not to be underestimated. So as time went on and the next few months passed I was in heaven feeling like myself, adapting to new motherhood all over, enjoying life with our new baby, until a dirty craving for Mc Donald’s came over me in a Sainsbury’s car park and a faintness that I knew could only possibly mean one thing!
And like that at 4 months post-partum my worst nightmare came to life. I was pregnant. Again!
Each of my pregnancies even my first as unprepared for it as I was filled me with an inner joy and peacefulness that only comes when a lifelong hope is actually fulfilled. I always wanted to be a mother and each pregnancy touched my heart. Not this one! How terrible does that sound? I mean even writing it down fills me with guilt. But it’s the truth! The understanding that this is a blessing, a life and my beautiful child did not kick in until recently. No the initial feeling was one of panic! I’ve never had to deal with more than one baby at a time thanks to my almost decade size gaps between each of my children and whilst leaving it so long to have another offspring has its own downsides it’s what I am used to.
My lacklustre feelings towards this pregnancy were also driven by the fear that my time with my newborn was going to be ripped from my grasp. I’ve documented before my difficulties with pregnancy. Suffering from Hyperemisis Gravaderium and having spells in and out of hospital with uncontrollable sickness. How was I meant to nurture my baby whilst being so physically sick? How would we cope with two babies at once? Where would we put them? (I mean the logistics of housing 6 people in a 3 bedroom house are not to be taken lightly) what would happen to my own mental health?
Selfish you may say as mostly that list is all about me. But lets face it. It’s me who had to be pregnant for two years in a row, me who will nurture, childcare, clean, cook and maintain our lives in the practical sense. Whilst my wonderful husband is the biggest means of support in every way and even though this pregnancy filled him instantly with happiness, I know that his words of comfort are only that. Again I’ll need to be physically and mentally strong, to get through pregnancy whilst nurturing a baby and running a family and so I don’t lose my mind.
I’m just tired. Tired of being strong, unbreakable and looking like superwoman (well at least on my good days) I’m worried about falling apart and the consequences for all if and when that happens. But as my husband pointed out that the fact I’m aware of these things means we can be proactive and put things in place that will make things easier. Making my breakdown less likely to happen. Even sharing my honest feelings about this after months of anxiety and fear is helping me to feel more in control.
We have arranged childcare for the baby on a part time basis for the early days when the new addition arrives. Just to give me time to adapt, sleep when the baby sleeps and to help with bonding. Our family yet again have been marvellous offering to help with the baby and around the house, checking I’m not feeling too unwell etc and just being a general means of support.
Whilst the shock for me was next level it was equally interesting to gage the reactions of others once the pregnancy as close as it was to the previous one was announced! I mean I could write a comedy book with the one liners we’ve been on the receiving end of. Going back to work pregnant despite the fact that others have done the same before me also filled me with a mixture of dread and relief. However, now it has all sunk in for us and everyone else the idea of my large family seems more and more like the blessing I know I will forever cherish. I have beautiful children who are thoughtful and kind, vulnerable, inquisitive and who keep me on my toes. Life with them and raising them has been far from a walk in the park but it’s our journey. We are all looking forward to welcoming another precious life into the fold and I’m grateful to be a mother of four. Let’s see where the journey takes us next!