Right now you’re wondering what on earth you were thinking.
Yes, you love your toddler more than words can describe, but every time you think about adding a newborn baby to the mix you need a lie down.
Whether you decided to have another baby soon after your first or this was a happy surprise (you’re never more fertile than in the months after giving birth), its natural to be a bit freaked out.
When you fell pregnant you may have just got into a rhythm with your first baby. Finally the sleepless nights are behind you and your eldest is even eating proper meals instead of demanding milk every three hours.
But then their first birthday comes and goes. By now they’re either walking or can crawl like lightning around every bit of the house they can reach.
As your pregnancy continues your now-toddler gets more energetic, more of a handful and more challenging.
They start to challenge everything you say. They learn the word “no”. They try to pull everything over, fling everything on the floor and will send a glass flying if you leave it within reach for even a split second.
And as you’re dealing with this tiny dictator who fills every single one of your waking minutes, and a few of your sleepy ones too, you’re coping with the joys of pregnancy.
Nausea, headaches, sore back, swollen ankles, pelvic pain, round ligament pain and don’t forget that growing bump that’s getting in the way.
Toddlers are hard work physically and mentally. They still demand a lot of picking up and cuddles. They need help with everything, such as washing, changing nappies and being tucked into bed. They have pretty much all of the demands of a baby but they can kick you in the boob. Hard.
And as the pregnancy leaches away your energy just as much as your toddler does, you’re left with zero reserve.
And so you ask yourself; “if I feel like this now, what on earth will it be like when the baby comes along?”
It seems daunting right now, of course it does.
With your first pregnancy you were blissfully ignorant. You had no idea what the sleepless nights would do to you and that babies can cry for hours without any good reason.
Now though you know the truth. Babies are hard graft. They are 24/7 and they can leave you feeling broken some days.
So, how on earth can you possibly do both? The toddler and the newborn baby? It seems like an impossible task.
Although you make jokes about it and laugh about how you’ll be outnumbered when your other half goes back to work, inside you are freaking the f**k out.
Those pregnancy hormones aren’t helping either.
What if the baby has colic? What if the baby wakes the toddler up all of the time? What if the toddler feels sad and left out? How on earth can I breastfeed a baby for hours on end and care for a toddler who just wants to play? Who’s going to clean the house? Who will deal with the piles of laundry?
And more importantly, will I ever sleep again?
The biggest question of all is, how on earth am I going to cope?
The answer, Mum, is simply that you just will.
You’ll find your own way.
I’m not going to sugar-coat it for you though, those first months as you’re finding your feet will be tough.
You will feel like you need an extra arm or two.
You will feel guilty when your toddler asks you to do something and you can’t because your newborn is cluster feeding.
You will want to cry when you’ve been up with your baby all night and your toddler wakes up at 6am full of beans and ready to play.
You will forget to feed yourself and end up gnawing on a block of cheese.
Your house will be a mess.
You need to know these things, Mum. But you also need to know that you’re going to be ok.
You have to ride out these tough months. Get through them however you can.
That might mean your toddler watches more television than you would normally like.
It could mean calling in a few favours from friends and relatives to take your toddler out for a few hours.
If you’ve got the budget, it could mean hiring a cleaning service.
Just embrace the chaos.
There will be bad days, for sure. Sometimes there might be bad weeks.
But, whenever you can, remind yourself that “this too shall pass”.
Get through the day hour by hour.
Don’t make huge and elaborate plans that will leave you disappointed when they don’t work out.
Do sleep whenever you can, even if its while your toddler watches TV when your baby is napping.
Do get out of the house, even if just for five minutes.
Do find something simple you enjoy. It might be a TV show, a hobby, whatever. Find it and do it when you can. This won’t be possible in the first weeks, sure. But do something for yourself when you can. Take care of you.
Do get your hubby to take over for a few hours at the weekend so you can lie down.
Do have one-on-one time with your toddler where possible.
Don’t beat yourself up if you lose it one day. Sleep deprivation and stress are horrendous. Keep reminding yourself that you’re doing your best and that is good enough.
Do remember that babies change rapidly. They eventually cry less, sleep more and give way more back by way of smiles and giggles.
So to you overwhelmed mummy wondering how you’re going to climb this mountain. Take it one step at a time, and take care of you so that you can keep on being the superhero mama that you are.
Read more: Bed time routine tips for two under two