The second time mummy guilt starts early.
In those first few weeks of pregnancy where you’re so busy chasing after a toddler that you forget that you’re pregnant most days, or perhaps you’re spending so much of your day with your head down the toilet that you feel your toddler isn’t getting the time and attention they are accustomed to.
When I was pregnant with number two I was in a constant sway of feeling guilty for one reason or another. I felt guilty that I couldn’t carry my toddler around for the whole walk to the shop as he requested, I felt guilty that I could never remember how many weeks pregnant I was (oh the change from obsessively knowing to the hour with the first baby!!), I felt guilty that I felt I wasn’t bonding with my bump as much as I had with my first, I felt guilty that I was about to change my toddlers life overnight without him having a clue what was coming. It literally never ended.
Then baby is born. And it’s wonderful and emotional and overwhelming and exactly how it should be.
But along with the intense love that come with having a newborn, the mummy guilt also becomes more intense. I was completely unprepared for how guilty I would feel in those first few hormonal weeks (and even now to some extent). I even felt guilty for feeling guilty, something my exhausted, baby hazed brain couldn’t quite understand!
Why is it that when experienced Mums know that you’re pregnant with your first they give you all sorts of advice (not all of it welcome, admittedly) but when you’re pregnant with your second no one warns you about the second time mummy guilt?
About how it feels to have your heart split into two people, instead of just the one that you could hold so easily before?
Now your arms have to stretch around two and attempt to keep them both as close and both as safe.
So here’s my warning: it is so hard. But it’s ok.
It’s ok to feel the guilt. Feeling guilty doesn’t mean that you’re failing.
There’s no need to hide it, people won’t assume that you’re not coping if you express how you’re feeling.
We all need time to adjust and to get used to having two babies. And we do adjust, we adapt and we make it work. Because that’s what mummies do for their babies.
Ps. Its good to talk, if your feelings are overwhelming and continue, please contact your Midwife, Health Visitor or Doctor for additional support.