When one becomes two
Guest Blog post by Kat Heath about her experiences becoming a second time mum. Kat runs a business with her husband called Mi-Handyman.
I have always been open and honest about my emotional and mental struggles when becoming a mum to my first born, Harry. I suffered horrendously with post natal depression and found the transition of being a mum from being a free, party loving career driven woman extremely difficult.
As Harry grew older into the four year old he is now things got easier, suddenly he was at nursery and we were having conversations over a hot chocolate like we were best buddies. The thought of having another baby really didn't feel so bad, Harry was pretty much independent and I actually started to enjoy motherhood.
I fell pregnant in October 2016 however sadly in January the following year I miscarried after the 12 week scan. I mourned for the brother or sister Harry was going to have. I felt I'd let the family down. I'd let Harry down. As the months followed I accepted that Harry maybe our only child which was fine. I had my own space when I wanted it and I could start to concentrate on myself again outside of being a mum. Then bang! the summer of 2017 I fell pregnant with Elliott.
Being pregnant again
Pregnancy with another child around was a whole different ball game to my pregnancy with Harry. There were no afternoon naps, pregnancy massages or time to rest. However I did make time for pre natal yoga as I found it helped my first birth. People would ask 'how many weeks are you'? I wouldn't have a clue! I used pointers such as the twenty week scan or the flu and whooping cough jab as markers as to how pregnant I was! As the pregnancy progressed I was having more and more scans as there was concern as to how much Elliott was growing. At week 37 I was told he needed to be induced. I was terrified as I knew only too well what was ahead of me. However all I could think of was Harry. Who will look after Harry when I'm in hospital? Who will take him to nursery in the afternoons? I didn't feel ready.
Becoming a second-time mum: Being induced
The night before I went into St. Helier hospital (Sutton, Surrey) I held Harry so tight before bedtime. This was the last time we would be alone. Just us two. Bedtime will never be the same again. Harrys world was about to turn upside down and he didn't know it. After two days of being induced Elliott was born, I had a quiet confidence of how to be a mum this time. Pretty much after an hour of having Elliott I had a shower and got on with feeding him. I knew it would be different as I had done this before. Harry came to the hospital the following day and I cried when I saw him. I held him so tightly and felt overwhelmed with love for him. I had missed him.
Meeting his brother
He wasn't enamoured by his screaming brother at first but in time that changed. Once I returned home a feeling of dread came over me. I realised I had two children to look after. I didn't know what to expect. How does bedtime work? How will I get Harry to nursery school on Monday? How do people do this? The hardest and most heartbreaking thing for me was not being able to put Harry to bed. Elliott would cluster feed around Harrys bedtime and it would be impossible to attend to both children. Harry cried " no one is here for me now" this felt like a knife going into my heart. I felt torn.
Learning to Mum for two
I was exhausted. Elliott was up at night and up all day feeding, feeding, feeding. He was admitted into hospital again with a streptococcus skin infection and was on an IV drip with penicillin. Myself and him were in an isolated room within a children's ward for three days I felt alone and felt like I was failing Harry. I soon developed post natal depression as I did with Harry. My health visitor was amazing and recommended I took antidepressants so I could function for both kids. Within a few weeks after taking them things felt better. Elliott was becoming more settled and Harry was getting used to having a baby brother. I learned that Elliott would have to wait for a feed, he would have to wait to be cuddled or changed. Life had to go on around him which actually made him more chilled out and relaxed.
Getting through the stages
During the summer holidays I gave up breastfeeding as I wanted to be a bit more free for Harry as he was on his summer holidays and I didn't want to be sat feeding all day long. Elliott took to the bottle straight away and I felt even more like myself. We had got through another stage and it was ok. The sure start centres were our life line during that summer holiday. They often have a stay and play session for 0-5 years which meant I could take Elliott along while Harry played. They did a number of excursions to Crystal Palace park or the seaside and it allowed us to spend time us three together with other families.
In the September Harry started reception which meant I had the whole day with Elliott. During Elliott’s nap times I work on my blogs for Epsom and Ewell families website or on my business Mi-Handyman which I own with my husband Danny. It is a juggle but we have got there.
Working is fitted in around the children and I rely heavily on a bullet journal to plan my working schedule. I’ve managed to carve out a day where Elliott goes to my mother in law while I work from home. I fully maximise each snippet of time I have and I feel more productive than I did with Harry. Ive learnt to juggle. I've also made a point of setting time aside for me. I didn't with Harry but with both kids in tow it's an essential part to my week otherwise I can't function as mum or as a business owner.
End of the first year
The first year is almost over and Elliott goes to bed at 6.30, which means finally I get to have snuggle and bedtime again with Harry an hour later. But for that hour it is just harry and I and we love it.
What are your hopes and fears of becoming a second-time mum? Or do you have some insights to share if you already are one?