After the surprise of our first pregnancy, we decided to plan and be prepared for birth this time. LOL at “be prepared”.
It’s virtually impossible to be prepared for pregnancy or the birth of another life. The best you can do is what feels right for you and your’s at any given moment. Personally, I worked off instinct, which inadvertently led me to have the completely the opposite type of birth to my first. Let me break it down into the 4 things that completely transformed pregnancy for us the second time around:
Letting the 4 year old in on it
As a family about to expand, it became obvious that we had underestimated its effects on the youngest of our tribe: the four year old. It was a lot for her to process and it showed up in many different ways. These included night terrors and lack of sleep, clingy-ness, tantrums. You name it, I think we experienced its wrath in some way – it was tough.
- Us before I went to the Beyonce concert at 33 weeks pregnant – I know, priorites!
It took us a moment, but we realised that the best way to move forward was to be honest with our daughter. Everyone around us was excited about our pregnancy, but she wasn’t completely sold on the idea, and that was ok. She was understandably scared and annoyed and she needed to feel validated. So we made sure to give her the space to do that. Talking things out, family day trips and a becoming-a-big-sister present helped to ease the anxiety. Ultimately (and perhaps luckily) as soon her little sister arrived, all those big and niggling feelings melted away. She is smitten, a little obsessed and pretty helpful when she wants to be. We couldn’t ask for more.
Getting Serious with Hypnobirthing
We had tried hypnobirthing and yoga the first time round, but it didn’t quite stick. Honestly, we had no idea what we were doing. (Blurred memories with my interview with Kathy Burke come to mind). Visualising happy and calm spaces within a hospital setting? Perhaps we hadn’t done the research properly or maybe I wasn’t in the right headspace, but we saw our second pregnancy as an opportunity to refine, take our time to understand how hypnobirthing could help us.
We turned to no other than Zoe Wanda – a lifelong friend and Hynobirthing Teacher from North London. Due to our busy schedules, we opted to have half day session, where we managed to cover the course in one sitting in the comfort of our home. The session was calming, insightful and transformed my thoughts and feelings around birth. This alongside Zoe’s affirmation cards, helped me to focus and hone in on my power during birth – something I hadn’t truly considered before.
I can’t recommend hypnobirthing enough to expecting parents. It completely changed my birth experience the second time around and I look back on the birth itself with a sense of pride and fondness.
Maternity Photos that I will love until the end of time
Ironically, getting in front of the camera for most photographers doesn’t come naturally. But I knew whether I took them myself or sought after my favourite photographers, I was going to document my second pregnancy properly – and I’m so glad that I did!
My first set of Maternity Photos were taken by Amy of Fields Photography London, a local photographer specialising in Motherhood photography. We got outdoors at the crack of dawn on a misty May morning to take advantage of the gorgeous light. I’ll never forget the feeling of wet grass on the soles of my feet as I stood in the warm sunlight wearing what can only be described as: a layered cake of a dress. I felt gorgeous and powerful with my growing bump and I think it shows.
I also opted to have some photos taken with my partner, something that we had done ourselves with our first. To my surprise and joy, he really got into and as a result, we both enjoyed every moment. It made me think about the Mamas I have in front of my camera, and how I want them to feel during their sessions: beautiful, powerful and most of all, loved.
Asking for help
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. Unlike my first pregnancy, I felt really low at times, especially towards the end. I had also caught Covid-19 and was hospitalised for 3 days, which I believe impacted my perspective massively. I tried my best to speak freely about how I was feeling, and I cried a lot in hopes to relieve some of my anxiety and sadness. I couldn’t pinpoint the cause, but I spoke with my midwife who referred me to a postnatal therapist.
I’ll never know what caused this dark spell in my pregnancy, but being honest with those around me, let to getting the invaluable help I never knew I needed. Mental health and pregnancy go hand in hand. I feel so grateful to now look back on that time as just a sad time and nothing more. If you are feeling low at any part of your pregnancy journey, I urge you to talk someone. The last thing you want to feel is alone.