Nine truths about pregnancy (when you have a toddler)

August 29, 2014

Pregnant and already have a toddler? Here’s nine unavoidable truths…the things that no-one ever tells you about pregnancy and toddlers.

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What’s the perfect age gap between children? Answers on a postcard please, or the back of a copy of Emma’s Diary. But there’s no right answer and it’s different for each couple, isn’t it? When I was pondering this question pre-pregnancy, a wise person told me that the age gap you end up with is the one that’s perfect for your family.

And indeed, there was never any grand design with us, but we always figured that about three years sounded about right (which is what we’re getting, give or take a few months). But this kind of age gap means me being pregnant smack bang in the middle of the dizzy heights of toddlerdom.

It’s not all terrible, as toddlers are absolutely brilliant. But as Jerry Seinfeld said, ‘a two year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.’ And as someone said to me the other day, ‘are all children this energetic?’ Just as I was stifling a yawn.

And the timing means there are certain things – the good, the bad, and the occasionally exhausting – about pregnancy when you already have a toddler…

Pregnancy and toddlers - nine unavoidable truths, things that no-one ever tells you about being pregnant and having a toddler

  1. It can be hard, hard work. The blissfully relaxing days of pregnancy one are a distant memory. “Your first pregnancy will seem like a spa break compared to your second” one of my second-time-mum friends told me. Which is so, so true
  2. The first opportunity you get to sit down and rest your tired pregnant self is the second your toddler must have milk / water / snack / potty immediately, despite being perfectly fine a minute before
  3. Pregnancy will make you feel incredibly bonded and in tune with your toddler, and so aware of their feelings (to the extent that any time she’s upset it makes me cry like a…well, baby). All the toddler milestones seem much more spectacular when you’re in the heightened state of hormone city
  4. But oh, the joys of potty training during this time…one day I went from sobbing in despair to crying tears of pure jubilation, like a hyper-hormonal Hollywood starlet on her first Oscar day
  5. They’re likely to drop the nap around the same time you really, really need a nap. They power up when you’re really, really powered down
  6. The days you’re feeling delicate are the ones they want to use you as a human climbing frame, elbow rest, train track and bouncy castle. Oh, pregnancy and toddlers…
  7. Toddlers actually understand lots about pregnancy, will chat to the baby and are genuinely excited…without any awkward conversations about how the baby got there….or questions about how you’re going to get it out
  8. That old adage about the days being long but the years being short has never been truer – the run-up to the acceptable hour of TV time (TM) can take forever, but your pregnancy will zip by at lightning speed
  9. ZzZzzz. See one.

But it’s mindblowing in many ways to think you’ll have two of the same soon. Exciting / ever-so-slightly terrifying…

8 Comments

  • Alison

    August 29, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I’m fairly sure you could take E for a little spa weekend! 😉 I mean, she managed afternoon tea at the Sanderson? Just imagine you two by the pool, kicked back with a book – you with some novel and her with the Gruffalo!

  • Amy Ransom

    August 29, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Yes to no.2! That never seems to change… Great post. Hope you’re feeling well x

  • Jess @ Along Came Cherry

    August 29, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Cherry was 2yrs and 5 months when Tiger was born and I do feel like it wasn’t a great age as she was too old to not be aware of what was going on but not old enough to really understand if we explained to her. Having said that once she adjusted (although it took a whole year!) she is absolutely fine and I’m happy with the age gap x

  • Lia : Tangerine Canteen

    August 30, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Dexter was 15 months when Florence was born & only just walking. It was hard and when India was 15 months I remember thinking how the hell I did it! I would say that my 4 year age gap was a lot easier than my 15 month one 😉

  • abigail

    August 30, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I think I would be really excited about Theo being more aware of what was going on, and really taking on the role of a ‘big brother’ with a larger age gap. There are always so many pros and cons for each side though!

    1. gillian

      September 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      I’m sure whatever gap you have would work out – it does seem to be a bit less work when they’re older though (although it’s tough in different ways!) It’s really lovely having E be aware, and so sweet when she chats to the baby.

  • fritha

    September 1, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    ha this made me laugh a bit (sorry!) especially the bit about the hollywood starlet. I was super emotional for a month when I stopped bf which I think might be similar to the pregnancy hormones (but sans the exhaustion) and I was crying all the time, from sad to ecstatic to being completely bowled over by the things W did. I sometimes wonder if it would be easier to be pregnant when your first is little and you are assured a nap (Wilf will defo not be having them if/when we have another) but actually I was watching a friends 10 month old the other day and realised how hard that age is too, you have to carry them ALL the time and they rely and you ALL the time and when I got back to W he seemed super easy. I dunno it’s all pros and cons isn’t it. Not long now though, exciting!! x

  • Laura

    September 4, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I totally agree, being able to relax the second time round simply doesn’t happen as toddlers need so much of your time, which is great but just very very tiring

    Laura x

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