Back-to-Back Pregnancies: A Survival Guide



 

Tips for meeting the challenge head-on

Your baby is three months old. Today, he smiles for the very first time while you look on with tears in your eyes. Then one day, amid the disarray of colic and sleepless nights, you hold in your hand the test that confirms the return of the stork. A second one? Already? Whether it is planned or not, expecting a second child so soon after the first would undoubtedly scare any parent.

Given that the average family has 1.1 children per household, it’s no surprise that a part of you may fear getting back on the bandwagon so soon. Most—quite rightly— would never even consider it! Evidently, all the tips you received during your first pregnancy are just as applicable, therefore useful for the second. Only, applying them is a bit more complicated. You run out of time while your own needs and concerns end up at the bottom of your to-do list. Hence, here are a few tips on how to fully enjoy your pregnancy without guilt.

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Remain active
Until your child begins to walk, you may believe that mother-child activities are few or limited to indoors. Think again! Take advantage of the fact that he still remains fairly put in his stroller to take him out for a stroll. Walk to the library and read him a story, or sit under a tree at the park and give him his bottle. Do not miss out on the chance to stretch your legs. What’s more, there are plenty of mother-child activities you can partake in, namely swimming, mom and baby yoga, cardio-stroller… In short, fun, pregnancy-safe activities during which you’ll bond with your eldest-to-be.

Listen to yourself!
The first few months of pregnancy are often the most difficult. Fatigue, nausea and dizziness: your body is welcoming life into it and must slowly adapt itself. Thus, it is crucial that you listen to your body and respect its wishes. Is your baby taking a nap? Cleaning the house can wait. Lie down and rest your body that is working hard to develop the little one growing inside of you. More prenatal and postnatal care, like a massage, flotation baths, acupuncture and meditation is becoming available at spas and wellness centres. Grandma will be delighted to watch the your little one for a few hours.

Chase away your fears
Certain mothers fear that they will have a hard time dividing their time — and attention — equally amongst their babies. While the arrival of a second baby may affect the eldest’s routine a tad, the advantage of having a second child so soon after the first is that baby #1 is less likely to feel abandoned by his parents after the arrival of his baby brother or sister.

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Include your first child in your pregnancy
Show him your belly and take a bath with him while paying special attention to the child growing inside of you. As early as three months, your child develops a sense of ‘self’ and therefore, a sense of ‘other’. Even if the concept may be completely foreign to him at first, he will quickly realize that something is happening inside of your belly. Let him cleanse your round belly. Show him how to apply almond oil to it, and let him kiss it and feel the baby kicking. That way, he will become more involved and consequently, more aware of the impending birth of the new member of the family.

Talk about money
Evidently, one of your first concerns will be: how will you get by financially? Do know that employment insurance (EI) maternity benefits may be combined with EI parental benefits up to a maximum of 50 weeks, and up to 102 weeks for biological mothers when both maternity and parental benefits are combined with sickness, compassionate care and PCIC (Parents of Critically Ill Children) benefits. For those who qualify, it can alleviate significant stress. Otherwise, you may have to return to work earlier than expected. Respect your physical and emotional limits. Returning to work five or six months pregnant isn’t any easier than rushing your little one off to daycare. Discuss with your partner what your wallet, and also your heart, tells you to do.

You will get there!
Many parents who have had their children 12 months apart will tell you: they raise themselves! And those who have a brother or sister close in age will tell you that they have a great relationship, and that it has been a positive thing for them throughout their lives. So have no fear. You are embarking on one of the most beautiful journeys there is!

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