My first pregnancy was spent in a haze of reading, relaxing and nothing more energetic than a yoga class. Sure I worked, but I clocked off at 6pm and my evenings and weekends were my own.
I wish I’d listened when people told me to appreciate it, because subsequent pregnancies weren’t nearly as romantic or restful!
As a pre-natal yoga teacher, I would say that about eighty per cent of my students are first-time mums – and it’s not because mums who have other children don’t want to come, it’s simply because they can’t. There’s not enough time, no child care and too many other commitments.
And when we’re pregnant and already looking after another child, it’s easy to get run down. When I was expecting baby #2, my pregnancy was a totally different experience. Instead of enjoying nine-months of health and wellbeing, I spent nine months fending off various mishaps and illnesses.
Lucas, who was two at the time, had morphed into a speed machine who raced around about a hundred kilometers an hour, followed by his huffing and puffing Mum!
He was also a bundle of cuteness who attracted everything – including germs, dirt and other nasties. And he liked nothing more than to give me a big sloppy kiss or to shovel a half-eaten rusk into my mouth.
But it wasn’t just viruses I had to contend with in my pregnancy, it was a series of bizarre mishaps that struck me too. One time, in my second trimester, I was doing the housework, when I grabbed an old cloth from the laundry.
As I shook it out a spider fell on to my arm. At this point I started running around like a wild woman, flapping my arm and no doubt alarming my unborn baby – much to the amusement of my toddler.
‘What’s wrong?’ asked my husband, as I pranced into the lounge. ‘Look!’ I cried holding out my arm. Thankfully he deftly flicked it away but not before taking a quick look and discovering it was a White Tail.
‘You were so lucky,’ he said (stating the obvious).
I was relaying the story to a friend of mine a few days later. We were standing on her verandah and my bump was pressing up against the timber railings. Just then I felt a sting. ‘What’s that?’ I yelped and saw a caterpillar nibbling my stomach.
I brushed it away and hot-footed it to the pharmacy, to show them this strange red lump circling my navel.
‘What is it about this pregnancy?’ I wondered – ‘Am I just a pin cushion for insects?’
Again, it turned out to be harmless, but that night I began to feel contractions, they were so intense I headed to hospital, keen to avert any more disasters.
‘I think the baby’s coming,’ I moaned. But after a quick exam they were able to confirm that no. ‘It was most likely a nasty bout of gastro!’ the midwife said.
Thankfully my daughter was born a week later. And for the record she was perfectly healthy (unlike her poor mother). She’s now six and has a stronger constitution than anyone else in our family.
So to anyone out there in your first pregnancy – enjoy it and appreciate it! And for anyone in your subsequent pregnancies – your baby is likely to be even stronger for all the germs!