Becoming a mother is such a massive learning curve, every day I am learning from my little guru. My first pregnancy and birth also taught me so much and I find myself approaching my second pregnancy quite differently.
I think it's natural when you already have a child that your second pregnancy will be different and maybe not hold so much of your focus. Having a toddler isn't really conducive to lying around mediating on your bump and doing daily birth visualisations!
I've also found it comes with different emotions. Feeling guilty that you're not focusing enough on your growing baby. Feeling guilty that number one will be sad when another baby comes along. Feeling guilty that you're too tired or sore to play as much you'd like to with number one....
I am certainly trying to eat healthily, remember to take my vitamins and do my pelvic floor exercises and all that stuff. Although probably not as religiously the second time round - enter, more guilt!
I'm not so focused on not eating this and that and avoiding all traces of caffeine - I have a toddler remember, I need my morning coffee!!! However I am much more aware of taking proper care of my physical being as I find my body more tired this time around. I have learned so much with my LushTums training - which I've completed between babies -to allow myself to slow down and to treat my ever changing body with the respect it deserves.
Before I fell pregnant the first time I was pretty yoga fit, practising and loving ashtanga several times a week, doing acro yoga and I completed several intensive retreats while I was pregnant. Still doing inversions, still doing deep bends and hip openers pretty much until full term. I wanted to prove to myself I could still do it, I wasn't ill - I was pregnant! I knew that being active was important. I was riding my bike, swimming regularly and walking three times a day with my wee dog until my baby came, even with my back and pelvic pain. I still believe that keeping moving and active is important in pregnancy but considering I was suffering from pelvic girdle pain, the level of yoga I was doing was frankly a bit insane!
Knowing what I know now from my LushTums training, there are so many postures I should have been avoiding- especially with my pelvic discomfort. I think I thought I was easing them off by stretching i.e over stretching, while I realise now I was probably exasperating them.
Fast forward a couple of years. Here I am, half way through my second pregnancy with a pretty intense level of pelvic pain. And woah, is it teaching me some lessons! I have to think about every movement, every position, sitting or standing, all day long.
It started really early in the pregnancy at 8 weeks. My PGP (pelvic girdle pain) knowledge has been invaluable and I know what to do to protect that area. My practise is super gentle and adapted and was from the start - at 26 weeks last time I was still doing ashtanga?! That seems crazy to me now.
How I am with my son has been a learning curve too. He now has to find a thing and bring it rather than me getting it for him, like a treasure hunt, great for his brain! He climbs in and out of his chair, the bath, the swing and his travel seat which has been an amazing help. It takes longer but who cares, he finds it fun and his climbing and confidence is coming on too.
He tidies up his own toys now - with encouragement! And thank god because the constant getting up and down is one of the most difficult things with the pelvic pain. He finds it fun to fill and empty the washing machine, and of course press the buttons, which means less bending for me.
When we do on our daily dog walking adventures he can't ride on mummy's shoulders and seems to understand when I tell him I have a sore back. Our trusty old buggy is back in use for when his little legs get tired - after months of him refusing to sit in it. I initially saw this as a 'step back' and limiting where we could go, but there are many occasions when we are both grateful for that muddy ol' buggy!
I no longer leap out of bed the second I hear him make a noise in the morning. I slowly and mindfully come back into my body, say good morning to the bump and ease myself carefully out of bed, using my breath and positioning myself properly to standing. Then I go and lift my beautiful son and we get back into my bed for a cuddle and stories.
I've gone from busting my ass every morning to get us out the door to toddler groups, to a relaxed morning taking our time, playing at home and then heading off on an adventure together when we are ready. No rush, no fuss just waterproof gear and a picnic.
It used to be I'd walk for two hours every day while he slept in his buggy. Not anymore. Naps are on their way out and he gets to practise his new found agility in the woods or on the beach and we have a slow walk that suits us both, taking in the sights and collecting pine cones or stones along the way. I am really cherishing these special times together as I know when baby comes it will all change again.
Although he is busy, busy all day long he likes a little sit and quiet time with a book or a game and so I stop doing washing, cleaning or any of the other tasks which can easily fill my day and take a load off with him. Plus it's the only way he sits still all day for me to cuddle his little body :)
He is certainly starting to explore the boundaries of rougher play but he knows to be gentle with me and my bump - rolling around the bed and hanging upside down is reserved for Daddy!
So although life is mad, busy and full on I do think that this time round I have learnt that it is ok to slow down. Yoga- both teaching and practicing, has reminded me to surrender and accept where I’m at in the moment. Keeping me more relaxed and enjoying the bits I can and not worry too much about the things I can’t change. And this is what my body and my mind and my heart really needs right now. It's actually what my son needs too. My PGP has given me amazing insight as a teacher as well, to have experienced it and learnt so much about it through my own investigations about how to manage and handle it has been invaluable understanding for women who come to my pregnancy yoga classes. There's no doubt I could do without the nippy pelvis but in a weird way I'm actually thankful for this discomfort, after all there's a lesson in everything!
Claire Heavenor teaches lovely Pregnancy Yoga and Birth Preparation classes in Prestwick, Scotland. To find out more about Claire or her classes click here!