Okay, second pregnancy really sucks. I can’t keep up with Mateo. He loves to play chase: I chase him. I used to always catch him, quickly if needed, or at least stay close to him. I can’t anymore. The last few weeks it’s become really tough, next to impossible. Now really it’s impossible. I can’t move that fast without hurting something: my abdomen, my thighs, my legs give out. I have 5 more weeks of this.
Mateo can no longer climb on me the way he loves to and the way that I used to let him. I liked being his jungle gym, but I can’t be his jungle gym any more. What’s worse is I keep on telling him that I can’t do things. “Mama can’t do this.” “Mama can’t do that.” It’s horrible. And I’m getting angrier at him than I ever have before. Mostly because I’m scared that he’ll run somewhere dangerous before I can catch him, but also because I’m so tired all the time. Really I don’t believe the human species was designed to raise children in isolation the way we do today in the “nuclear family”. It’s impossible to be a good mother when pregnant and needing to care for another young child. Maybe that is why children should be spaced 4 or more years apart? Or grandparents or other siblings of the parents should live close by, or as New York families and other wealthy families in other countries tend to do: hire a full time nanny. Or as the less well off do: drop the child at a full time day care, of course here in New York that is ridiculously expensive also. But I want to be an active and available part of my child’s life, I want to be able to chase him, let him climb on me, and not get angry at him for being a three year old who wants to explore and enjoy the world.
So, back to that first sentence: the second pregnancy doesn’t really suck; it offers unique challenges. I suppose you could say, as a woman said to me today, it prepares mother and child for the addition of a newborn and not being able to meet all the needs of the older child. He gets used to not having his mother at his beck and call, before the arrival of the younger sibling. Not what I want to have happen, but I suppose it is a bit of reality, unless I can create a different reality for my two children, where the needs of both children can be met, meshed together, not separated or placed in a hierarchy of who gets care and attention first. Oh, an extended family who lived nearby would be quite helpful then everyones needs could be met, including my own!