Saturday, 29 May 2010

Joys and sorrows(!?) of having children close to each other in age :-)

When I discovered that I was pregnant with my second child while my first one was 8 months old, I was full of mixed feelings. I was feeling very excited thinking about having another little angel but at the same time I was worried. How on earth I was going to cope with two babies! What was I thinking!? The reactions I received from people around me were not that positive either. Some argued it would be a very difficult task to look after two and some even thought it must have been unplanned! It did annoy me hearing these negative comments but overall Alhamdulillah, I was coping well with the news as I always believe Allah (SWT) does not burden any soul with more than they can cope with.

I am the eldest among my five siblings and so I was already quite experienced in looking after babies. On top of that, I was already in ‘new mother mode’ with my first child under 1 year old, so having another one would simply mean doing everything twice. Alhamdulillah I was also very lucky to have a very supportive husband. He did most of the chores and looked after our eldest one during the pregnancy. I was also helped by family and very good friends.

In the beginning, I did have moments where I doubted my ability to handle two very young children. During the first couple of days after birth of my second baby, I used to feel very sorry for my eldest one. Looking into his teary eyes, I felt I was a bad mother and neglecting him as he was very attached to me. He had no competition for my (and everyone else’s for that matter) attention prior to the birth and it was a big change for him. As I was also breastfeeding my second one, I couldn’t give that much time to my son for first couple of days, and so it must have appeared to him that I had forgotten him. I was also feeling very exhausted being a new mum again. A positive consequence of the second child was that my son’s relationship with his dad grew stronger and he became less dependent on me, to the extent that he is now strongly attached to him! This meant that there was less pressure on me than I had originally expected.

Alhamdulillah things were not that bad, thanks to family and friends. I am lucky to have both of my families quite nearby. My mother-in-law stayed with us for the first couple of days and helped out. My mother cooked yummy food for us. Alhamdulillah we are very lucky to have them. For us, our son being in the company of his grandparents was a great sense of relief. Through this experience, I have learnt a lot Alhamdulillah.
Eventually, I was able to balance my time and share time with both of my kids. It was also quite good for my son too. He has learnt to be more independent and considerate of others’ need. He tries to share his toys and food with his sister.

My son is now 27 months and my daughter is almost 12 months, Alhamdulillah. Being so close in age has also helped my daughter in learning new skills as she is always following her brother in almost everything! She has already started walking mashallah while my son learnt to walk around 13 months. She is also trying her best to climb up the stairs, chasing after her brother. To sum it up, she is desperately trying to be like her brother which means it is hopefully going to be less hassle for me as my children will grow up quickly Insha-Allah. We are enjoying our life a lot as we are always busy with our children. Alhamdulillah they are the biggest joy in our life.

Having a good birth partner

Giving birth can be a very difficult experience for a woman and is often quite painful. You may feel scared and stressed due to fear of unknown especially if you are a first time mother. That’s why it is very important to have a supportive birth partner who understands the difficulties of labour and the actual birth process. Having a good partner makes a huge difference during labour, from the first stage of contractions to the moment you get to see your baby for the first time Alhamdulillah!

I have been blessed with two children Alhamdulillah. My husband was there for me during the two births. My first one was quite scary as I didn’t know what to expect. Although I tried to research what to expect, my birth experience wasn’t that common. I was admitted to the hospital when I was 34 weeks pregnant due to high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia). The consultant suggested that I should have an induced labour. I wasn’t very happy with this, as I thought there were still four more weeks to go and I wanted things to take their natural course. However we didn’t have any choice left. I was feeling quite upset and scared. My husband was there throughout that time which meant a lot to me. I think during these sorts of moments, I feel closer to Allah (SWT) than normally. There is no one who can help us when we go through such a hard time and I am grateful to Allah (SWT) for his help and mercy. In the case of my first child, the whole process from first contractions to birth was four hours, which I learned later is significantly shorter than most people. In the case of my second child, it was even shorter… For this, I thank Allah for easing my pain.

I also thank Allah (SWT) for having blessed me with a supportive husband to act as my birth partner. I felt comfortable having him beside me to support me and I think it also helped him to understand more how much pain and suffering a mother needs to go through during labour. I know sisters who would prefer their mother or sister, or even their best friend to be there for them during delivery, but I think I would feel uncomfortable anyone else being there, as I think only my husband can see me in such an awkward state.

Having said that, it is someone’s choice who she would prefer to be with her during labour, as this is probably the most stressful time that any woman will probably face in their life and she needs to feel comfortable and that there is someone there to provide her with the support that she needs. Whatever you may prefer, it is best to decide who the birth partner will be early on in the pregnancy, so that you can inform the person in advance and plan everything accordingly. They can ensure that the bag is packed and ready in the last few weeks of pregnancy, ready for the big day!