The Exhausting Reality Of Parenting A Toddler While Pregnant

by Crystal Bowman
Originally Published: 
Exhausting pregnant mother with her toddler sitting on her lap
Image via Shutterstock

Oftentimes, you will hear older women talk of the joys of having your children close together. “They will get along better the closer they are together.” I’ve heard many say that three years apart is perfect! But, there are things that they don’t tell you about being pregnant and having a toddler. So, if you’re thinking about getting pregnant while you still have a toddler running around, please read this first. You can trust me; I’m pregnant and parenting a toddler.

You will envy first time moms. You will look at your toddler running around like a wild banshee while your eyes are begging you to close them, and you will feel envy. You will envy first time moms who can take a nap whenever the urge strikes them. You will want to slap them for wishing away solitary moments because they’s rather be getting to know their little one. You will try to tell these moms to adore their sleep and cherish the freedom they have while they can still do on a whim. But they will not listen.

You will begin to think your toddler is psychic. Can she really sense that you have no energy when she feels that she absolutely requires your immediate assistance or wants you to run laps around the house with her? Can she sense that you just sat down to eat the first meal of the day at 2 pm but right then she must have a snack or meal, even if she just ate? Can she sense that you really just want to lie down on the couch and relax when she decides that she must go potty for the third time in the last hour? Yes. Yes, she can. And your toddler will ask you for things, everything, when you have no energy or wits left. She will push you past whatever limit you thought your pregnant body was capable of. However, when you have energy and because you got a comfortable enough to sleep the night before, she will be a perfect angel and will entertain herself all day without the first whine, complaint, or demand.

Your belly will become the newest attraction at the theme park known as “Mommy.” Yes, I’ve been kicked, body slammed, and even used as a pillow as my belly gets bigger during pregnancy and my dear, dear daughter believes it’s the newest and greatest part of jungle-gym-mommy. She believes it’s a pillow. She believes it will bounce if she tries to jump on it. She doesn’t seem to comprehend the fact that there is, indeed, a living being in that small space who really doesn’t like to be body slammed. I keep praying baby brother will not be born with 10 million birth marks due to his big sister’s curiosity about the grand, new mommy ride.

No sympathy. While you may be able to get loads of sympathy from family and friends for your latest pregnancy endeavor, your toddler will not join in this sympathy. Friends and family may say, “Oh, you poor thing, you.” But, your toddler will not. In fact, your toddler will not care how bad mommy feels or how much energy she’s lacking. Your toddler will want her cookie and she’ll want it now! And there better not be any excuses! Your toddler will have a “zero tolerance” rule and pregnancy is not an extenuating circumstance!

This pregnancy will feel 10 times harder and worse than your first! That’s a guarantee. And you won’t be able to tell if it’s because “all pregnancies are different” or if it’s because your mischievous toddler is running you ragged, won’t let you stop to eat, and won’t let you pee or throw up in peace. No, you will never know. But, you can bet you will feel 10 times more tired and awful.

Your toddler will cling to you for dear life—all. Nine. Months. Something weird is going on. Your toddler who may have already been clingy to start with, will not even let you breathe in peace. “Why?” you wonder. You’re growing belly has them in a tizzy! They don’t understand it. You keep saying there’s going to be a new baby. This scares them. They don’t want to lose you. They can tell something is different with your body and feel they’re going to lose you forever. Therefore, you cannot walk out of the room without telling them where you are going. God forbid you do, then you have a toddler screaming bloody murder running through the house yelling, “Mommy! Mommy!” It’s not pleasant. Never, I repeat, never try to sneak away. They will find you! And even daddy is no longer allowed to love on mommy, or else your toddler feels there will not be enough love to go around. So, mommy and daddy must stay 10 feet apart at all times.

Your toddler will regress. This will get worse once baby is actually here, or so I’ve been told. But, your toddler won’t wait for the new baby to get here before deciding that they, too, are a big baby. They forget how to use the potty; they want bottles. They will argue with you like you’ve never seen when you try to explain that they are big girls/boys. “No, I’m a baby, I wear diapers, I drink bottles.” Oh dear, oh dear. Those pull ups that you were almost through with will, yet again, become part of your monthly budget as your big girl tries desperately to be the baby, again. You will lose a little sanity each day as you slowly start to realize you’re going to have two in diapers when the new baby arrives. Cha-ching! Good bye money!

You will share tantrums. Yes, there will be moments when your significant other can’t tell who is the toddler and who is the adult. You and your toddler will both be crying. She’s crying because she really wants that blue teddy bear that you’ve searched the house for high and low for over 2 hours and now you’re hurting and she’s demanding the bear before she’ll even think of sleeping for the night. You just want to sit down and get off your aching feet, ease your breaking back, and calm your frazzled nerves. But she will not have it. So, you will listen to her scream bloody murder for 30 minutes and eventually, without realizing it, you will be crying yourself—possibly in a corner somewhere, rocking back and forth, mumbling words no one can make out. Hormones, the beautiful glory of hormones! Eventually, your toddler will stop crying and come to rescue you and say, “Don’t cry, mommy.” And you will feel like you are the toddler and they are the mommy coming to comfort you.

“Have kids close together,” they said.

Yes, this is the joy of having a toddler and being pregnant. It will not all be bad. My daughter enjoys kissing my belly and telling her baby brother that she loves him and that he’s her best friend ever. There have been times when she has let me nap for a short period and I was forever grateful. Good times. However, there have been a lot of really stressful times more often than the good. But, this is the journey you choose when you choose to have your kids close together.

“It will be fun,” they said.

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