Pregnant, toddler and overwhelmed - Mothering Forums
I'm Pregnant > Pregnant, toddler and overwhelmed
skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 12:19 PM 02-16-2013
Im not sure where to post this. I'm 17 weeks with baby #2 and have an intense, vivacious, adorable 22 month old DD. I'm still nursing her at naptime, bedtime and 1-3 times overnight. My milk supply is minimal at best, DD is cutting her 2 year molars and is going through a major control/independent phase. The pregnancy hormones are making me really sensitive both physically and emotionally. I have major touch aversion, zero libido, and nursing often gives me the jibblies and sometimes is quite painful. DD is very attached to nursing especially for going to sleep and it's by far easier to nurse her than not. My biggest challenge though is emotional. I used to pride myself in being a firm but calm, nurturing and loving parent. I was able to separate the tantrum from the child and empathize, offer alternatives and generally be a calm presence until she was ready to reconnect. It was still hard and draining but I got through it and had some confidence in my parenting. These days my patience is short, her tantrums are more intense and mysterious and after a couple of minutes I break down crying. I feel like such a failure. The worst is when she's rejecting the breast but crying for more. I feel like I've failed her by getting pregnant again sooner than planned. I'm not providing her the comfort she needs because of my inadequate milk supply, the calm direction she needs because of my wild emotions and the home cooked nutritious meals and tidy house because when she's finally asleep and I could get to chores, I'm so exhausted and feel so crippled that I curl up and cry or read or do any other useless thing to unwind. When she's crying for more milk I can't console her. She doesn't let it out and settle down but just keeps escalating to the point of gagging and sweating. I feel like a terrible mom of one and right now can't even imagine too. I have a healthy, strong girl who is a decent sleeper and mostly delightful little monkey and I can't believe how badly I'm messing up. I just want to run away!

Ugh. It feels better getting it out there. Thanks for letting me vent.

lovemylab's Avatar lovemylab 12:56 PM 02-16-2013
I feel your pain (I am 6 weeks futher along)! My daughter just a month older than your, finally was weaned last month. I couldn't take the pain of nursing her, it was brutal. It reminded me of when we started nursing. She was only nursing at nap time and bedtime so weaning actually went really easy. Easy for her I felt horrible. Whether you decide to keep trying to comfort nurse or not, you are still a great mom!

I know what you mean about trying to stuff done at Naptime. But sometimes it just doesn't work out unfortunitly.... I have been sick with the stomach flu so I was hoping to catch up today during my lo's nap but she refused to leave my arms..... I rather have a messy house then a overly tired toddler.... Oh well there is always tomorrow I guess.
gwydhenn's Avatar gwydhenn 01:40 AM 02-18-2013

I know exactly what you are going through, so you totally have my sympathy!  I'm 30 wks along with #2 who we are excited to meet but the pregnancy came sooner than we'd planned.   My DS is the same age as your DD and also very intense and attached to his nummies.  For some reason I still enjoy nursing during the day but I find night nursing just awful-the pain seems so much worse and I get incredibly agitated if he nurses more than 5-10 minutes.  Sometimes I just have to get up and leave the room and then he starts crying and coming after me and I feel so bad about it.  I've tried to nightwean a few times and it was a disaster, so I'm just trying to get through the next month and a half.   I definitely feel you on the wild emotions.  I don't always have as much patience with DS anymore and I just feel horrible about it, and I've sometimes been short with DH for no reason and I feel so bad about that too.   Some days I'm just really down and I'm not really emotionally available to either of them.   I've had those feelings of failure a lot.

 

I'm starting to accept that I'm in survival mode right now and am trying to make caring for myself a bigger priority so I can be calm for my family.  It's hard because I love having a clean house and feeling productive and providing healthy from-scratch meals and I still feel some guilt over it but sometimes I've just had to lay in bed or take a bath or do some light reading while DS sleeps or while DH takes over for a bit on the weekend and it does help.  And sometimes the opposite is true to-when I'm feeling worn down sometimes it makes me feel better to get a load of laundry in or organize something.  I try to take advantage of the times I am feeling calm to give DS lots of extra attention and cuddles and that seems to help too.

 

It sounds like you are doing an awesome job and I so hope things get easier for you!  hug.gif


skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 01:36 PM 02-18-2013
Thank you ladies so much. Big hugs to you both. Toddler plus pregnancy isn't easy! Things have been up and down but generally a bit better in the last few days. I'm starting to recognize that self care will be absolutely crucial with two little ones and that if I don't take care of myself, the whole family will suffer. To that end I made a plan with a mommy friend to start going to the nearby YWCA for some very light exercise and grown up time. I know you're not supposed to start a fitness plan in pregnancy but some very light stationary bike time or a dip in the pool won't be any more strenuous than going grocery shopping with my little monkey.
I hope you both also find some relief and are able to enjoy your pregnancy.

Lovemylab, I can imagine the mixed emotions of weaning earlier than planned. Some nights, DD is content with some water and cuddling back to sleep and those times are so bittersweet. I'm relieved not to have the 30-45 minute nursing marathon that makes my skin crawl but I'm saddened that she doesn't need me as much anymore. Since she didn't struggle with weaning, take comfort that she didn't feel rejected or put aside. Nursing is a relationship and it needs to work for both parties. You nursed her as long as possible and still meet her needs for comfort. Your DD is lucky to have you!

Gwydhenn you have made it so far already. It gives me hope that maybe my DD will nurse through and we will tandem. Your LO was significantly younger when you first got pregnant and you've persevered so maybe I can too. At night I often have to read a book on my phone to distract myself but often I still have to stop. I tell her that the milkies are ouchie, I ask her to stop and we snuggle. Of course there are often tears and I only hold firm if I'm at the end of my rope. I hope the rest of your pregnancy is easier and you fall into a good rhythm once the baby comes.

Thanks again ladies for your support and compassion. Let's keep in touch and get through this tough time together hug.gif
aimfatale's Avatar aimfatale 05:23 PM 02-18-2013

I am in the same situation and this is why I was terrified to get pregnant again, knowing how much of a handful my "spirited" toddler already was, and how sick I was during pregnancy before. I knew it was going to be too much for me to handle. I wasn't able to stay on top of the housework and healthy meals before I got pregnant, let alone have any time for myself. Now it's all completely out the window. And I feel awful for not being up to playing with my two-year-old and doing things with her, rather than constantly trying to put her off because Mummy's not feeling well. I planned to breastfeed for one year but she had another agenda and is not giving it up. But it is very draining and painful now. She knows I'm going to cringe when she nurses so she asks, "I nurse a itty bit peas?" How can I say no? So when I can no longer stand it, I tell I am getting sore and she has to come off. She cries a little but then cuddles up to me. I'm dreading taking care of newborn again while also having a high-need toddler to look after. I'm trying to be positive and not dwell on the anxiety this time but I feel overwhelmed and scared!


sageowl's Avatar sageowl 05:27 PM 02-18-2013

Right there with the rest of you...this pregnancy has been harder than the last one, and it's been so hard to keep up with DS.  I really could use some help, but have no one. 


mamabear0314's Avatar mamabear0314 05:53 PM 02-18-2013

Oh boy I feel you. When I was pregnant with #2 I was so exhausted, DS1 was sooo high needs. He nursed so much. I night weaned him asap for my sanity but he still took hours to fall asleep, woke up several times a night and was up before the sun.

2 weeks after DS2 was born we found out DS1 has autism. Yeah that's not stressful at all. :-/ But at least we got an Rx for melatonin so he finally started sleeping.

 

Now I'm pregnant with #3. DS1 is 4 yo and DS2 is 2 yo. To say I'm exhausted is just a major understatement. I wanted to nurse DS2 through pregnancy but he weaned himself when my milk dried up.

 

But I can say from experience and for all of our sakes...this will pass, we will survive and it will be worth it. hug2.gif


bubbagirl's Avatar bubbagirl 12:38 AM 02-19-2013
Its a comfort to know how I am feeling is not abnormal. I am preg with #3. Ds will be 3 next month and dd will be 17 months in a few days. I just started the 3rd trimester and find any opportunity I can to lay down. I am still nursing both, bust mostly just at night and for naps at home for ds. Dd about the same, but she still wakes through the night to nurse.

I want to scream sometimes the nursing bothers me so, and yet at other times its ok. I can't imagine weaning either of them though. Maybe a few months after the baby is here.

My patience isn't what it used to be and I know I am not nearly as much fun as I was or could be right now.....
lovemylab's Avatar lovemylab 05:32 AM 02-19-2013
I think the hardest part about being pregnant when you already have a kid is if you are tired or don't feel good you can't just go to bed and lay down.
skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 09:41 AM 02-20-2013
We had a wonderful day yesterday. All day there was about 5 minutes of whining/crying all together. We walked to the grocery store, she played in the puddles, had a good nap and was generally calm and delightful. Then she slept through the night!!!!! I'm amazed. If this was the norm, I'd feel so much more confident. I wish I could bottle whatever was different about yesterday and put a few drops in her Cheerios each morning lol.

Aimfatale, how far along are you? When I read your post, it reminded me of the first trimester. If you're newly pregnant, odds are you will feel a bit better in a few weeks. My first trimester was awful this time. I was curled up on the couch, DD watched sesame street for four hours in the morning, then we had naptime when I prayed she'd sleep for like 3hours. It was awful parenting, I totally checked out and couldn't wait to pass her off on DH. NOT a proud mama period. It did get better though. I'm 17 weeks now and my energy is much better and I feel a lot less pregnant in most ways. I hope you are simply going through the worst of it and will feel a bit better soon. hug.gif

Sageowl, I also found this pregnancy harder than the first! I think lovemylab has it right, this time we simply can't take time for ourselves when we need it most. I'm very lucky that my mom helps but lately my brother has had health issues so she's there to help them whenever they ask. I completely understand and try not to feel put off but if I'm having a particularly rough day and she cancels it's hard to keep it in perspective. Take care of yourself as much as you can.

MicahMae, it had to be especially difficult raising a toddler with special needs while pregnant. Sometimes I think my issues are so trivial when I really think about it but that doesn't help me in the heat of the moment. Thank you for your wisdom and encouragement.

Bubbagirl you are one strong mama! Tandem nursing for 17 months and soon to add a third nursling into the mix! I hope my DD makes it through this pregnancy. Your DS is a real pro, since this is nothing new to him. I know how thinly stretched I feel a lot of the time so I can't even imagine chasing two young kiddos. It's nice to hear that not only have you done it but are willing to do it again.

We will get through this together!
aimfatale's Avatar aimfatale 04:14 PM 02-20-2013

You're right: I'm ten weeks and I feel like the worst mom but I'm just too sick to play with my two-year-old or even cook decent meals most days. She has developed a fondness for chicken nuggets and French fries that I'd hoped to avoid. And she watches way more tv than I'd ever imagined. :( On the days when I just can't keep my eyes open come 2pm I have awoken fifteen minutes later to find her curled up in a blanket on the floor asleep herself. But this is no good because she's not much of a sleeper and if she naps even a little bit during the day she won't go to sleep til after 9pm! So I try to stay awake and keep her awake to save the evening. But my "morning" sickness takes a sharp turn for the worse around 4 or 5 pm and gets worse til bedtime so evenings are a write off for me. Last night I dragged my butt out of bed at 8:30 after nursing her to sleep so that I could take a much needed bath. By the time I ran the bath, tidied up, made tea etc. it was 9:15. I was in the tub maybe five minutes, with a head full of shampoo when a bawling toddler came running into the bathroom distraught. Sigh. Dh was out. Guess it was a gamble. When I was pregnant the first time I took baths almost every night because it made everything feel better (and that's why I decided I wanted a water birth, which I didn't get but that's another whole rant...) and that's the crux of it and also why I struggled so hard with ppd -- all the things I would usually do to take care of myself -- journaling, long quiet walks, baths, meditation, even coffee with a friend -- become much less accessible when you have children who need you 24 hours a day. Unfortunately I don't have much family close by or available to relieve me so I just keep going. And going... Fingers crossed that you are right about it getting better in a few weeks. Last time my nausea didn't ease up until after 20 weeks and even then, I still got nauseous every day at 4pm! Here's hoping this time I'll get a honeymoon trimester. 


lovemylab's Avatar lovemylab 04:44 PM 02-20-2013
aimfatale you need a hug! Hope you feel better soon. Just to give everyone a chuckle, I had an appointment yesterday and there was an intern he asked me if I found myself tired. I couldn't help but laugh! I said yeah I have an almost two year old at home, I am always tired!
BabySmurf's Avatar BabySmurf 12:35 PM 02-21-2013

Wow, could have written these posts myself last week.  Big hugs to us all!! This week has been better for us, but I feel like things could slide back to where they were at any moment! It's exhausting being one on one with a toddler asserting their independence while still needing you so desperately at the same time! Housework and cooking have definitely slipped in this household...but I had to let go of that guilt.  I had also been relying too much on the tv as a crutch for myself, but I got fed up and unplugged it the other day.  best idea ever.  i realized that it was hindering DS's and my ability to connect the way that he needed to, and causing him to melt down so much easier.  it took a couple of days of intense one on one time to refill his "love cup" so to speak, and while he is definitely still a normal 2 year old, he is much more calm without the tv, and so am i. 

 

I read something a while back that helped me out too about looking into your child eyes.  whenever you are feeling overwhelmed and spent, just look at your child's eyes.  the emotion in them will melt your heart in a millisecond and help ground you until you can take that time for self care that we all need to schedule.  and actually scheduling it is important, because it is way too easy to let it slide in order to take care of something else.  there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done....


BabySmurf's Avatar BabySmurf 04:05 PM 02-22-2013

oh, i just came across this article, and thought it was timely - we talk so much about helping our toddlers through big emotions, we forget that it's normal for us to have them too, and showing them how we can recover from them is so important!

 

http://coreparentingpdx.com/2012/when-mama-has-a-bad-day/


skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 02:52 AM 02-23-2013
That's a great article, BabySmurf! It resonated with me and gave me a new perspective. I will try to lay it out for her so she can start to understand. I bet it's scary seeing mommy break down and cry with no explanation greensad.gif.

As an update, I've had some luck with simply getting down on her level (usually sitting on the floor) and saying "I'm ready to give you big hugs and snuggles when you're ready." On two occasions now she has taken a few minutes to calm down some then came over and melted into my arms. It's such a sweet moment. Maybe she feels safer and more heard when I make myself super accessible and simply wait for her to be ready. It's easier to stay calm if I don't push for her to stop but think "she needs to release and needs a little time to be angry". I'm a bit more in control of my emotions now that I look at her tantrum as an outlet for frustration that will be followed by reconnection rather than a rejection of my affection. I feel like I've turned a corner... Let's see if it lasts!
BabySmurf's Avatar BabySmurf 01:17 PM 02-23-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by skycheattraffic View Post

That's a great article, BabySmurf! It resonated with me and gave me a new perspective. I will try to lay it out for her so she can start to understand. I bet it's scary seeing mommy break down and cry with no explanation greensad.gif.

As an update, I've had some luck with simply getting down on her level (usually sitting on the floor) and saying "I'm ready to give you big hugs and snuggles when you're ready." On two occasions now she has taken a few minutes to calm down some then came over and melted into my arms. It's such a sweet moment. Maybe she feels safer and more heard when I make myself super accessible and simply wait for her to be ready. It's easier to stay calm if I don't push for her to stop but think "she needs to release and needs a little time to be angry". I'm a bit more in control of my emotions now that I look at her tantrum as an outlet for frustration that will be followed by reconnection rather than a rejection of my affection. I feel like I've turned a corner... Let's see if it lasts!

Yay! I feel that toddlers do much better when we are down on their level, and I wholeheartedly agree that sometimes that tantrum just needs to happen to allow kids to hit the reset button.  It's hard for so may adults to regulate their emotions and keep composure when they are upset, and we have had many, many years to practice those skills.  Toddlers just need some practice learning how to manage those big, all encompassing emotions, and they need our support to help them know that it's okay :)

 

I have been looking at this website for ideas lately, and it's really helping me figure out how to set limits while still honoring my little guy for the intense toddler that he is.  We definitely still have our good days and bad days, but keeping perspective and making sure we get some time for self care is SO helpful! orngbiggrin.gif....especially since I seem to be on a crazy emotional roller coaster lately - I don't know if the meltdowns are happening because DS is going through something, or if it's all just totally me!

 

I hope your good streak continues!

 

http://www.ahaparenting.com/ages-stages/toddlers


skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 11:06 AM 02-28-2013
That's a great resource, BabySmurf! We've had a calmer streak lately with the getting down and waiting for her to come to me. Right now she has a monster cold though and all she wants is to be on me. I can't have a drink, can't pee and forget emptying the potty (something my pregnant nose does NOT appreciate). Twice now she's fallen asleep on me and while I love the cuddles, pregnant bladder isn't impressed lol. Ugh.. This too shall pass, right? To top it off the charger for our baby monitor is busted so that didn't help with getting sleep last night. I'm 19 weeks tomorrow.. 40 seems so distant!
BabySmurf's Avatar BabySmurf 12:52 PM 03-02-2013
I'm glad u found it helpful - I feel like it makes a lot of sense, and it works! I hope the calm streak continues! This pregnancy has been a lot harder than my last one - I agree that 40 weeks sounds so far! I am 27 weeks so its coming up quick for us. I don't know what scares me more, the third trimester or having a newborn with a 2 year old, lol!
skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 04:45 PM 03-05-2013
So now the tantrums are better, just in time for everyone to get the stomach flu greensad.gif. I'm exhausted, DD is miserable, and DH has just caught it too. It's a doozy with vomiting, diarrhea, the works! It's hard to recover with 30lb of misery hanging off me 24/7. I feel sooo bad for her but I feel bad for baby too. The second halfofthis winter has sucked! We need spring badly around here!! How are you mamas doing?
lovemylab's Avatar lovemylab 05:06 AM 03-06-2013
We have had a good stretch lately too. I think the nicer weather and getting outside helps.

Hope your family feels better. I had the stomach flu last month and ended up in l&d due to strong constant contractions. Turns out the flu made me crazy dehydrated which caused the contractions. Man it really felt like the real deal! Luckily not!
skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 08:34 AM 03-06-2013
That sounds so scary, lovemylab! I'm glad it wasn't early labour.
I wish the weather was nicer here too but it's mostly still under the freezing mark. I just can't brave much out there yet and we are both getting really tired of being stuck at home. It's really taking a toll emotionally and I just want to run away for a day greensad.gif
BabySmurf's Avatar BabySmurf 12:21 PM 03-06-2013

Yuck, sorry you guys had to go through that - it was hard on us just suffering through the colds we got this season!! I can't wait for the weather to get a bit warmer either, it will seriously improve everyone's mood I think!

 

We have been doing a bit better too.  Things are at their best when everyone is well rested, well fed, and needs met.  Unfortunately that's a really, really hard mark to make!! I do find that DS picks up on my stress (and perhaps this is why things can seem harder than they are - I am not in a good place, which makes everything else seem more intense), so I am trying to make sure that I get breaks when I can.  I never really needed much time away from DS, and in fact I do best when we spend most of our time together and DH and I just get our one "date night".  But lately I need more "me" time...and date night has needed to be put on the back burner for a while :(  We just had a small weekend get away and I feel SO much better, but I can already feel myself getting overwhelmed again with DH's crazy work schedule combined with the fact that DS has decided to abandon naps.....there is always *something*!  I just need to make sure that I schedule in some time in for myself so that I can take down my stress levels a notch.  I finally understand why SAHM's send their kids to preschool so "young", lol!


skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 12:50 PM 03-06-2013
That's the challenge, BabySmurf - me time! But DH is a whole lot sicker than I am right now and all DD wants is mommy mommy MOMMY!!!! Even my mom whom she will gladly abandon me for for hours is chopped liver right now. Tomorrow is another day though, sanity perhaps included.
gwydhenn's Avatar gwydhenn 02:12 PM 03-07-2013

That sounds awful, I really hope you are all feeling better soon and that you get a chance to rest and have some of that much-needed me time!   I definitely hear you about the winter taking a big emotional toll-I think DS and I would feel sooo much better if we could go outside more.  It won't be long now though (I hope!)

 

Things have been kind of tough here lately-DS is so happy and bubbly most of the time, but he has been having these long, intense bouts of screaming both during the day and at night when he wakes up.  It's almost like a meltdown where he just loses control and can't calm down on his own.  His sleeping has been pretty wonky (it's hard for him to fall asleep, which makes it hard to stay in a consistent pattern) so I think that's part of it, and his speech delay might be part of it too.  Last night was really good though-he went down early and slept for over 11 hours.  It seems like you always get that break just when you've hit the end of your rope.   Oh, and one more thing that's made life easier is that for whatever reason nursing suddenly became less painful once I hit my 3rd trimester (still get those creepy-crawlies though unfortunately).  I hope you get the some relief from the pain too!

 

Thanks for that link, BabySmurf.  I think it would really help both me and DS if I took more time to talk about how I'm feeling.  I am going to try getting down on his level more too.


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