I am not naive. I know that going from one to two children is going to be hard. Hard for the little man, used to my full attention, hard for me splitting myself in two and hard for daddy trying to help but with piles of work to do at the same time. But what I don't want is it to be spelt out to me in hard and scary terms by a health visitor. In my own home.
When you are due to have a baby, a health visitor will pay a house call. This is to give you the little red medical book and to give you the chance to chat through any issues or concerns you might have. I imagine it is also so they can see what sort of a household the new little person will be coming into. I didn't give this visit a second thought - just put it in my diary, made space for it during the busy week which meant delaying our usual visit to the swimming pool and when she came (twenty minutes late) I sat down ready to talk. What I wasn't expecting was a 45 minute lecture on how I MUST prepare the little man for the "horrendous shock" he will have, how difficult life is going to get for me, how I NEED to get him potty trained right now (with four weeks until my due date) and how he is far too old to be having a bottle of milk (okay maybe he is but do I need to worry about that NOW?).
Ever since I have been shrouded in the blues that I just can't shrug off. Instead of looking forward to the arrival of our second child, I am now dreading it. If the little man, who is extremely lively, starts playing up, I am plunged into feelings of inadequacy. How will I cope with two if I can't even control one?
I also feel angry. I didn't ask for her opinions. It certainly wasn't helpful having them thrown at me. In my own home. The withering look of disapproval we got as the little man guzzled away on his full fat milk is one I am finding hard to forget. And worse still, will I have to face her again when the baby has arrived and I am at my most vulnerable?
Friends have told me to call up and request she not visit me again. Others apparently have done the same. In fact, do I really need to see a health visitor at all? Last time around, I tied myself in knots each time they put my tiny boy on the scales and warned me that, while he was putting on the minimum amount of weight required, it could, should, be better. He was fine. All that worry for nothing. And now I might have to go through it all again. In fact, it has already started.
No, not this time. I know better. Pass me the phone.