Dear Is This Normal,
I have a one year old and currently expecting baby #2. Don’t get me wrong I love my daughter but ever since finding out I’m pregnant she’s been extra clingy and a handful from only wanting me not dad I can’t do anything i have to sneak away from her in order to get things done the moment she doesn’t see me it’s a non stop cry. I feel so pathetic but I’ve caught myself crying along with her. I’m just so overwhelmed.
Signed, Tired and Touched Out
Dear Touched Out,
First off, congratulations on baby number two! These are strange times we’re living in, and my heart has been so warmed by families choosing to forge ahead and create their own bright spots in dark days. I know it can’t be easy, being pregnant in a pandemic with a toddler at home, having to do without your support system. And I also know, from firsthand experience, that being pregnant while chasing after a toddler can be incredibly challenging. Not only are you limited (in energy, time, patience, you name it), but your kiddo is feeling and sensing some stuff that may be causing some regressions. Let me just say, this is all totally normal. Easy? No. But definitely normal. Preparing for baby number 2 is a process, and your toddler is part of that (and has their own feelings about the whole thing, tbh).
One thing to keep in mind is that while your toddler’s current regression seems timed to your pregnancy (and likely is, which we’ll get to in a bit), regression during toddlerhood happens regularly at different stages of development. They’re in that tricky phase between baby and big kid, and everyday they learn new skills and hit new milestones that can throw a wrench in your whole routine. So while I know you’re struggling right now, I hope you can find a little solace in knowing that this clinginess and regression is par for the course when it comes to toddlers.
Now, let’s talk about what’s happening now with the whole toddler clingy with pregnant mom thing. Your sweet girl, all of one year old, totally senses that life as she knows it is about to get REAL weird and look a lot different. And chances are life is already starting to look and feel different for her! Pregnancy takes a lot out of you, so you’re probably more tired than usual, and your energy and capacity to do certain things is waning and changing. Kids are very intuitive little beings, and she senses the changes in you, which are resulting in changes to her routine. Things right now don’t feel…normal to her. And with toddlers, normalcy and routine reign supreme. She’s also probably starting to understand that she’s about to no longer have your undivided attention, and she’s trying to soak up as much as she can before the baby comes.
This is just one of those situations where waiting it out is the best course of action. You don’t want to do anything to further disrupt her routine, which will be flipped upside down yet again when the new baby arrives. The best way to deal with this type of regression is to try and maintain your daughter’s routine and as much of a sense of normalcy as you possibly can, while also making sure to take care of yourself and your needs during this pregnancy. This can mean coming up with new activities that are more conducive to what your current energy levels are, like designating quiet snuggle time on the couch with a few books instead of play time that requires a lot of physical exertion. And you know what? Sometimes, when you need time to yourself to nap or rest or get stuff done, your village is just going to have to figure how to keep your kiddo occupied and happy (more or less) while you take that time.
Your daughter is reacting this way in large part because of the incredible bond and healthy attachment you’ve developed with her, and that is something to be very proud of. This regression is not permanent, and is not an indication of how she will respond when her new brother and sister arrives, so try not to worry too much about that. By making some small adjustments to your time together, you should be able to help her deal with these coming weeks, and prepare her to be the most amazing big sister.
This Too Shall Pass,
Is This Normal