How Pregnancy Affects ToddlersNaomi Odes
When I found out I was pregnant with Fuzz, Shnook was barely 17 months old. I remember after I took the pregnancy test, I went to play with him in his Youkiddo tent for the mandatory five minute wait, then waited about 10 more minutes because I was afraid to look. Finally, I went to face the music.
When it said “pregnant,” I returned to Shnook with a very different vibe. I was smiling a new smile, and I was a bit bewildered (we weren’t trying to have a second just yet). He picked up on it immediately. He noticed my attention was diverted. It’s amazing how both our lives changed with a little pee on a stick (again).
As my pregnancy progressed, I observed the Shnook becoming more demanding, but then, he was headed toward two, so it could’ve been just that. Regardless, being pregnant while having a toddler was not the most fun time of my life.
I had a lot of anxiety and guilt about how I wasn’t paying enough attention to him, but then I would desperately need to leave him with a babysitter so I could sleep for a couple of hours, or go to my doctor’s appointments. I was already unable to give him my full attention and the baby wasn’t even here yet. Shnook’s behavior definitely changed during this period. He let me know that I had been demoted to second fiddle. He turned his attention to Daddy. When he woke up in the night he would scream “Daddy!” not “Mommy” which was somewhat heartbreaking. If I tried to go in to him he would actually say: “No!! I don’t WANT you.” (SOB.)
Little things shattered him easily. If we did routines out of order or something happened unexpectedly, it was difficult for him to recover.
It’s interesting to read how other people struggled with their toddlers during their second and subsequent pregnancies. Heather Turgeon’s son sounds a lot like mine. In her piece Pregnancy And My Preschooler, she shares how he internalized her pregnancy, and how she dealt with it.