Author and presenter, Anna Williamson, talks us through her second pregnancy and her fears following postnatal trauma.
Anna Williamson has certainly never shied away from speaking openly and honesty about her pregnancy journey. Life Coach, Counsellor and author of bestselling book Breaking Mum and Dad: An Insiders Guide to Parental Anxiety, Anna is on a mission to get mums (and dads, too) talking.
Having previously spoken candidly about her own experiences of anxiety during pregnancy and postnatal trauma following the birth of her son, Enzo, Anna recently revealed she’s expecting her second child; a baby girl.
After sharing her pregnancy news, we caught up with Anna as she reflects on her previous pregnancy and the postnatal trauma she experienced.
“When I first found out that I was pregnant, there was an initial ‘eek!’ because I had perinatal anxiety the first time around,” Anna explains during our chat.
She adds: “With hindsight, being pregnant the first time is a really overwhelming thing.”
Ever encouraging more mums and mums-to-be to speak more honestly about their emotions and experiences both pre and post birth, Anna also admitted her feelings of ‘failure’ may have been down to comparison and unrealistic expectations.
“I felt like such a failure when I had Enzo.
“I wondered if I was just monumentally crap at giving birth, or had a rubbish pain threshold, because everyone else seems to breeze through it. But it isn’t until you open up about it that everyone else admits that they had an awful time with it as well.”
Looking ahead to the arrival of her second child, and her calmer approach to pregnancy Anna went on to say: “But I have really good support and I’m feeling very zen, and really excited about welcoming my little daughter at Christmas.”
Read more about Anna Williamson’s second pregnancy and her tips for expectant mothers in our Q&A below
We caught up with Anna following her exciting baby announcement to find out how things are going. Here’s what she had to say about her second pregnancy journey and the things she wished she’d known first time around.
What have been the differences between your first and second pregnancy?
I’ve definitely enjoyed my second pregnancy more, purely because I know what to expect.
I’m somebody who absolutely needs control in my life, and because I’ve been pregnant once before I can recognise all of the signs and the symptoms and the feelings, so it doesn’t scare you or surprise you as much as it does the first time.
If I didn’t know I was having a girl, I’d have guessed that I was having a boy because I’ve had the same type of nausea, and it’s been pretty much a carbon copy pregnancy.
Have you noticed any differences between carrying a boy or a girl? Are any of the old wives’ tales true?
All of the old wives’ tales, in my experience, have been absolute nonsense.
I’m carrying the same, I feel the same, in fact a lot of people say that you get bigger with a girl but everyone has told me that I look smaller this time around.
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**ANNOUNCEMENT** On the day that my first baby turns 3 🎈🎂 we decided we’d like to share the news of what ‘flavour’ baby I’m carrying 👶 ☺️ (I’m too rubbish and disorganised to do one of those fancy gender reveal extravaganzas so The Gram it is) So….around Christmas 🎄 all being well we’ll be welcoming a BABY GIRL 💓 (or ‘Baby Sister’ as she’s affectionately referred to) into our family. We are so chuffed…not least because I get share my old Sylvanian Families & Rainbow Bright with her *air punch* – Enzo’s not interested unless it has wheels or can be ‘smashed’ 🙄😆 Finding out the sex was a big deal for me this pregnancy 🤰, having so far successfully warded off perinatal anxiety & depression this time round, I attribute a lot of that for being more in the know, a lot more prepared, and visualising my daughter which has already helped with the bonding process 👌it’s also helped Enzo get involved and excited too – although he wants to call her ‘Tristan’ which I’m not sure will work 😧 So there we have it. A baby girl to join my very special big boy who’s birthday today has made me extremely nostalgic, hormonal, and emotional. A rough birth as most of you know, and an even worse time of it post natal mentally…but my God he was worth it 🥰 no matter how crappy it may feel at the time, it DOES get better. Thankyou to @my1styears @bellepr_ for the gorgeous Baby Girl goodies 💕 #itsagirl #genderreveal #happybirthdayenzo #enzois3today #pigeonpair
Did you always plan on finding out the sex of the baby?
We didn’t know what Enzo was going to be until he came out.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t awake when he came out of me so I felt like the waiting I had done during those nine months was a bit marred. I really wanted to feel more in control this time, and have that moment of finding out what my child was when I was in the frame of mind to completely enjoy it.
Has your previous experience with postnatal depression and anxiety worried you in your second pregnancy?
At the beginning I was freaked out. I spoke with my consultant psychiatrist who is part of the pre and postnatal team to let her know that I was not feeling connected to the pregnancy, which is very common for someone who experiences anxiety.
I have an amazing team of support around me, so I’ve felt very empowered. I’ve been able to make my own birth plan, so I feel very in control, and as a result of feeling in control and supported it’s really helped me to enjoy this pregnancy.
Would you say, for mothers with a history of pre or postnatal issues, its worse going into a second pregnancy knowing the challenges that are about to come?
No, I think it’s better. I don’t want to scare anyone, but I didn’t know that [labour] was going to be as painful as it was, and that really shocked me. And then I had a terrible time postnatally.
Going into it a second time, I feel a lot more prepared knowing that it is physically demanding, it is going to hurt, but actually I got through it well and knowing what to expect is far better than the unknown.
Do you think we have a responsibility to be more honest about the realities of pregnancy and labour?
Absolutely, and it’s why I’ve talked about it openly since and will continue to.
I felt like such a failure when I had Enzo. I wondered if I was just monumentally crap at giving birth, or had a rubbish pain threshold, because everyone else seems to breeze through it. But it isn’t until you open up about it that everyone else admits that they had an awful time with it as well.
I felt that I had been so rubbish at giving birth that maybe I was going to be a rubbish mum. Well, now I know that I’m actually a great mum, I just had a bit of a false start at the beginning.
What have you learned from being a mum that you’ll be taking into your second pregnancy?
This sounds cliché, but just to chill. The first time, we’re all winging it. Every baby is different, and every mother is different.
Remember to take everyone else’s opinions and advice with a pinch of salt, because you know best.
Lastly, I’m not going to be afraid of shutting off from my phone if I need to.
Is there more pressure on second time mums to snap back to normality quicker than with their first? Is that fair?
When it comes to your family, it’s down to what works best for you. I will be going back to work fairly quickly to finish off another series of Celebs Go Dating, but who knows. You can lay your best plans and intentions, but just go with the flow. That’s what I’m going to do.
Let’s talk baby names! I saw on Instagram that Enzo wanted to call the new baby Tristan, is that still a possibility?
Someone told me that Tristan apparently can be a girl’s name, and it’s a very nice name. But I don’t want to call her Tristan, so we’ve moved on!
He seems to pick the names of his favourite people at nursery, and Isla was one that he liked, and we thought was a good name too. But whatever name we choose, it will definitely have an Italian flavour, as we did with Enzo, so we have a few in the mix.
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