My pregnancy with my first-born was organized, bullet journaled, and crafted to the extreme. You might say that it was “Pinterest-perfect.” This time around, however, is the complete opposite.
While I am preparing for a baby to join our family in early March, I find myself reflecting on the differences between this pregnancy and the pregnancy I experienced with my first child, largely when it comes to my own preparations. With this second period of anticipation, I created a cute spread in my bullet journal, but not until halfway through my pregnancy did I even begin to fill it out. I have not even so much as looked at my glue gun.
So many things vary between how I have prepared for these two babies, but it’s largely come down to one factor: time.
When you’re a mother already, caring for a snot-dripping, cuddle-demanding, snack goblin, you simply do not have the time to revel in pregnancy like you did with your first child. Don’t take this the wrong way, I love my tiny tyrant more than anything on this planet, but between being mom, working full-time, and attempting to sleep daily before a newborn arrives, I am fresh out of time.
Here are four main ways I have found preparing for a second baby to be drastically different than my experience the first time around.
There’s no picture-perfect nursey.
Right now, there is no nursery at all. Part of not having a nursery put together is that we don’t have space. When we moved about a year and a half ago, we purchased a two-bedroom home because we said we were done having children. (It’s funny how we thought we were done with babies, only to have our daughter become not-a-baby, and us change our minds.) When our first child was born, I used my crafty tendencies and went to work on the most perfect nursery I could imagine. My artistic and creative side bloomed full-force, and I loved it. There were bright colors, coordinated knick-knacks, a hand-crafted origami mobile, and a series of paintings by my husband.
This new baby won’t have all of that, and I am okay with it. Eventually, the girls will share a room and we will give them the most perfect, crafty, custom room of their dreams. Currently, we have the essentials set up so that little sister can bunk with my husband and me until she’s sleeping through the night (which, I know, could be three months or three years). There is a bassinet, a changing pad, and a cube unit to store baby clothes and diapers. For now, that’ll do just fine. Preparing for a second baby in our current home has really forced me to revalue and take stock of the essentials.
I have to be intentional about feeling connected.
Preparing for a second baby is a very different experience for me. So many mothers told me this would be the case, but I didn’t believe them until I experienced it myself. If it weren’t for the nausea of the first trimester, migraines of the second, and growing belly of the third, I truly would often forget I was pregnant. I have had to make an intentional effort to recognize, celebrate, and connect with this pregnancy. I might not have the time for twice-weekly prenatal yoga as I did with my daughter, our firstborn, but I do have five minutes per day. It might sound cheesy, but every night when I lie down to sleep, I put a hand to my belly and say to my little passenger, “You are safe, you are loved, and you are wanted.” Its a reminder to both of us that I recognize and value this pregnancy just as much as my first, even if I have to show it in different ways.
My hospital bag is far lighter.
I am a chronic over-packer. If I’m going away for the weekend, I will have enough clothes for a week with me. This isn’t because I need shoes for every outfit and options for both day and dinner outings. It’s because I need to make sure I will always have a clean pair of leggings and my favorite ratty sweatshirts on hand at all times. You never know, I might also need the hairdryer I haven’t touched since 2015, so let’s throw that in the suitcase for good measure, too. The three books that have been sitting on my nightstand for a year? Yeah, sure! In they go!
My hospital bag, made while preparing for a second baby, is minimal. In it, you’ll find hair ties, chapstick, phone charger, a pair of slippers, some comfy PJs, toiletries, and a going home outfit for me (cleaner, more public-appropriate PJs). I found that I barely used anything in my bag the first time around, and if there’s anything I forgot, Target is right around the corner from the hospital and goodness knows someone won’t mind running out for me.
Oh, the feelings. They are so big and they are so very, very real around here right now. I feel like I am clinging to every snuggle and moment of laughter with my daughter right now before her world gets flipped upside-down. I know that bringing another child into our family feels right, and when we’re all settled and adjusted, it will be wonderful. I am also aware the transition can and likely will be hard on all of us, especially our firstborn. As I am preparing for a second baby I feel emotional and raw in ways I never did in my pregnancy with my first daughter. At the end of most days, with just a few days remaining until my due date, I am left gutted. My emotions are bouncing every which way between excited, scared, nervous, and joyful. I keep riding the waves of feelings as they come, knowing that they are all temporary and will pass, or at the very least, change.
I am very aware that my supersized feelings are felt by my highly sensitive child right now. This results in a hard time for both of us. But not all of it is hard. I can honestly say that we have laughed harder the past few days than we have in weeks. I have a feeling that this new phrase will bring big emotions on every ray of the spectrum. Our family is going to have enormous changes in 2020 and our routines and structure will get cracked wide open, I’m sure of it. But the most prominent emotion I am feeling today? Excited.