Oh Sh*t, Now There's Two. How to Grow When You Are Expecting Your Next Baby
So you peed on a stick and saw those blue lines…. oh shit.
Sometimes a pregnancy is planned sometimes they are not. You can welcome your new babe with loving arms but if unplanned can come with an added level of stress.
Breathe deep with me, it will be ok, your heart and mind can expand to love more.
When I was expecting my second son I was in no place to be adding to my family, or so I thought.
I was struggling to work while pregnant and postpartum came with an unexpected change to our family dynamics. I grew and learned about this new little person to join us while my older son learned new expectations of me. Now we are a semi-functioning family unit. Through this process, I discovered some things that have helped to make it easier for all of us.
1. Dont buy all the things
Looking back at your firstborn I'm sure you noticed how much of all that “stuff” you purchased for the baby that you didn't actually use. Take note of what you found most helpful and things that serve a dual purpose to save space. You are now adding a whole other persons shit to your house ( literally and figuratively) use what you have wisely.
2. Find your people
For some of us, we have already created a village for ourselves for those that haven't yet this is a great chance to.
Finding pregnancy and postpartum support groups can be a good start, most providers know of at least one, recently I joined Oh, Baby Lactation Care in co-hosting a weekly Wednesday First Steps Parent & Baby group for new and re-newed parents (Learn more here) .
Having someone you can reach out to when new-parent-brain isn't functioning well and you've reached your limit can be so valuable.
Online communities can be helpful but nothing beats venturing out of the house the first time with both of your kids and having the whole room applaud because you managed to get out with all of you dress(ish).
For those people already part of your tribe set expectations and let them know your needs, they're not mind readers. Do this during your pregnancy to give you time to sort things out and to have those discussions. Having a family member that can commit to taking your older kiddo for 3 hours every Tuesday not only gives you the time to breathe, but you can also count on and look forward to that breathing room. The predictability also helps your oldest to have some special time that they might not be getting from you at first with another oh- so- special- person.
3. Postpartum Doulas are the Bomb
If you do not have a network that can physically come support you and your changing relationships it would be a good idea to look into a postpartum doula.
Imagine this with me, someone who understands what you are going through and has the knowledge to answer any questions you might have, no matter how big or small comes to your home. They come in, you get to sit for maybe the first time that day, talk about how the past few days have gone (feeding, sleep, emotions). You get to have a warm shower, without anyone knocking on the door, eat a warm meal ( with both hands!) and whatever else you need to feel human again. You come out to baby’s laundry folded and they’re asleep. Then this wonderful person walks you through infant massage ( maybe you get a massage too) and anything else to help you troubleshoot how to get your needs met. It sounds amazing right?!
If you wonder how a postpartum doula might fit into your post-pregnancy life More Info Here
4. Wear All The Babies
The one physical “thing” I would suggest is a baby carrier.
Yes, we have arms to hold our babies but there is nothing like having them snuggled into you securely while you have two hands to push your other on the swing or fetch snacks or whatever else is also calling you attention.
I would not have survived without my baby carriers and the proper education that I receive about them. Always get your carrier from a reputable retailer, I prefer someplace in person where you can try the carriers out. You can get just that at Bean Tree Baby in New Britain, CT and online. What carrier might feel comfortable for you, others in your household may find cumbersome. Try them all out and see what works for you and encourage other caregivers to do that same. I suggest doing this during your pregnancy before you have a big belly, so you already have it and are comfortable using it before trying with a live baby.
No matter what, at the end of the day congratulate yourself on this wonderful family you built.
Give gratitude for what those little versions of you have taught you and enjoy that moment of silence between the chaos.
Thanks for reading & Sweet Sunshine,