I can’t believe I’m sitting here writing this at thirty-four weeks pregnant with our second child. The past few months have challenged me immensely as my hubby, Mark, & I look to the arrival of this new little bundle of joy. We’ve had some good (and sometimes not so fun) talks along the way about what we can do to be “better prepared” this time around, which might shock the average person who knows me because, well, I’m kind of a HUGE planner.
How was I not prepared last time around? To be honest, I am a firm believer that you can’t really ever be “fully prepared.” Last time, while I had the housework done, the maternity leave figured out, the baby prep classes & book complete, etc., I did not expect the sheer exhaustion both physically and emotionally.
Ethan had a hard time figuring out how to eat and developed jaundice within his first few weeks of life, sending my husband and I on a very crazy cycle. One day I tracked how much time I spent feeding him, 16 HOURS… that means the other 8 hours that I had was spent changing diapers, getting to eat, sleeping, doctor appointments, grocery runs, etc. There was a very real point where in one of our many doctor appointments in the first few months, I looked over at Mark and realized he had a good size hole in the side of his shirt… we both had a huge laugh. I also definitely poured coffee creamer into my applesauce one morning instead of my coffee – oops!
It was hard when people kept saying to sleep when the baby would sleep, because in those moments, I would actually have energy and enjoy a quiet moment to myself or with Mark. I’d try to sleep, but didn’t always feel like I “deserved” it and that I was strong enough to push through it.
This was not the case. Wanting to stay up after Ethan would go to bed to hang out with my hubby caused us to more sit next to each other in zombie mode watching a TV show then having quality time together. Skipping naps for myself to work on dinner prep or housework was great, but then I’d have no energy for the night shift. It really was a crazy cycle physically that spun into a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I wanted to be reassured that we were okay and we were strong enough to get through this, but I didn’t do the greatest on articulating my fears or feelings to my hubby. Instead I’d try to draw the reassurance out of him -- i.e. by making statements that I wanted him to immediately refute as untrue. Instead, the poor guy was trying to listen and empathize so he would nod his head -- leaving him thinking that I thought those statements were true which then made me think he truly agreed with what I was saying. Yeah, it was messy.
So what have we learned this time around being pregnant? A lot of things, but I’ll organize it into my top three takeaways.
Growing a family is a huge honor but it isn’t easy. It reminds me of how much I still have to grow as a person, how selfish I can be and… stubborn. It took us a while to settle into a new normal when Ethan came along, but I really wouldn’t change it because it showed us so much. I’m sure with the addition of our second child that we’ll have some big adjustments to make as well but I’m happy to say that at this point, we’ve applied what we’ve learned from the first time to make navigating this pregnancy a lot easier.
What’s the takeaway that speaks the greatest to you?