When you're pregnant for the first time, everything is new, sometimes that newness is magical and sometimes that newness can be overwhelming and scary. But regardless of how you felt about pregnancy the first time (loved it or endured it, hah!), there is a common thread among all first-timers: being pregnant was new and thus, generally consuming of the thought, of the heart, of the worry.
Then you get a baby and it really is all consuming. My husband and I recently looked back on the year we had our first baby and sat baffled out how we took little to no other pictures of anything else happening that entire year. We had our first baby and so everything that happened that year was seen through the lens of that first and only child.
Then we got pregnant again, and it wasn't that it was any less special, it was just that we had a real human child that was demanding attention, so the pregnancy felt slightly less consuming, but also more difficult. Because instead of just feeling worn down because well..human growing, we also had a child that expected their regular operating momma.
I'm in my fourth pregnancy (!) and if I'm being honest that's how long it took me to embrace the things on this list, but I understand some mommas are a little quicker on the draw than me (and hopefully most are!).
If I could talk to my 2nd pregnancy self, I would try to convince her of these five things. But alas, here I am with babe#4 cooking and I'm grateful to finally be in a place where I can fully appreciate and enjoy these little bits of wisdom.
Five things to embrace in your 2nd+ pregnancy:
1. Embrace cereal for dinner: in other words, let yourself off the hook a little bit, momma. Pregnancy brings with it a sort of forced slow down which can be so very frustrating, especially for those efficiency-craving mommas like me. Up until this point, you've finally figured out how to survive as a family of how many ever of you as there currently are, which usually means a lot of juggling and hurrying to keep all the balls in the air. But pregnancy can make you tap the brakes (or sometimes slam on the brakes) of your normal operating mode. Dust bunnies collecting in the living room , no biggie. Those clothes can be folded tomorrow, or ya know what, pull them out of the clean laundry baskets as they're needed! Give yourself a little extra grace, ya know what your child will remember? That you still made time for love, not that you had cereal for dinner a few times (actually, kids love cereal for dinner).
2. Embrace help offered: There is a reason that the quote, 'it takes a village,' has hung around for so long. You are amazing, momma, a superwoman, truly! But you are only one woman, and it can be both helpful and meaningful to receive help from whoever it is that makes up your village. Look around and you'll most likely find people who are eager to help - maybe it's by offering a playdate with your kid(s) so you can rest, meeting a grandparent at the grocery store so you don't have to solo-shop with kid in tow, or someone that asks, 'is there anything you need?' Take their extended hand, friend. They love you, they love your kid, they love that baby you have cooking. Don't be hesitant to accept the help because you think you are putting them out. You get the benefit of appreciated help and your child gets the benefit of fun and attention and building relationships with people you trust and your village gets stronger!
Sidenote: When you are capable of offering help to your pregnant family or friends in the future - offer the help you appreciated! Be a friend that you'd like to have!
3. Embrace the future: be kind to your future self now. Think back on those first few weeks of having a newborn and then try to imagine your current wild child there too. Instead of being afraid of that future(hah), try to do some things now for that future tired momma you'll be. Before your new babe arrives, try to get ahead on some lingering headaches (bills, appointment scheduling, and bulk item shopping), and throw together a few freezer meals or request them as 'gifts' from your village.
4. Embrace the uniqueness of this pregnancy: Even though you've been through this whole thing before, it doesn't make it any less special. Having a human child already can be quite distracting (I mean that it in the most loving way possible obviously), and so you might have to be extra vigilant in finding ways to document this pregnancy for both you and your baby in the future. Do whatever seems to work best for you and you're own creativity. Take occasional baby bump photos, mark down notes about how you're feeling and what you're craving in a baby book or notebook. Talk to you current kid about their new sibling, let them be apart of the pregnancy too by letting them 'help you,' or read books to your belly, and make special artwork for their sibling's nursery.
5. Embrace the view: look around the dinner table, stare into the sweet cheeks of your sleeping babies in their beds, watch how your spouse plays and rough-houses with your kids. The sounds and the sights that you have in your home right now will soon be different. What is your normal now will be replaced with a new normal as soon as that little family member arrives. Embrace today's normal in all it's wild, exhausting, loud, fun, and beautiful messiness. A bigger family means the beauty and love in your family will multiply, make no mistakes, but it is an irreversible change. Literally embrace your family today and cherish this snapshot of how it feels to be your family just as you are in this moment.