I recently found out I’m expecting my second child. While a lot is the same about this pregnancy — like debilitating nausea and mind-numbing fatigue — there’s also so much that feels different.
As a veteran mom, you pretty much know what to expect and how to prepare emotionally for the birth your second baby. Though I don’t yet know what life will be like with two kids, I’m certainly more confident in my ability to marinate, deliver and raise this one than I was the first time.
Here are 10 things I’ll be doing a lot differently both during pregnancy and the new baby stage.
I will trust my instincts
This can be such a difficult lesson for the first-time mom. You’ve never had to be so in tune with another being before. On top of that, you’ve never had to trust yourself so much. I now know the power in listening to that inner voice that always tells me what’s best for my child (and for me).
I will ask for help
The first time I had a baby, none of my friends had any kids. Now, between my daughter’s preschool and close friends who have since had babies, I have a mini network of mom friends. It’s truly amazing and such a different experience than going it alone. I got used to figuring everything out by myself. This time, I’ll certainly have more people to share struggles with and ask for help if needed.
I will be clear about my expectations
Before I had my first kid, I wasn’t a very assertive person. In a lot of ways, being a mom brought out the mama bear in me. But in the beginning, I was nervous to communicate what was needed to babysitters or caregivers for fear of seeming over-protective or picky. On occasion, I felt I let my daughter down when I didn’t speak up. Now that I have mom friends, I realize that all moms of infants are over-protective and picky! It’s our job to guard our precious cargo. This time I won’t make apologies for protecting my child and I will be more up-front about what is expected from caregivers.
I will stay present
There is nothing that forces you to learn to be present like having a young child. One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned in parenting is that when you are actually in those fleeting moments, no matter how hard some of them may be, you learn so much about yourself and how to parent. The more I stay present with my daughter, the more confident I feel when it’s time to leave her for a short while because I know I have really been there.
I will not share baby names
While it’s tempting to discuss names you’re thinking of with friends or family members, it can also be borderline obnoxious. Everyone has an opinion about what you should or shouldn’t name your baby and some feel they have the right to tell you what they think of your choices. This time, I will hold off on sharing our list of names until after the baby is born.
I will go on dates
My husband and I probably average about one date a month (if we’re lucky). While this couple time is so hard to carve out with kids, I vow to keep making time for each other so that our relationship stays strong even with a new baby.
I will not worry when people don’t understand
Knowing I have a network of people who do understand what I’m going through will certainly make it easier for me to ignore those who don’t. I used to get down when friends or family didn’t understand how much my life had changed, but this time I won’t worry so much. I probably won’t have time anyway.
I will be forgiving of myself
Parenthood is full of mistakes. It’s part of the process. Making them is hard because you know your kids are affected by your sometimes flawed techniques. But being in tune with your actions and being forgiving of yourself is what makes us better parents all the time.
I will be forgiving of my husband
It is so much easier to see the mistakes someone else is making than the mistakes you are making. I’m definitely guilty of picking on my husband for the way he disciplines or talks to our daughter from time to time. While I will always keep the conversation open about how we want to raise our kids so that we can be a united front, I will also realize how hard-working he is and forgive him, even when we don’t agree.
I will be the mother I was meant to be
Above all, I just want to embrace being the mother that lives inside of me and sometimes surfaces. This time, I want to get to know her better, so that both my kids get to experience the best of me.