One thing I have humbly realized in the past two years and 10 months of being a parent, is that medical school and a pediatric residency do NOT fully prepare you for the role of “mommy.” It turns out most babies/kids don’t read the same textbooks we read (imagine that). I never thought I would break so many of my own rules. I also thought I knew what to expect in those first few weeks and months of motherhood. Holy moly, was I wrong about that!
Now that I am expecting my second baby, you would think I feel more prepared. In some ways, I do (I have all my baby supplies already!) but in other ways, I’m more uncertain about things than I was the first time! I am currently six months pregnant and things are already so different, probably because unlike the first time around, when I could rest and sleep, I am now also running around after a rambunctious toddler!
Things I understand and will hopefully be more relaxed about this time around: the lack of sleep, my lack of personal time - to watch my reality shows and get caught up on celebrity gossip ;-), the farewell of my pre-pregnancy body (yikes, this one was tough…hello stretch marks!), and the woes of breastfeeding (I experienced good things with breastfeeding, too, but it was the nursing difficulties that threw me for a loop and had me an emotional wreck the first few postpartum weeks), and the fact that colic, well, it really is just as awful as everyone says it is. I survived being the mom of a newborn once and I can do it again!
Things that I am nervous about: feeling overwhelmed (because I already feel like one kid is keeping me REALLY busy), feeling like I am not spending enough time with one child (this is definitely going to happen, but I think it’s healthy for kids to realize they are not the only person in your universe), the birthing process (because births are like fingerprints…no two are ever exactly the same) but my biggest worry right now is how my little soon to be three-year-old will adjust to having a sibling!
I am expecting some “acting out,” some jealousy, and possibly some regression but in reality, I don’t think I can really anticipate how things will actually go. I have been keeping a running list of suggestions experienced moms have given me to make the transition easier for my little one, my husband and for me too! Below are some of these suggestions (I think these are all great ideas!):
- Tell big-sibling-to-be that the baby will be bringing a gift. This gives them something to look forward to when the baby comes. Also, after baby first arrives, they are going to feel like he/she is “taking” a lot from them, so it will be nice to feel like baby is also “giving” something.
- Keep several wrapped small gifts aside at home for your older child. When visitors come with a gift only for the baby and not something for older sibling, you can pull one of these gifts out to give to the older child so he/she do not feel left out or jealous.
- Take several minutes aside per day that you can do something with your older child, just the two of you.
- Take your older child for an outing, just the two of you, once a week (ice cream, anyone?)
- Have the older sibling participate in the baby’s care. Older siblings love feeling like they are helping.
- Give the sibling-to-be a doll to carry around BEFORE the real baby comes along. This way, they feel like they also “have a baby” and are sharing the experience with you.
I will certainly be doing all these things when the baby arrives. Thanks to the contributors of the above suggestions, and if anyone else has any great suggestions on how to make the transition from one child to two children easier, please share! I will write a follow-up post a few months after baby #2 comes to let you know how it all goes. Wish me luck!