The differences between this pregnancy and my last are a
constant source of amazement. For starters, I’ve only been sick once. With my
daughter, I vomited almost every morning until 30 weeks. At 25 weeks, I’ve only
gained 20 pounds. With my daughter I was already up to 30 by 20 weeks, and I
stopped counting at 30 weeks. It was too depressing. With my daughter, the
pregnancy hormones grew a large bloody tumor on my neck called a pyrogenic
granuloma that randomly oozed blood. So far, no weird skin lesions.
For me, this second pregnancy is both literally and
figuratively a second chance. All those things I didn’t do with my daughter,
I’m determined to do now. Sure it fills
me with guilt, but I also have hope that, through the process of doing this all
over again, I will become a little bit better of a person, and a better mother.
And if my husband gets me really drunk in three years, maybe I’ll do it all
Here are the things I’d love to do differently this time
1. Kick People out of My Hospital Room
And I don’t mean
friends and family, I mean nurses and staff. With my daughter, I didn’t sleep
at all at the hospital because of the endless blood draws and shift
changes. This time, I’m speaking up and
making my needs and wants clearer.
I was determined to
breast-feed my first, but it didn’t come naturally. And after months of pain and
confusion, I gave her a bottle of pumped milk. Once she had the bottle it was a
quick decline to refusing to breast-feed. The one lactation consultant I asked for help told me I was fine and
to just “grin and bear it.” At the time, I was intimidated, confused and sleep
deprived. I didn’t ask anyone else for help, and I ended up pumping for nine
months. I won’t do that again. I won’t let another person make me feel
3. I Will Wear This Baby
With my first, I was so
overwhelmed with all the newness of her that figuring out the Moby wrap became
this insurmountable chore. I know that sounds dramatic. But when you are
exhausted and your boobs are bleeding through your shirt, even eating a cracker
seems like climbing Mount Everest. When I finally did take the time to figure
out this whole baby-wearing thing, my daughter was 9 months old and ready to
move. This second baby is going to be my
No grown person still sleeps in their baby swing, so relax.
4. I Will Let the
Baby Sleep Whenever, Wherever
With my daughter, I was so anxious about getting
her to sleep through the night and in her own crib, that I literally lost sleep
over her sleep. If she slept too long in the swing, I got worried and moved her
to the crib, which woke her up and consequently stressed me out. Lesson learned: Let
the baby sleep. No grown person still sleeps in their baby swing, so relax. I
even purchased a Fisher-Price Rock 'N Play, hoping that this child will sleep
in that for at least the first three months.
5. I Won’t Just Buy Things
With my daughter we had
nothing. So, I made sure that by the time she was born we had all the
accessories. And you know what, I hate some of them. For example, I don’t like
our bouncy seat. We bought it cheap and never really used it. I also don’t like
our stroller. Now, I’m holding to the axiom the unexamined baby item isn’t
worth having. I’m going to wait until the baby comes to see if I even want to
buy a double stroller. And this time, I’m examining all my baby seat
options. I do love the LaLaLounger, the Nuna Leaf and the BabyBjorn
Babysitter. All are a little pricey, but since we don’t need much of
anything and I know we will use it, I feel more comfortable investing in
Right now, I have an ad on Craigslist looking for someone to
come once every two weeks and wash my floors and my bathroom. I’m Midwestern—we clean our own homes. So the idea of hiring help makes me feel very
pretentious. I mean, what’s next? A LAWN SERVICE? But I don’t have family in
town. And last time, I was up at 2 a.m. for a feeding, mopping my floors and
crying. My family doesn’t need a martyr. They need a mom.
7. Eat Healthier
After my daughter was born, a slew of
friends and neighbors brought casseroles of varying Midwestern flavors—cheese,
bacon, tater tot—and all swimming in some canned soup or coagulated fat. And
while they were good and I appreciated them, my pants didn’t. I know I could have
chosen not to eat them, but the idea of wasting food makes my little Midwestern
heart want to weep into my Northface jacket. So this time, when people ask me
what we prefer, I’ll suggest just simple chicken breasts and fruit.
8. Take Walks
Leaving the house with your first child feels
like running a triathalon of worry: What if she poops? What if she’s hungry?
WHAT IF SHE CRIES? I didn’t take my daughter on many walks in the beginning
because just leaving the house felt like a huge ordeal. This time I have a
toddler, and I figure if the apocalypse does happen and god forbid, a child
starts to cry ... well, that’s what babies do. We’ll head home.
Overall, I realize that what I want to do is to stop
martyring myself on the cross of motherhood and ask for help when I need it.
Also, instead of bracing for crisis, I want to learn to accept the challenges
and pitfalls of parenting with grace and realize that every day is a second