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This Pregnancy Is Going to be Different

Photograph by Getty Images

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 over again.

Here are the things I’d love to do differently this time around:

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.

RELATED: My Postpartum Was Totally Depressing

2. Ask for More Breast-Feeding Help

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 incompetent.

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 freaking papoose.

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 something nicer.

RELATED: Always Buy the Expensive Breast Pump

6. Ask for Help Cleaning

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 chance.

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