5 Things I Will Try To Make Motherhood Better The Second Time Around

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Photo: Mama du Jour

We are one day past the due date for baby #2, and I am happy and sad about it. Now that my pregnancy is coming to an end, I wish I could go back and just savor the little things about being pregnant a little more. As miserable as the last couple weeks of pregnancy can be, I am relatively calm and happy. I am trying to enjoy the last couple days I have with my daughter and soaking in these last moments of having her be my “one and only”. I am taking every opportunity to love her up because I will have to share that love once the new baby arrives. 

Going into motherhood for the second time, I feel like I have some knowledge and insight about what’s to come. I have a short list of things I want to try to do differently this time around. I wouldn’t call them goals or expectations, but more realizations about what I did when I had Phoebe and what I want to try to do differently this time.

I will ease up on setting very high expectations or standards for myself. This doesn’t mean that I am going to wallow away on the couch and do nothing with my life. I have learned that the more you tell yourself you will or will not do something when it comes to mom goals, the more you set yourself up for possible failure or disappointment. Instead, I am telling myself things like, “I will try to breastfeed for one month”, as opposed to my pre-baby self that said, “I will breastfeed exclusively for one year at the very least.”. When that didn’t work out, I was really upset with myself, and as a new mom that type of negativity is toxic for you and baby. I will focus on my children, and not on the dishes, laundry, Instagramming, etc…that I think needs to get done. I spent so much time stressing about getting into a routine so I could feel “normal” again when I had Phoebe. I wish I would have just held her more instead of worry about the routine.  I would give anything to go back and just hold her, smell her, feel her fuzzy baby hair, and lay with her skin-to-skin again.  I will give myself time to get used to our new normal with 2 babies. I will not get upset with or be hard on myself for having feelings about the upheaval that having a new baby can bring. Change is not easy for me to deal with. I feel like I just got used to this “new normal” with having one child, and I am about to hit the reset button and go back to square one. I am well aware that there will be a new normal to be found and it will take time, and probably involve some tears of frustration and joy.  I will remember to take care of myself. Okay, this goal is a little lofty, I know. It’s so hard to remember your needs when you have a newborn and a 2 year old. But, I know what happened last time I didn’t remember to take of myself. I completely burnt out andpostpartum depression hit me hard. When I am happy and healthy, I am the best mom to my children and the best wife to my husband. I will try to go to the gym for an hour once or twice a week. I will try to have a dinner date with a girlfriend.  I will try to go for a walk in a nature preserve.  I will live for today and today only. I read a quote one time that I think is so true, “People who live in the past are depressed, people who live in the future are anxious, and people who live in the present are happy.”. When I was pregnant with Phoebe, I wished away the time. It’s one of my biggest regrets, because I wished away the time from a part of my life I will never have back- my young, care-free, do what I want/go where I want life. I told myself in the beginning of this pregnancy that I would live each day in the present and not think and stress about tomorrow. I know this time that everything will work out. I will try not focus on the dreaded first day back at work or get so sad when my little newborn grows out of those tiny newborn clothes. I am going to try to focus on the present, how sweet it is, and how grateful I am for what I have- a supportive, loving, hilarious husband, two beautiful, smart, and happy baby girls, and a family that loves and supports us to the fullest. 

And with that, I hope my words resonate with new moms or veteran moms-to-be. It’s not an easy job- carrying a baby, giving birth, assuming a new identity as “mom”, and getting used to a new life with a baby.

Go easy on yourself. Be kind to yourself. Enjoy what you have today.

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