When you look up “ways to prepare for a baby,” you’re often bombarded with list after list of all the things you should be doing to make your house ready for a new little person. The lists contain things like wash the clothes, decorate the nursery, sanitize the bottles, and more. The truth of the matter is that you don’t actually need much for that little bundle of joy you’ll be bringing home. What if we focused on the other things for a while before baby comes? What if we focused on making memories and enjoying life before the big transition?
Five Ways I’m Preparing for Baby #2
You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quieter on the blog and on social media channels than normal. In fact, this quiet trend has been going on for several months as I mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare for the arrival of a second little boy. I went into motherhood with the wrong preparation and I wanted to make sure that this time was a little different. The cute decor and weekly bump photos don’t matter anywhere near as much as the mindset and happiness of the parents as they embark on this journey. Don’t get me wrong – I was happy when my son was born but I was also overwhelmed and unprepared for the ways life would change. This time, I’m doing a few things differently to be better prepared for it all.
What are those things? Well, continue reading because today I’m sharing five things I’m doing to prepare for the birth of our second child.
I’m focusing on my son.
We have a one year old toddler who is about to have his world flipped upside down. He’s never really had to share his mama and dada with anyone other than the dogs. In two weeks or so, he’s going to be sharing his parents and his room with a new little brother. This is going to be quite the shock for him – especially since we can only prepare him so much.
I’ve been trying to keep life as normal as possible for my son, while also introducing a few new things that will help everyone after the baby arrives. We’ve been going to our fair share of fun events and playing together just like we would if mama wasn’t pregnant. Sure there have been down days spent at home with movies, but I’ve tried my best to still be fun and active for his sake. We’ve also been slowly putting out baby items (swing, crib, etc) to get him used to these items before his brother arrives. I’m sure he can tell something is up, but I’m hoping he realizes life will still be fun even after his brother arrives.
I’m spending alone time with my husband.
There is a lot of stuff to be done as a mom and I’ve learned that it’s easy to overlook the relationships around you – especially your marriage. I feel like I’m constantly taking care of someone or something around the house. It is very easy to forget that a marriage needs nurturing even after you’ve been together for several years. This is why I’ve been trying to be intentional about setting aside time to spend with my husband. It’s not always easy – especially with work, chores, and kids dictating parts of our schedule. It’s important though so we make it a priority.
I should note that we don’t have family or friends nearby that can watch our son for a date night. We moved to Michigan right before he was born and our social circle is quite small. This adds an extra challenge when it comes to date nights and spending time together. We can’t just call up a relative and head out to a movie. Instead, we use a few hours after our son has gone to bed to nurture our relationship. Not everyone agrees with our one year old having a bedtime but I feel it has been beneficial to everyone.
I’m taking care of myself.
One of the biggest things I’m doing to prepare is taking care of myself. This means listening to my body when it tells me that I need to rest. It also means focusing on personal projects rather than the blog. I didn’t mean to let the blog fall to the side when I found out I was pregnant but I found that my focus and energy just wasn’t there some days. At some point, I decided to give myself grace.
The truth is that I miss blogging and sharing my stories and insights with the world. So, I will be returning to it full force after the baby is born, which makes me quite happy. Sometimes it takes stepping away from something to evaluate where it belongs in your life. For me, blogging is a form of self care – one that I’ll be making more of a priority in the future.
I’m reflecting on the past and thinking about the future.
The other big thing I’ve been doing is reflecting on the past and thinking to the future. With Baby Fox, I didn’t do much to prepare my mind or body for birth and the challenges I would face afterwards. This led to a somewhat traumatic birth experience and sleep deprivation that took a major emotional toll. This time around, I’m doing things a bit differently. I’ve been reflecting on my experience with my first and learning from it.
I’ve also been doing a bit of research to better prepare my mind and body. Among this research, I have read several books which I’ll be sharing a list of in the future. I’ve reread a few of my favorites on infant sleep and done a little reading on natural birth, what to expect during labor, and how to cope with pain without medication. I’m hoping for a more positive story to share after my second son is born.
I’m finding support.
The final item I want to mention is that I’ve been finding support when and where I can. This is a process that was put in motion before I even found out I was pregnant. It started with a simple trip to a local MOPS group, which connected me with a variety of other moms. I didn’t know how valuable a community of moms could be until I attended my first meeting. Even though we’re not on best friend status, I do feel that I’ve found a community where I can offer and find support as needed.
I’ve also been finding support in the form of emergency back ups to watch our toddler if I go into labor before my parents get here. Fingers are crossed that it doesn’t happen that way but babies are so darn unpredictable! I may not have a big support network, but I have been able to find little gems here and there. My husband and I have also talked through how we can support each other during this transition which I think will help a lot as well. We may have learned a thing or two after our first was born.
Having a baby isn’t easy and there’s so many different things you can do to prepare. While I feel it’s important to have your physical space ready for a baby, it’s even more important to have your mental and emotional space ready. After all, adding a family member is a big transition!
What did you do to prepare for your little one’s arrival?