Many moms feel like they’re just starting to get into the swing of parenting when happy news throws a monkey wrench in things: the impending arrival of a second child. You’re not alone if your feelings of joy are offset by fear of the great unknown. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect when adding another baby to your brood.
All Pregnancies Are Different
The most important thing to keep in mind when you pee on a stick and see that familiar plus sign? That positive pregnancy test may be the first and last thing this pregnancy has in common with your last one.
The truth is that all pregnancies are different. While many women who had morning sickness with their first pregnancies repeat the phenomenon the second time around, others unexpectedly sail through symptom-free. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing until you’re already in the thick of it.
Other changes that might occur while you’re awaiting a new baby? You may show earlier and feel movement sooner. The former occurs because your muscles are stretched from your previous pregnancy while the latter is due to the likelihood that you’ll recognize these familiar feelings more quickly this time.
While it’s not always the case, you may also have something else to look forward to, a quicker and easier labor, if you first baby was a vaginal birthday. If you had a C-section, you may require another one. Your doctor will talk with you about your labor and delivery options.
If you are currently breastfeeding, you should be able to continue doing so. Additionally, most experts agree that mamas-to-be can continue to pick up their other children, AKA “heavy objects,” during pregnancy, but your shifting center of gravity may make it harder, so take care. In any case, be sure to get clearance from your doctor first — particularly if you are a high-risk pregnancy.
One Thing You Can Count On
One thing that is sure to be very different this go-round? Coping with the challenges of pregnancy while already caring for another human being. And while it can be easy to overlook your own needs in order to make sure your toddler or older child is thriving, it’s important to continue to maintain a commitment to your health and wellness.
Think you don’t have time to prepare a nutritious meal or get in your maternity workout? Think again. It is exactly these priorities which will help you remain up to the task of caring for your first child while also ensuring that both you and your unborn child are having your own needs met.
Mamas-to-be who get pregnant quickly after the birth of an earlier child — within a year — should take particular care to eat well as nutrients may still be depleted following the recent pregnancy.
Matters of the Heart
Your first child will always have a special place in your heart, and that will never change. Many second-time moms have concerns that they’ll never be able to love another child the same way. Others mourn the loss of the family unit they’ve created since the birth of their first child. These feelings are normal, and nothing to feel guilty about.
The truth is that while you may not love all of your children the same way, you will love them all differently — but in ample, equal measure. And while mastering how to divide your attention between multiple children may be a work in progress, keep in mind that learning to wait is a life skill.
Feelings of anxiety are a natural part of awaiting the birth of your second child. Accepting that adding a new baby to your family will be life-changing can help you embrace the experience, in spite of — or maybe even because of! — its beautiful uncertainty. Visit the For Two Fitness blog for more useful content on all things maternity, baby and motherhood.