Preparing for Baby #2
By Heather Bryant
But after about two years, when baby number one was done nursing and finally sleeping through the night, I felt like I had the whole mothering thing figured out. Kind of. At least I thought so. It wasn't until baby number two arrived that I finally had the humility to ask for help.
My second pregnancy was the healthiest I've been in my life. I had lost 80lbs before getting pregnant and felt fabulous. Unfortunately there was a slight complication in delivery and I ended up with a severe back injury. I was incapacitated and spent a year in physical therapy recovering. My mom basically had to move in with us to help take care of my family. I couldn't even carry my own baby upstairs. I was devastated, depressed and in agony.
So I prayed. I studied the Bible. I begged God for his guidance. Slowly, but faithfully, he showed me his plan for my life. And I learned a little about preparing for baby number two:
- Prepare as much as possible in advance. Meals, activities for your first child, community for the lonely days, respite from the chores and isolation. Here’s a list of my favorite free preschool resources, ideas for toddler “busy bags” and meal planning tools.
- Just let it go if/when you don’t get it all done. You can only prepare so much. Then you have to let it go. You have to accept that the house is going to be a disaster after you get baby home. You have to accept that baby number one will probably watch too much TV and not eat as healthy as you planned. It’s won’t be easy, but you can do it.
- Pray constantly. Pray with confidence and in faithful anticipation that God will answer your prayers (Philippians 4:6-7). Pray when you are rocking baby to sleep for the fifth time that night. Pray as you are reassuring baby number one that you still love them.
- Don’t Worry. Maybe it is just me and all my OCD and PPD, but I worried. I worried about everything. I worried baby would get exposed to horrible germs and get sick. I worried baby number one would be irreparably emotionally damaged by my (self-perceived) neglect. I worried about all sorts of terrible things that I couldn't possibly control. Don’t do it! Prayer and gratitude are the best defense against these feelings.
- Ask for help. If you are too tired, sore or overwhelmed, just ask. Ask your husband first (and forgive him when he is just as grumpy and exhausted as you are). Then ask your mom, your neighbors and your friends. Even if you have to ask them directly, “I am so tired. Would you please babysit my oldest for me? Just for a few hours. So I can sleep when baby sleeps.”
And don’t forget to ask for help from baby number one! Even from the first day you will find your older child to be an invaluable helper (carrying diapers to the trash, helping fold clothes and anything else you can teach them) and a good friend (entertaining baby in the backseat of the car, shhhhing him to sleep in his carrier, picking up a lost lovey or binky). I am so grateful for the both of my little delights. I know you will be, too.
Heather Bryant is a Christian, the proud and loving wife of RockstarDad and the grateful mama of RocketGirl and BulldozerBaby. Heather is passionate about gardening for self-sufficiency, stewardship, organization, and service to others. She's the author of From Cube to Farm: Surviving and Thriving as a Stay-at-Home Mom, and you can read her blog that is dedicated to supporting and encouraging stay-at-home moms.