Lately, I’ve been finding myself putting some more thought into preparing for this baby’s arrival, sometime in the next 16(ish) weeks. Putting it that way, makes it seem not so far away and the planning part of me wants to have things already checked off the list, whatever that list is.
See, there’s a lot of mental preparation that I think I need to do before I even dive into the practical aspects of getting ready for bebé dos. Week in and week out, I get so caught up with daily life of mothering a toddler that it’s easy to forget I’m pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, the sweet kicks and rolls are a great reminder but sometimes it takes me sitting down, quietly at the end of the day to truly relish in the fact that I have another little soul inside to nurture.
This affects my state of mind quite a bit and without letting any guilt creep in, I will admit that the majority of my thoughts are continually directed toward my husband and our toddler (at least, while he’s awake) and not this bebé. It’s just the nature of things, I suppose.
Out of all the questions swirling through my mind, the main one I’ve been asking myself lately has been this: How am I supposed to divide myself into caring for a newborn and a toddler, at the same time? Sure, each one has similar needs but there are also some different needs and demands. I know the answers will come, as that new normal begins to happen so in a sense I’m not worried about it. The thing I can do is to start mentally preparing myself for what I think I need to do before bebé dos arrives.
The biggest portion of my mental preparation for doing this a second time around is focused around my husband and toddler. The big question here is how we will adjust to having another little person in our family. Right now, it’s a concept that I have a hard time wrapping my head around because it’s something new that I’ve never experienced before. For me, when faced with an unknown scenario I like to weigh my options and think things out very throughly. But with a newborn, you don’t quite have that luxury or time and things are more on the fly. Based on our first experience, adjusting depends on a few factors including the new baby’s temperament. Mentally, I have to draw on our experience and how we as a couple adjusted, from the practical things to the emotional as well. Then, we add a new dimension of how our toddler will perceive this shift to his little world. He will be shy of his 2 year birthday by the time bebé arrives, so I’m hoping that he’ll be more aware of what is happening (as opposed to right now) and also, be able to communicate with us more clearly about things he may be feeling when he realizes there’s a new baby in the house. I know there is only so much I can do to prepare my mind for this adjustment, because the reality is that until we actually go through the change it’s all just my inexperience thinking and speaking.
A smaller part of my mental preparation is about labor & delivery. I tend to ask myself questions such as what will this labor look like? Will it be harder or easier? How will recovery be like this time, with a toddler in the mix? Like much of life, things usually don’t go as we plan them but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to be prepared. This time around, I’m glad to have the experience of having gone through one labor & delivery to have an honest perception of what to expect and not just something from books I read. It isn’t some foreign, unknown land that I’ve never been through before and although I know every labor & delivery is different at least I can go into it knowing the course my mind will take throughout the process. At least I can say with confidence and experience, that labor & delivery for me is pretty much a 90% mental process, that begins well ahead of time from when it actually happens.
When I look at that picture of our son so fearlessly trying new things at the playground, all thoughts of preparedness just fade away. I become intently focused on that very moment, where time almost stands still and I can see our toddler son staring with wonder at this new little (but loud) human being that has entered his little world. I’m aware of just how quickly time goes by and how I need to give him more credit for being so adaptable, even as a toddler. I’m reminded that he was once that little baby bump, cozily unaware of how much his world was going to change and how much our world as a couple would change as well.
No matter how much I plan, fret, worry, overthink, and analyze things the truth is that when we go through this life change a second time around it will be beautiful. BEAUTIFUL, messy, filled with lots of coffee, tears and many mess-ups. And I thank God for grace upon grace upon grace!