This question has been playing in my mind over and over again since I had my second baby. She is only seven weeks old, but I’ve had a good amount of time to think (because of the measles outbreak in my home town I’m afraid to go anywhere).
I’ve always thought I would be done at two. I have a boy and a girl and I feel like that’s perfect for our family. A family of four sounds good. There are two of us and two of them. Financially it makes sense. We will still live our life how we normally do and take vacations every year. It makes sense.
So if I think all that WHY can’t I get that nagging voice out of my head that says ‘well, maybe…’. There are pros and cons to everything and I know that, for my family, the pros of two are better.
How did you know? How did you know that you were done having kids? I didn’t take the time to enjoy my last pregnancy and I wish I had since it might be my last. That’s so hard to think of though, right? I won’t feel the kicks again? Or the moment they lay your baby on your chest?
Tell me. How did you know? Did you go through a mourning process?
Let me tell you something. It was about four years ago now when I was having one might call ‘the perfect pregnancy’. I felt great, I thought I looked great and I was anticipating this little boys arrival with many rests and naps.
Anyone I talked to I would tell how wonderful pregnancy can be and how I would do it ten times over. We had some scares in terms of blood work, but the pregnancy itself was great.
My labor was much of the same. I started feeling contractions in the morning (I had extremely bad cramps growing up so it almost felt like I was used to this) and didn’t go to the hospital until midnight. My son was born about four hours later.
Let’s fast forward three years later. Pregnant with my second little one is extremely different. The reason? My guess is the toddler that is currently hanging on my arm begging for chocolate milk while also requesting that I make dinner and build him his new dresser.
Being pregnant with a toddler is not for the weak. I repeat. NOT FOR THE WEAK. You have to go into it KNOWING that it will not be the same. You have a little person that doesn’t understand limitations and demands attention. You would *almost* forget that you were pregnant if it wasn’t for all those wonderful symptoms and the fact that you start showing extremely early (I mean, someone asked if I was pregnant when I was only 13 weeks)!
Last week my pregnancy app had a little note saying ‘take time for yourself, mama. Go get a manicure or go take a nap’. This note literally made me cry (literally). Why? Why would you tease a mother that clearly cannot take the time to do that (but desperately wants to)?!
On top of all this you build in the total mom guilt of bringing such a big change to your first born. My son seems to be doing OK with everything right now, but we clearly know that things will be different. I will never forget my mom telling me that she felt that as soon as my oldest brother came into the hospital room to visit her second born – things changed. Right then and there the relationship changed.
I know we are in for a change. I am not sure I am completely ready for it, but I know how completely blessed I am to have it.
Pregnancy is hard and motherhood is harder. The thing I appreciate the most right now is my mom friends and family. The friends and family I can easily talk to about the ups and downs of motherhood.
I enjoy my nieces and nephews and I love them like my own (whether they are by blood or friendship). This season of life that we are all going through is beautiful so please, spam me with photos of your children, cry with me when you feel overwhelmed and let’s feel joy for each other when an accomplishment is made.
This is life for all of us right now and although it’s not perfect, it’s pretty great.
We all know that changes happen when kids come into the picture. Changes in relationships, changes with how you run your life, changes in your body. Changes.
Since having Ben, and now baby two on the way, I’ve changed in weird ways that I never thought would happen. Some are things I never thought I would do and some are obvious changes to most, but not to me.
What are some of the weird ways you’ve changed since having kids?
I use to be an OK flier. I mean, I never LOVED it, but I did it. The first flight that I had scheduled after my son was born was to go visit my nephew (brand new) in California. When I bought the ticket I was SO excited. It was going to be a long weekend away visiting family by myself. It was going to be good for me.
Cue the morning of the flight. I popped a couple of Xanax thinking that will calm the mood that I was currently having. My husband bid me farewell and my parents came to watch my son. My dad was taking my bags to the car.
I sat in the middle of my living room and DID NOT MOVE. I couldn’t do it. I could not go on that flight. The only thing my mind could think about was if anything happened to me, Ben would never remember me (crazy, right?).
It was rough having to tell my brother that I just couldn’t do it. That I just could not get myself on the plane, but I did not regret my choice. Having a child does weird things to you, and this was one of them.
Oh, man did I love shopping. I loved going to the mall, to target and even to the grocery store. I took my time.
Now, there is a sense of urgency that comes along with shopping and an ‘almost’ potty trained toddler. Before I could never imagine getting in and out of a grocery store in ten minutes (I was a browser), but now I make it in record time.
There is just something about being at a meat counter waiting to get your food and your toddler running away from you with his transformer toy (thinking he’s HILARIOUS) that makes you want to get in and out.
My favorite things are now Amazon’s two day shipping and Kroger Click List. Two must have for moms!
A Greater Appreciation for my Mother (and mothers in general)
This goes without saying. You cannot fully appreciate your mother until you have gone
through what she’s gone through. Times change, but motherhood really doesn’t. We more or less have the same struggles, challenges and joys that our mothers did.
My mother had three children. I am pregnant with my second and feeling like I’m drowning. Kudos to her.
I remember being told that this would go away once I had kids. I didn’t believe it. I HATED vomit and poop and having to deal with any that.
Let’s be clear, I still do. When you are potty training a child that fear goes out the window. Just the other day, at five months pregnant, I had to clean up pee and poop from my sons floor since he just decided to go (claims it was an accident… sure, kid).
From day one you have to be comfortable with the ‘gross’ stuff. Birthing a child isn’t some gorgeous moment. Is it a beautiful moment? Yes, it is. Is it a clean moment? NOPE.
My Mom Tribe
Not gonna lie. I thought this was kinda funny when I first heard the term. I most likely mom-shamed those of you that said it. Once I had Ben I quickly realized how quick I was to call/text my friend Cindy who had a baby five months prior.
Three years later and I am still leaning on my mom tribe with questions and, honestly, an ear to vent. I am not sure what I would do without all of them.
One can never predict whether or not your emotions will go crazy when you sit in that ultrasound room as you wait for the tech to give you the money shot.
We have a boy at home so in my mind I was always going to have another boy. A girl was straight up out of the question. I have four nieces (with a fifth on the way) and only one nephew. We were due more boys, right? I was always going to be a #boymom.
Well, my husband and I were quickly surprised when we were asked to guess the gender at our appointment. When we had Ben we knew it was a boy from the ultrasound. When the tech asked us to guess, Adam immediately said girl. He was right.
Man, to be there in that moment. Of course, I cried. I guess I was secretly holding out some hope to have a girl. Not because I don’t love raising boys. I do. Ben is my world. I just wanted us to be able to experience both the boy and girl. I wanted Ben to be the big over protective brother that will always have his sisters back. I wanted him to be my special little boy forever.
I wanted to buy some girl clothes.
There are a lot of emotions right now. Joy overtakes everything.
We had so much fun telling Ben. His reaction is priceless and I cannot wait to watch him become the best big brother. His reaction video is below.
Exciting news in our household! We are expecting our second child! It’s crazy how different this time around has been. You don’t really have much time to think about what’s happening or to slow down even for a second.
You also feel so many more emotions.
Excitement. Nerves. Excitement. Anxiety. Excitement. Guilt. Excitement. This is how my brain worked when I found out I was pregnant with my second child.
Excitement over bringing another amazing life into this world.
Nerves about how I was going to do it all (working, two kids, photography).
Excitement over growing our family.
Anxiety about how I was going to love another baby as much as I love Ben.
Guilt. So much guilt. Weird, right? I have guilt and excitement for the same reasons.
Extreme excitement for Ben to get a sibling. A built in friend.
My little family is incredibly excited to start this new chapter in our life. We are insanely blessed and cannot wait to bring this little one into the world.
Moms of two – Any advice?! Ben is still coming around to the idea of a sibling. He obviously doesn’t ‘get’ it yet, but is always saying ‘no, thanks’ when we ask him if he wants a brother or sister!!
As I sit in the rocking chair and rock my son to sleep (I know, I know he should be falling asleep on his own by now) I try cherish every moment. Even once he is asleep I like to take one more minute to enjoy the snuggles and listen to his breathing because I know I won’t always have the chance to do this. It got me thinking…what else do I wish I had just one more minute of?
Being pregnant with my son…he came 11 days early and I wasn’t quite ready!
Holland sunsets…they’re beautiful and mean so much more now (look up “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Kingsley)
Playing with my niece and nephew…before I was a new mom and had more energy
Date nights with my husband…that don’t involve worrying about the baby
Wine tasting in Sonoma on our honeymoon…and trying more than Pinot Grigio!
Learning to parallel park with my dad…in the streets of Birmingham using real cars!
Baking with my mom…when I was little and it seemed like magic
Bowling with my grandpa…and the sound his thumb used to make coming out of the ball
Dancing at my wedding…with all of my friends and family
Havanese snuggles…our first babies
College…I’d like more than 1 more minute there!
Wine nights with my friends…while not breastfeeding or having to get up the next day with a baby
Some of these things will be impossible to get one moreminute of. Others, I’ll be lucky enough to experienceagain and I know that I will savor every minute of them.
My husband and I had only been trying for a month when I took my first pregnancy test. It was a long shot, but I like to be as prepared as possible so I couldn’t wait for a missed period. Shock of shocks there were two very obvious lines. I went out and told my husband and we were both super excited…and a little panicked. I only told a few people (my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and best friends). I knew I wasn’t “supposed” to tell anyone before 12 weeks but I was so excited and I couldn’t keep it all to myself until then. Besides, if anything were to happen those were the people I would talk to about it anyway.
For the next month my pregnancy was completely normal. I had some morning sickness, a lot of heartburn, and was very tired. The day before my 8 week appointment with my doctor I was at work and started to have faint cramps and then started to bleed. I immediately called the doctor and the nurse assured me that this can be normal but that I should come in just in case. I left work and met my husband at the doctor’s office. I had an ultrasound and it confirmed our worst fears; I had had a miscarriage. I obviously knew that miscarriages happened, but I didn’t know much about them. After having one, this is what I learned:
It happens a lot
I didn’t ask my doctor many questions when I first found out what happened. I needed some time to process before I learned more about it. When I went back a few days later to have my blood drawn (for the first of many times – you need to make sure your hormone levels go back to 0) she popped in the room to talk to me. The only question I could think of was “why?” She told me that miscarriages happen in 1 out of every 4 pregnancies. I never realized the percentage was so high.
Once I had had my own miscarriage and realized how many other people it had happened to I started to hear about it more often (or I just started paying more attention to those whose were talking about it). Other friends went through it, friends of friends went through it, and even celebrities were talking about going through it. Although I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone it was nice to hear that other people knew what I was going through and that I wasn’t alone in my feelings.
You feel guilty
After my doctor told me how often miscarriages happen she went on to tell me that nothing I did caused mine. It was very nice to hear, but I of course didn’t believe her. I went back through everything I had done the past 2 months to figure out what went wrong. In the month before I knew I was pregnant I had a few glasses of wine. The morning I found out I had fallen on my knees trying to catch my dog. Every morning I had a cup of coffee. I told her all of this, and more, and she still assured me that none of that caused the miscarriage.
Even if it wasn’t my fault directly, it was my body’s fault. I think that is the hardest thing to deal with. My body basically betrayed me. It was in charge of the most precious thing and it didn’t protect it. Even though I am a very logical person and understand what the doctor (and everybody else) told me it is nearly impossible not to feel guilty. The guilt subsides over time, but it never really goes away. Even now, no matter what anyone says, it’s still there in the back of my mind.
I thought once my doctor told me I had a miscarriage, it was over. What I didn’t realize is that my body still had to pass what remained of my pregnancy. She told me that I would bleed for a while and pass a few clots the size of a golf ball or lemon. I’ve read that some women don’t even feel this, but I felt every bit of it. Now, I had always had bad periods so I was used to painful cramps. And that’s how it started. Then the next day I had the most painful cramps I had ever felt (until I was in labor that is!). Those lasted for about an hour until I passed a clot. Once the clot came out my cramps immediately stopped.
I thought I was through the worst of it so I went to work that night (I didn’t really have a choice so luckily the pain had stopped). I was the director of a daycare and we had a Meet the Teacher night for the beginning of the school year. I had to stand there, smile, and meet the new families joining our school. It wasn’t easy but I at least wasn’t in any physical pain anymore. Then I went back to work the next day for our last day of summer camp. While most of the students and teachers were outside for recess I started having the really painful cramps again. I worked 30 minutes from my house and didn’t feel like I could safely drive so going home wasn’t an option. So I laid on the couch in my office hoping nobody came to the door. I heard a class coming back inside so I got up to go back to my desk and I passed the second clot. Again, I immediately felt better. Knowing what I do now I definitely wouldn’t have gone back to work so soon.
It changes your next pregnancy
I was extremely lucky and was able to get pregnant again 5 months after my miscarriage. Although I was so excited that I was pregnant again I was also terrified that something bad would happen. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want to jinx it. I didn’t want to buy anything for the same reason. I wouldn’t even discuss what we needed for the nursery, or when to have my baby shower until we had the 20 week ultrasound to confirm everything was okay. Even after that I was cautious with how excited I would let myself get.
Every time I went to the doctor to hear the heartbeat I would be in a panic until I heard it. If I didn’t feel him move enough my heart would sink until I did. My doctor even noticed how nervous I was and told me, “you need to let yourself enjoy this pregnancy”. I tried, but it wasn’t easy. I will obviously never know how I would have acted through pregnancy without having a miscarriage first. I am naturally a nervous person so I’m sure I would have had nerves along the way. I really think, though, that having one completely changed my pregnancy journey.
You don’t get over it
About a month after I had a miscarriage I had a friend who suffered the same terrible misfortune. One day several months later we were on a walk and she said to me, “I thought I would be over it by now. When do you think we’ll be able to get over it?” I obviously had no idea but I said, “I think it’s like a breakup. We won’t be able to get over it until we are pregnant again and actually have the baby”. This turned out to be somewhat true. Obviously having my son helped me get over what I had been through. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that I had to have the miscarriage so that I could have my son. I’m still not completely over it though. My heart still skipped a beat on April 13th (my original due date) and I’m sure it will for years to come.
Miscarriages happen a lot. Knowing this doesn’t make it any easier when it happens to you. This was my personal experience having a miscarriage and what I learned from it. I know that all people experience it differently and go through different things. I was very lucky that I only had one and that I was able to get pregnant and have my son after it. I know not everyone is this lucky and my heart goes out to those who are still trying.
I haven’t told many people (until now) that I even had a miscarriage. I thought it was important to write this, though, to help others going through the same thing. If you have experienced a miscarriage (or several), what did you learn?