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Parenthood related topics written by the founders of charlotte+asher.

Filtering by Tag: Second Pregnancy

New Beginnings: Second Pregnancy

Chantal Standafer

I remember being asked, while still pregnant with Gaby (my first child), “How many children are you going to have?” And being asked about number two after barely having given birth! Seriously, I do not understand why people think that’s an appropriate question, especially as I was still a zombie from being up all hours of the night (and day) with said baby. But as time went on and we got into a rhythm and things felt more manageable, we did start thinking about baby number two. While I had an idea of what to expect based off of my first pregnancy, I also knew that no two pregnancies would be exactly alike.

The second pregnancy, while not overly difficult, did have its ups and downs. Initially I had been worried that I would have terrible morning sickness like I had while pregnant with Gaby. I was also worried about how I would be able to care for Gaby, who was just over a year old, if I was feeling very sick (or tired). Each pregnancy is different, and luckily in my case that meant I was not as nauseous or tired as I had been during the first pregnancy. I took it as a sign that we were having a boy (opposite sex of the first baby)...and I happened to be right!

But just as we found out we would be having a baby boy, I began to bleed--which was very scary! It’s one of those things you are told to immediately call the doctor if it happens. I was terrified. Thankfully, during an ultrasound the next day we saw baby boy and heard a strong heartbeat. It turned out that I had a subchorionic hematoma. To be safe, my doctor put me on bed rest for the weekend, then down to partial bedrest after the next ultrasound. I went from being very active, working out and playing with my toddler, to not being able to lift my groceries. This was a hard adjustment for us, but it did allow Gaby even more space to grow up--she perfected climbing up and down stairs and in and out of the car. And I had to learn to ask for and accept help.

After 13 weeks of restricted activity, the specialist I saw stated that everything had cleared up and I could go back to life as normal. By that point I was nearly in my third trimester. I eased back into my workout regimen, and we continued to prepare for baby boy’s arrival. Among other things, we moved Gaby into a toddler bed in order to free the crib, and I adjusted the dresser and closet storage to allow for two sets of diapers and clothing.   

In the end, I never felt like the pregnancy was dragging on. It actually seemed to go by really quickly this time. I’m pretty sure much of this was due to chasing a toddler around everyday, as well as launching our company!  Being so busy also kept me from worrying too much about the pregnancy and the change to come.  

How were your pregnancies different?  

 

New Beginnings: Preparing a Toddler for a Sibling

Laura Hahn

D and his best bud, Daniel Tiger.

D and his best bud, Daniel Tiger.

When I found out I was pregnant with my second, I knew that one of the biggest things I’d need to prepare for before her arrival was getting my son acclimated to (and hopefully excited about) the idea of becoming a big brother. Each child reacts differently, but the age at which they become an older sibling seems to make a difference as well. Younger than 2 may be a bit young for them to get a full grasp beforehand of what’s about to happen, but since I knew my son would be 2.5 years old, we’ve been able to prepare him for months, and as of now (a couple weeks pre-baby), he seems to be getting it and has even expressed excitement! Here are a few things we’ve done to help prepare him for the big day:

  1. Give him books about becoming a big brother. He got three big brother books for Christmas, and we’ve been reading them to him consistently. We like the ones we’ve chosen for him since they are practical--they give a glimpse of what life will be like when the baby comes home, and we’ll be able to refer back to the book if/when a similar situation occurs.

  2. Show him the Daniel Tiger episodes when he becomes a big brother. I don’t know about your kid, but mine is obsessed with Daniel Tiger. He listens to his songs before bed (available on Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon), has a few of his books, and went to see Daniel Tiger Live a few weeks ago as a special treat for his last days as an only child. He loves relating to Daniel and talking about what he does in the episodes, and seeing him become a big brother has definitely helped him grasp the idea of what that means. Darian even exclaimed, “I’m going to be a big brother soon!” while watching an episode. We’ll most likely be singing Daniel’s jingles non-stop once his sister comes, including, “you can be a big helper in your family” and “there’s time for you and baby, too.”

  3. Talk to him about his sibling, being a brother, and being a big helper. Repetition is key in getting a child to understand something, so we’ve been talking for months about Darian becoming a brother and asking him where his baby sister is (“in mommy’s belly”). He has come to many of my OB appointments, where he helps out by putting the doppler on my belly and checking his sister's heartbeat. He also claims he’s a big boy rather than a baby when we ask him, so hopefully this distinction will keep his jealousy at bay since he’s a big helper and can do lots of things babies can’t do. Some friends have attested that stressing the “big kid” aspect has helped tremendously. 

  4. Test run his reaction by holding a friend’s baby. While at a play date, I held my friend’s baby in front of D to see how he would react. Surprisingly, he didn’t seem to mind at all! I talked to him about it and he knew that I was holding a baby, and that he had to be very gentle. However, on a different occasion when I was playing with another child around his age, he became very jealous and acted out. I’m hoping this is a sign that he sees a baby as non-threatening since she’s not his peer, and that he’ll view her from the older caretaker side. I’ve heard this to be the case for kids a bit older as well, especially since they’re into specific things and baby toys aren’t really appealing to them.

Of course, all of these things are abstract until the day he actually becomes a big brother, so we’ll see how much they helped when the day finally comes. When he visits us in the hospital, we'll be sure the baby will be in the bassinet instead of one of us holding her, so he doesn't get possessive. His sister will also “give” him a present so they start off on a generous foot. Thankfully, the first few weeks we’ll have grandparents in town, so he will have undivided attention from an adult through the transition.

For those with multiple children, how else have you prepared your children for their new siblings?

 

 

The Ups and Downs of a Second Pregnancy

Laura Hahn

D meeting my friend's newborn and getting in some big brother practice!

D meeting my friend's newborn and getting in some big brother practice!

I always knew I wanted to have 3 kids, but after my first, I didn't even want to think about another child until my son was at least one year old. I wasn't taking any chances so I got on birth control ASAP, plus I really wanted time to have my body back to myself since I nursed for a year. When we decided we were ready to try for #2, we fortunately ended up getting pregnant right away. Getting that positive pregnancy test was definitely exhilarating, but it also opened up a lot of emotions that I wasn't expecting (beyond the expected hormonal onset of pregnancy). Here are just a few:

  • Sadness. I love my son so much, and there's something so special about your first child since he or she is what made you a mom. We have a special bond and relationship since I can give my undivided love and attention to him. When it started to sink in that he would have a sibling soon and it would no longer be just the two of us, I actually cried thinking about it when I was rocking with him before bed, just like I did every night when he was an infant. I know that having a sibling will enrich his life and their relationship will be special in a way that I will never be able to provide, but I can't help but mourn for the end of our exclusive time together.

  • Dread. This mostly refers to the newborn phase. I love babies, but I found that I am really enjoying age 2 right now with my son (I am terrified for age 3 though). I don't have to carry him everywhere, he can follow instructions and therefore help me out with little things, but mainly he sleeps through the night and I'm not nursing him. I'm already exhausted at the end of each day, so I'm not exactly stoked to sleep less, go through physical pain and a long healing process, and nurse around the clock--while still having to care for another child. Which brings me to...

  • Fear. I know a lot of moms with multiple children who say it was hardest for them to adjust from zero to one child, but I think because I have so many nieces and nephews, I knew ahead of time certain ways my life would change and I was prepared for that. But, since I'll be the one caring for the kids most of the day, with a second I'm now going to be outnumbered and that scares me! At this point I feel like I can keep it together most days with my son (read: we’re alive and can make it out of the house), but throwing a baby into the mix is definitely going to take some time to adjust. The good thing is that infants are stationary for awhile so at least I won't be chasing after two kids right away (moms of twins or more--I am not worthy). Another parent told me that at least you have two hands to handle two. Three is a different story I guess!

  • Excitement. Of course, it’s not all bad! I shared earlier that we are expecting a girl this time, and I am definitely excited to have a different experience with her. Though pointing out trucks has become second nature to me now, having a little mini me, someone to hopefully send to my women-only alma mater, and a daughter to do fun girls' stuff with is just the beginning; I’m super excited to experience a different kind of bond with my daughter than with my son. But even if I were having another boy, it's exciting to see how your second child's personality will differ from your first and what that relationship will be like.

  • Joyful anticipation. Honestly, it’s hard for me to fathom loving another child as much as my son, but there was a glimmer of hope when I had my first ultrasound for the new baby and my maternal love kicked into gear. I’ve also heard from numerous other parents that you don’t divide your love for your kids; it multiplies and grows. While it took me about a month or so to become head over heels in love with my son--I wasn’t one of those women who immediately fell in love with their baby--it’s amazing to think that my heart will be capable of encompassing that much love. Darian has also been demonstrating incredible big brother traits already, like kissing my belly and saying, “love you, baby sister!” that while I’m going to be giving up a lot of control over my body, time, and let’s face it, cleanliness, I can’t wait for baby girl to get here and be part of our family.

What were some of your experiences like anticipating your second pregnancy? Were there any similarities with your subsequent pregnancies?