As I quickly approach week 40 of my second pregnancy, I’m still trying to grasp the concept that soon I will be a mother of TWO!! How crazy is that?!?! I will have KIDSSSSS, plural! Holy Crap!!! The idea is frightening and electrifying all at the same time! My excitement is at an all time high and yet I’ve had many moments of uncertainty & doubt along the way. This pregnancy was far from planned – Ryan and I both would have liked a little more time alone with Steele, so to think that we’ll soon have 2 humans to devote our love, time and energy to seems surreal. I often wonder how I could love another child as much as I love Steele and how I can balance myself between two kids, while also maintaining my relationship (and sanity) – I just haven’t been able to wrap my brain around it quite yet. Of course it’s all been done before so I know it’s possible but it’s hard to imagine this new life that we will soon embark upon.
The most important thing for me is to make sure that as we transition from a family of 3 to a family of 4, we are consciously making sure that Steele is comfortable with this next phase and at no point feels excluded in the process. We all know how it is with a new baby – we just want to hold them and stare at them and be all in their face but now with two children, there has to be a balance of energy so they both feel loved in their own special way. I’ve taken a few approaches in an effort to really prepare Steele for this new baby that I think will go a long away & thought it would be good to share these with you all:
- Talk to them about a new baby coming – conversation with our kids is soooooo important, even if they can’t fully talk or you think they don’t completely understand. When I first found out I was pregnant but wasn’t really showing, Steele was very disinterested. I didn’t think she understood what was happening but the more we included her in conversations about the baby (and the belly), the more I think she started to understand and talk about “HER” baby as well. We have conversations about her being a big sister and helping take care of the baby, which she’s getting more and more excited about.
- Include them when you are talking to/rubbing on the belly – I spend a good amount of time talking to the baby and am ALWAYS rubbing on my belly. This is a good way for me to be able to start connecting with the new baby while they are in the womb. I usually do this alone, just me and the baby, but I also find moments to cuddle up with Steele around my belly and talk to the baby together. Or if the baby is extremely actively at any point, I take time to show Steele how the baby moves around and kicks, which she thinks is so funny! This has helped Steele start to build her own connection with the baby and love on the belly in her own way.
- If possible, make them apart of your doctors visits – Steele has come to most of my appointments in the latter half of this pregnancy, especially now that we are in the final stretch. Let them engage with your doctor, listen to the baby’s heartbeat, see the ultrasound or watch the doctor feel around on your belly. Again, the more you can involve them before the baby comes, the more likely they’ll feel comfortable once the baby is physically here.
- Surround them with family and friends that love them – being pregnant this time around, there are moments when my energy during the day has completely flatlined and running around after a toddler seems like an impossible task (especially with this big belly I’m carrying around). I’m blessed to have family and friends that surround Steele with so much love and are present in her life, so even when I’m not at my best or when Ryan needs a quick break, they are there to jump in and help. I say this with a humble heart – if you have family or friends who you trust with your kids – LEAN ON THEM FOR SUPPORT! So often I think I have to do everything myself because I’m the mom but letting others help you will go a longgggg way.
- Make time for just the two of you – plan a date, spend time alone just the two of you and make sure you are present in those moments. Whether it be planning a pretend tea party, going to get ice cream or playing at the park, schedule time with just them so they feel important and have your undivided attention.
- PAY ATTENTION – the thing that I’ve done the most with Steele is just paying attention to any changes in her, how she acts, what she’s feeling and why. One thing I’ve noticed is that she has recently started to try to breastfeed again and more frequently. I don’t know if she can smell the milk or just senses the change but she’s expressed wanting to nurse again and I’ve obliged. Embracing new things isn’t always the easiest so we have to make sure we are aware of how things are affecting our children and address them in a way that works for everyone.
Welcoming a new baby soon will surely change the dynamics of our family – I’m anxious to see how we will all adapt to having a new life in our home but the more mindful and aware we are of how the change affects us all, the better we’ll be at making this a seamless process!
Any mamas out there that have suggestions on ways to make sure your older child feels loved, despite a new baby, we’d love to hear them – so please SHARE below!
Lots of love to you guys xo