The Self Care I Should Have Taken During My First Pregnancy

Being pregnant the second time around feels like a totally different ballgame. In fact, it’s in an entirely different league. Sure, you’ve got one pregnancy under your belt, so you’re a little more confident this time around. But on the other hand, you no longer have the nine month stretch of solely focusing on self care and preparing for baby. You’re already a mom, and you can’t exactly pause your responsibility to your precious firstborn.

I’m learning that the second pregnancy is just different in many ways. So, if I could give some advice to my first-time pregnant self, this is what I would tell her…

Sleep Excessively

SLEEP, dear first-time pregnant mama, sleep as if you’ll never sleep again {because, honestly… I can’t make any promises on when you’ll get a full 8 hours again}. If you work, sleep in your car on your lunch break, or take a nice long nap when you get home, or go to bed insanely early. If you don’t work, just take all the dang naps you can. I know you’re probably feeling more tired than you ever have in your life, so just give in. You don’t have to be superwoman {yet}.

Splurge on that Personal Wishlist Item

Do not feel guilty about spending money on something just for you. I know you think that you have to be saving and doing everything for the baby right now, but remember this :: YOUR BODY is that baby’s home for the better part of A YEAR. And soon, you’re going to put in some major effort to get that baby into the world. So, go ahead and get that prenatal massage, take that exotic babymoon vacation, buy the overpriced special “maternity” specific products–you’re not paying for childcare yet, so spoil yourself a little. You deserve it. And, trust me–it’s literally the one time in your life that you will have this combination of the perfect excuse and the freedom to exercise these rights.

See Your Husband as a Grown-Up

If you’re usually the June Cleaver type of wife, take it easy on yourself and don’t worry about how your husband is going to deal with you slacking on the chores {I mean, good grief, it’s 2018}. He’s a big boy; despite how he may make it seem, he can take care of himself. If you’re too exhausted or feeling too sick to cook dinner, he’ll be fine. He can go to the nearest Whataburger any time of day or night if he has to. If you let the laundry slip for a few days too long, he can learn how to push some buttons and clean his own clothes. And if you aren’t in the mood for a little romp in the sheets, the man will survive. When it’s the second kid on the way, the mom guilt of feeding your first-born mac & cheese and chicken nuggets 3 nights in a row will force you to try and push past all the bad feelings for their sake. So enjoy this time of being responsible for no one else.

Record Everything

Take a million pictures of your belly, and of you and your husband, and of the baby room “before and after.” Keep a journal and write down when you first started feeling the morning sickness come on, and when you felt your pants getting tight, and when the baby kicked for the first time, and every single little thing that happens in pregnancy. Because on round two, you’re going to be fuzzy on those details from the first one and need to reference everything for comparison. Maybe it’s for your own mental clarity, or maybe it’s just for fun; but those notes are going to be enormously helpful during pregnancy number two. And those bump pictures are just so cool {and also, shocking} to look back on!

Believe All the Clichés 

“They grow up so fast!” “You’ll forget the pain of labor by the time you’re holding your new baby.” “You’ll just stare at them while they sleep.” “There are no words to describe how deeply a mother loves her baby.” “Nothing will ever be the same, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.” Every bit of advice I got from other moms turned out to be true. Even the unwarranted advice I received about post-childbirth recovery tricks {as my sister-in-law would tell you, pack Depends in your hospital bag!} and the love-hate relationship I would end up having with breastfeeding. To my dismay, even some of the things I wish weren’t true proved themselves to be so. Like, “You say that now, but just wait,” in response to me proclaiming that “I will never letting my child sit at the table at a restaurant and watch kid videos on my phone just to keep them stationary for 5 minutes.” Shamelessly, I pull out the magical iPhone trick more times than I’d care to count. So take heed, mommy-to-be. Cherish those words you receive. 

Know that Everything is Going to be Okay

Being pregnant, while extraordinary and amazing, is honestly a little terrifying. Most of the time, we’re just hoping that everything is doing what it’s supposed to and it’s all going fine in there. We all have our moments of fearing the worst {oh, how well I know that fear}. Then, when everything is going exactly right, you’re afraid of actually having to give birth–How bad does it really hurt? What if things, God forbid, tear? What if the epidural doesn’t work? And it doesn’t stop at the fear of physical pain, either. You might have the common fear of how bad it’s going to hurt your bank account to have and raise a child. You’ll begin to tally things up and realize that, at this current juncture, college is going to be out of the question for your kid unless they some kind of full-ride scholarship–thankfully, you have a while before that becomes an issue. All of these fears are normal, but don’t let them overwhelm you. You can’t control much of what’s going on in your body, so just do what your doctor or midwife tells you, and try not to stress. Labor got it’s name for a reason; it is hard, but you’ll still be crazy enough to do it again. And, yes, you’re going to be spending money on things you didn’t have to before. But you’ll figure out how to budget to make room for the new addition. Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be okay.

The most important thing to remember, first-time pregnant mommy, is this :: you are not alone at any point on this journey! This road has been traveled by many women before you, and many alongside you, and many have stood where you are standing right now. So ask all the questions, ask for help if you need it, or feel free to cry big pregnancy hormone induced tears on any one of our shoulders.

Now, if anyone would like to offer a bit of advice about preparing for the second kid, it would be warmly welcomed!

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