I had to see another doctor in my OB’s practice when I went in for my appointment today, but I’m so glad I did! He gave me some great practical advice on making the transition from one child to two.
Dr. Graham pointed out that adding the first child is a big lifestyle adjustment; adding number two is less of a lifestyle shock and more of a logistical challenge, so it helps to be really organized. He recommended sticking to a schedule when possible and making sure to have meals on hand by making extra ahead of time and storing leftovers. He suggested keeping a mini fridge upstairs with snacks for my toddler and myself, so I won’t have to run up and down stairs, leaving the kids alone or trying to haul them both around with me. I think this is a fantastic idea—the fridge might also come in handy if I’m expressing milk and looking for a convenient place to put it temporarily.
The good doctor also addressed my emotional concerns—I guess I’m not the only mom who worries about adding a second kiddo! He said that new parents of two will usually experience feelings of guilt over taking time and attention away from their first child. He advised that we should really feel more concerned that #2 will get zero “only-child time,” since the first had years of one-on-one interaction. (This part actually increased my feelings of guilt and conception of my limitations, but it got better.) He then pointed out that although I am taking some of my time and attention away from my first, I’m also giving her a sibling—a great gift that will enrich her life. When I first see them holding hands and showing love to each other, I’ll really get it and appreciate the relationship I’ve helped them to develop, he said. That image did warm my heart. It’s true: Having siblings can be challenging, but it brings a special depth to life and to the family.
For the short term, Dr. Graham recommended helping Charlotte adjust by praising her as the “big sister,” since she can’t retain the “baby” designation any longer. That way, both kids can feel special in their individual roles. He said I should take Char out for a memorable one-on-one lunch date a few weeks after the baby’s born so I can give her my full attention and let her know how important she is to me. I’m already looking forward to it!
Today I learned, more than anything, that my emotions and concerns are not terribly unique. While these are new worries to me, they’re downright common among all the moms who have gone before. I feel pretty predictable, but I’m also reassured that I’m getting the bona fide second-pregnancy experience.
Note:The photo is totally unrelated to this post!It's a shot of the P&Neditorial team out for Mexican yesterday. I'm hard to miss in the red tent, and P&N alumna Meredith- seated in the purple dress- is preggers too, but not nearly as big as me yet!