I still remember my eager excitement as I counted down to the birth of my first child. While I was fearful of the unknown (childbirth and the whole caring for a baby thing), my excitement far outweighed the fear. I read all the books, took the courses, and couldn’t wait for what felt like the next big stage of my life to begin: motherhood.
Now about 20 months after the birth of that sweet baby, I’m a few weeks away from welcoming my second child. Though of course I’m excited, my countdown feels way different. Instead of counting down in excitement, “I can’t believe I still have to wait five weeks!” it’s more like, “how do I only have five weeks left? I’m not prepared at all and need more time.”
Instead of counting down in excitement… it’s more like, ‘how do I only have five weeks left? I’m not prepared at all and need more time.’
My nervousness about my rapidly approaching due date is in part due to many life events happening at this moment: a cross-country move, buying and setting up a new house, and caring for a toddler. But also because I’ve been through childbirth and the newborn phase, so I know what a wild and exhausting ride it is.
I’m sure plenty of other moms—whether those bringing home their first, second, third (or beyond) babies might also feel unprepared. If you’re in a similar boat, here’s what I’m doing to feel more ready.
Prioritizing My To-Do List
My nursery Pinterest board is overflowing with design ideas. As for the actual nursery, well that’s a different story. It’s currently made up of piles of clothing and may or may not lack a crib and dresser as of today. It’s a personal choice, but we’re planning to have our baby spend the first few months sleeping in our room. So while I’d love to have the nursery set and ready to go as I know life will only get more hectic from here, it’s actually not a priority.
Everyone’s priorities are different and it’s worth spending a little time writing out yours. You can then make a game plan of how to approach the most important action items. For me, the priorities include having just the newborn gear easily accessible (I will deal with the 3+ month products when the time comes), making sure my postpartum recovery products are organized, having our kitchen well-stocked, and making sure my family knows how they can be most helpful during the first few weeks with baby.
Letting Go of Expectations
The truth is, it’s a bit impossible to feel 100 percent prepared to bring home a baby. You can have the car seat installed (this is a must!), your freezer filled with meals, and your pumping gear sterilized and waiting. But even so, things become a chaotic ride as soon as you enter your home with a new baby. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the truth.
A part of me believes that I should feel more prepared for this big event, especially the second time around. I constantly have to remind myself that no matter how much you do, most people still don’t feel prepared. We’ll all figure it out as we go. You don’t know what your birth and recovery will look like, and you also don’t know what will be easy and challenging with each baby. So no matter how much time you spend preparing, we’re all somewhat winging it.
Passing Along the Prep Work
As mothers, we often feel like the world of our family is resting upon our shoulders; I’m carrying the baby, therefore I need to do all of the things to get ready for their arrival. It’s hard to let go of the control, but I know my husband (and some family members) can help with the preparations. While I’d prefer to be the one sifting through the newborn hand-me-downs and folding everything to my liking, sometimes you need to release a bit of the control.
As I continue to define my list of priorities, I’m also sharing that list with my partner and being clear about what we can each do to feel ready.
Soaking in the Time With My One Child
One thing I haven’t really spent much time thinking about is that my daughter is about to lose her status as an only child. At under 2 years old, she’s young and has no idea what’s about to happen to her world, but I do. She’s been the center of my universe for 20 months and soon there will be another little being that will inhabit that central point along with her.
I’m incredibly happy and grateful to be able to give her a sibling. I know that at the beginning it might be challenging for her and me to have attention pulled in different directions, so it’s important that we soak up our sweet uninterrupted time together over these next few weeks. If she was older, part of my prep for a second baby would likely include getting her ready for the change. But at her age, my main goal is to show her as much love as possible and to make sure we both enjoy our undivided time together.
So this morning when my toddler crawled into my lap (which at 35 weeks pregnant admittedly is already low on space), I welcomed in her for as many books as she wanted to read. I know that lap space is about to be shared by more than just my baby bump, but there’s always room for her.
Read More: The 6 Baby Items I’m Upgrading for Baby #2