February 29, 2012

If Millie Became a Big Sister...

I think a lot about having another baby. There are new pregnancy announcements popping up nearly every day in real life and here in blogland, and it sometimes gets me thinking about how I'd go about it all if we ever have another child. I've been mentally jotting down things I want to do and things I want to avoid.

This is a long list, and it needs to be prefaced by me simply saying no one person has made me think these things, and pregnancy is obviously a very personal thing. Some people need to talk through it more, and others don't want to say much at all. Some people enjoy it all, some enjoy certain parts, and some people don't. These are just the thoughts I've been gathering along the way.


-Understand the mothers-to-be who always claim they "just want a healthy baby". It used to drive me nuts- just pick boy or girl!- and while I still think most people secretly have a preference, I finally understand that there is no fear like the fear of something not being right with your child. Do I have a preference if we have another baby? Yes. Do I ultimately just hope that they would be born healthy? Absolutely.

-Take just as many pictures of the next baby. I haven't regretted a single moment spent behind the lens taking photos of Millie. There are so many memories we'll always have. They are priceless to me and my family of course, and they will wonderful for the baby to look back on as they grow. I've never thought to myself, "I wish my parents hadn't taken so many pictures of me." (Um, there are a few I could do without, though!)

-Be more aware of myself. It's overwhelming to care for a newborn no matter what the situation. However, coupling that with a marriage in crisis, and I really felt like I was falling apart. I lied on every single postpartum questionnaire I was asked to fill out at the doctor's office, because the truth was that I had no idea what my emotions were, or rather, where they stemmed from. They would ask me questions such as "Are you depressed most of the time?", "Do you cry often?", "Do you feel more tired, anxious, or upset than usual?" And because I couldn't separate the feelings of new motherhood (and most likely, looking back, postpartum depression) with the feelings of my marriage falling apart, I simply marked Xs in all the 'no' boxes and smiled my way through the appointments until I could cry in the car on the way home. I was so unhappy for so much of Millie's beginnings on this earth, and I hated myself for it, too, because I didn't want to be a depressed mother to her. I want that to all be different the next time around.

-Try to cherish the things I wasn't so fond of before. One of the hardest things for me was waking up every hour or two for months, and losing hours of sleep every night. I'm sure it didn't help the depression, either. But I spent a lot of that time frustrated, and even in tears some nights- not upset with Millie, but just feeling helpless and alone. And while I doubt it will be any easier to stay awake more than I'll ever sleep, I want to try to remember that those moments I'll have with my child are so fleeting, and they'll be gone before I know it. I want to remind myself that I will someday long for quiet hours to just hold and rock them.

-Take what I've learned with Millie and use it. So many people love to give pregnant women advice, and most of it is well meaning, but the best ideas come from the every day living it out. Millie hasn't made me an expert in motherhood by any means, but I feel a lot more confident as a parent now, and know how I want to raise my children. I'm not the kind of girl who wants to blog about the specific brands of bottles we had in the house, the kinds of diapers we used, and all the other mundane details, but I can at least say I feel slightly more well-versed on them.

-Hope that Millie and the next baby would be lifelong friends. My siblings and I were naturally close during our younger years, but while most of us live within a few miles of each other, we just don't have the same relationships anymore. I would love for Millie and her sibling to have the kind of connection that keeps them together, at least in spirit, throughout their adulthood.

-Give the next baby as many memories. I want to do another daily diary for them, another baby book, and everything else I do for Millie. I think it can be easy to slack after the first child because there just won't be as much time, but it's important for me.

-Try to remember that it's okay if my kids don't grow up in a wealthy home. It's not the point of life.

-Re-use. If I had a girl, it would obviously be easier in this department. In fact, the bigger things I already have, like our stroller, high chair seat, etc., were picked because of their neutral colors so they could be re-used. But no one sees Millie's crib but Sky and I, so if the next baby was a boy, it's okay if he sleeps on flowery sheets. It's even okay if he has to wear pink socks around the house. It won't be the end of the world.


 -Feel like I need to have professional baby pictures taken. We took them one time when Millie was 6 months, and though I like them, I actually like all the photos we've taken much better. They were very expensive and didn't capture her any better than we did. I felt like it was something I was supposed to do to be a good parent, and looking back on it now, I know it really doesn't matter. Which leads me to...

-...Do something just because 'it's what good parents do'. The picture thing? I don't see Millie looking back on her childhood and thinking to herself, "If only they had gone to Sears and taken a few more sets of forced, posed photos." I want to do the things with Millie that I look back on my childhood and remember. There are things that are important to parents because it's a guilt thing- and then there are the things that are actually important.

- Blog my daily or weekly progress as to what my weight is, what I'm craving, or what parts of me hurt or have enlarged. This is a personal choice, but I feel like there are things that only my husband, my doctor, and maybe my mother would want to know (and often times, not even them). Will I blog about pregnancy in general, reflect on Millie having a little sibling, write up the birth story, etc.? Of course. But I won't want it to be an every day conversation where the rest of life gets lost. There are a lot of topics which I believe online pregnancy forums are great for- but my blog will not be that.

-Do a big gender reveal (if we were to find out before). Not a fan. Also on the topic of announcements, I would want to think of something cute but small, and definitely not do it the way I've seen all over Pinterest, with the firstborn holding the new baby's sonogram picture. To me, it always looks like the kid is announcing they're pregnant. Is that weird?

-Feel guilty if I have an epidural. I wanted to try so hard to have Millie naturally, and after nearly 24 hours of labor, it just wasn't going to happen. Having babies naturally seems to be a big badge of honor in mom circles, and while I think it's great if it can be done, I think it's silly for me to feel like I failed. I'm sure Millie didn't mind, so why should I?

- Complain about my pregnancy. This won't be easy for me, to be honest- I complain about migraines and other things much more than I should already. I'm not perfect, and I know for a fact I whined about kicks in the ribs or heartburn with Millie. But one of the most important things I've realized through the blogging world is that having a child isn't something that is just handed to everyone. Some people will never get the chance, and some people will wait years before they get it. Millie came to us easily, and if I'm blessed enough to have that experience again, I will not take it for granted. I wasn't one of those women who enjoyed every second of pregnancy, but I will constantly try to remind myself that the morning sickness or the stretchmarks mean I am blessed. I am thrilled to have Millie, but I also want to feel the full weight of what a privilege it is to carry a baby. I didn't fully appreciate it with her I think, and I don't want to make that mistake again. So I am sure I will slip up sometimes and whine- but I'm stating it all here, so you all can keep me accountable!


-I might like to be surprised. The suspense would be torture, but another pregnancy would quite possibly be our last. I think it would be so amazing to have the experience of knowing nothing until the doctor holds up a little, pink baby and announces if we have a boy or a girl. I can't imagine a moment topping Millie's birth, but that could just be the icing on the cake. However, I'm impatient and like to plan every detail of my life, so we'd just have to see if I could handle 9 months of the unknown.

It's oh so easy to say I wills and I won'ts without a newborn in my arms. I know. I hope this post comes across to you as what I intend it- a sort of hopes and dreams list instead of sounding self righteous. Because, of course, babies will do their own things, and I definitely didn't do everything the way I wanted to with Millie. But these are my hopes, and above all, I hope I can carry through with them all with grace.

15 kind comments from you:

Julie Danielle said...

Love this post! I think I take more pictures of my #3 but all of my boys have a ton of pictures. I knew I would not stop doing that after my first...lol

Elizabeth, The Young Retiree said...

Oh my word- I don't know what some people are thinking on pinterest. My grandmother and I were in the midst of a very tough conversation last night when I informed her we would not be finding out the gender of our someday baby but if she was still alive and wanted to know we could have the doctor send her a letter. She laughed so hard! It's nice to sit around and dream about the what ifs and the wills and wonts! We all do it, I think.

I will tell you this though: As I sit here and write a very painful post about our TTC journey the thought has crossed my mind about how I have wanted to punch every complaining pregnant woman right in the ovaries. There are some things to complain about, but your growing belly not fitting into your favorite pair of jeans already? What I wouldn't give! The ones who complain about every mundane things are the worst.

If Millie ever becomes a big sister- it looks like you have quite a great set of "pregnancy goals"! Great post!

Ashley said...

haha oh goodness! I love the thoroughness of this! :)

Sue said...

This made me smile. I love that you're planning it all but at the end had to remember that it's all different when they're actually here. Good luck darling!

Karen said...

I absolutely love creative pregnancy announcements but can't stand any that involve a pregnancy test (someone PEED on that...ewwww), or an ultrasound (just not a fan). I think your goals are great.

Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife said...

Wow! That's a comprehensive list!! On the topic of complaining about pregnancy and the badge of "honor" of going natural...ignore everyone else, you don't owe anything to anyone. You can complain all you want in YOUR space (the blog). The badge of "honor" should be the healthy baby in your arms and the least stressful birth possible.

Btw, I read this at 6 a.m. and read "Millie Became a Big Sister" and said "not another one!!". Haha! That little word "if" really changes things! :)

Kaylee said...

I like this post :) I think it's good to think through things like this.

Chantal said...

I don't know if I could be surprised. I'm way too impatient! But I thought maybe if we had a boy and girl already and we decided to try for that third, I might leave it for a surprise. Who knows?

I tried so hard not to complain about pregnancy... but sometimes it got the best of me!

Michelle said...

This is so awesome. We think so similarly! I was actually just talking to a friend last night about how over the top the gender reveals are on Pinterest. It's almost like people trying to one up each other. And I agree...the toddler holding the ultrasound is always awkward to me too.

Don't feel bad about the depression when first having Millie. Sometimes, that's just the way life plays out. I actually went through a bout of depression when planning my wedding. What was supposed to one of the most joyous times of my life was one of the most miserable, and I felt so, so guilty for it. I know it's not the same as having a baby, but I wanted you to know I can relate, and you're not alone :)

Jenn said...

Love this list! I totally think you can do the wait-and-see gender thing! We did it with my son, and now we're doing it again. It makes you anticipate the big day even more (if that's possible!)! :) And I'm the same way with re-using baby things. ;) If this baby is a girl, she will most likely be wearing little baseball and blue onesies around the house, because really. Will she ever care what she wore when she was 3 weeks old? I'm betting not. LOL

And natural birth, epidural, c-section- any way you spin it, you end up with your baby. And that's all that matters!! :)

Mrs.B said...

Love! I agree with a lot.

I feel like I wished away the first 8 months of Em's life since Mike was deployed and just wanted him home.
I definitely don't want to do that with the next one.

Amy Bushatz said...

As someone who loves -- LOVES to complain (because it makes me feel a little better? Or I figure if I'm miserable other people should be too? Whatever the reason, it's not a good one) the way I kept myself from complaining publicly this time was very simple: i did not post on Facebook that I am pregnant until last week (37 weeks) and didnt put it on my blog or really anywhere. I told in person (or as in person as you get long distance) people that I am actually friends with. But I didn't broadcast it ... and if I wasn't broadcasting it I couldnt complain about anything pregnancy related. Guess what? It worked like a charm.

The New "Normal" said...

Love your lists. This topic has been on my mind like crazy lately, it must be something in the air! I think it's good to think about what you would do the same and differently with a second baby because you learn so much with that first! After our two, I've definitely got strong ideas of what I would do another time around...I feel like I was so busy and wishing the pregnancies to be over to meet our little ones, that I didn't fully enjoy those moments and it was over too soon. Same with their newborn days, I was so tired and just wanted sleep that I couldn't wait for them to be older. Now they are 7 and 5 and I wish I had spent more time appreciating rocking them during those sleepless nights when they were so tiny.

Taylor said...

Great post! I especially like the points of not feeling guilty for not doing certain things that are expected. I really enjoy the way you write about being a mother!

Michelle said...

It's funny because we're going through this right now with Tate. She wears some of Finn's old clothes, but we did buy new bedding... though I don't think that matters much. After all the fertility shit we went through to get pregnant and my hospitalization I really was just happy that she was healthy, but dear God I was ELATED that she was a girl when we found out.

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