What I'm Doing to Prepare for Baby #2

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Note: This isn't my typical "devotional" blog post, but since I believe God is part of every area of my life and this is the stage of life I am currently in, I have decided to incorporate a post once in a while on motherhood/marriage/homemaking topics. Please enjoy if this is relevant to you, and if not, I will continue writing meditations on the Word as well, so keep checking back!

[Almost] 34 weeks down, six to go, and I am so excited to meet my second son. My first is still pretty much a baby at 18 months, but there's something extra squishy and special I miss about the newborn stage. I don't miss the sleeplessness, or the crazy hormones, or the stress of getting behind on laundry and dishes... but I am determined to set up my family and myself for success as we transition into a family of four.

Success means different things to different people, but for me, I have no expectations of endlessly peaceful snuggling, no crying, 3 square meals with nutritious snacks in between, a newborn who sleeps through the night by 2 weeks and has no need to cluster feed, or a toddler who experiences no confusion or jealousy at the sight of Mommy constantly holding another tiny human instead of him {insert Mama tears here}.

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Instead, I have hopeful anticipation of the God who designed families and gifted us these two precious boys and ordained the timing of our restaurant opening (that's an entirely different story) and Little One's birth so near each other and knows that I often struggle with winter blues - that same God will be walking with us every step of the way. He will be present when we're getting no sleep whatsoever; He sacrificed more than one night of sleep in His time on earth on our behalf. He will be present when I'm overwhelmed with emotion because I can't be everything to both my babies; He has wept. He will be present when I cannot deal with the piles of dishes or laundry or crumbs or screaming and begin sinking; He calms storms with the beautiful sound of His voice.

So these are the truths I'm meditating on and the Rock on which I place my hope. And I also prepare in physical ways because He has given me the ability to do so.

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1) Meal Prep

Feeding my family is a gift. It is a privilege. It is not my favorite part of my role, but it is a necessity and a blessing for my husband and children. So to help ensure we won't be scrounging veggie straws and string cheese for every meal, I am prepping double batches of two different freezer meals each week leading up to the birth, as well as a batch of a protein-rich breakfast food. This should give me 4-6 weeks of breakfasts and dinners to take a cooking load off the newborn phase. All I will have to do is remember to thaw them out in time.

People, I do not enjoy cooking much at all, so this plan will take a lot of discipline for me, but I feel empowered after listening to Episode #37 of the Titus 2 Minute with Jami Balmet: Freezer Cooking to Save Your Sanity. I highly recommend this episode, along with the recipes she links to in her show notes, as well as the podcast.

2) Home Projects

This one is getting more and more challenging as I am not quite as agile as I was a few months ago and my midwife doesn't want me lifting heavy objects, but... here is my list.

First, I am prepping my oldest son's Big Boy Room so he can begin sleeping there for at least a month before the baby comes and get used to it. I am not putting pressure on myself to have it completely decorated and Pinterest-ready before the due date, but he will have a crib, an organized dresser and closet, and curtains at the very least. Decor can come bit by bit over the next several months.

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Second, I am prepping the nursery for my new son's arrival. Before my first was born, I wanted to have a neutral nursery so I didn't have to change it for each baby. I went with a Beatrix Potter theme, and as sweet as it is, I am now feeling like I don't want this boy to just have Big Brother's leftovers for everything, so I am changing it up a little to make it unique to Little One. I am keeping the decor changes very simple and inexpensive, so the wall color, crib, changing table, and glider can remain as they are. I do have quite a bit of organizing to do in the nursery closet, so I am referring to Pinterest for help with that.

Third, I am transitioning a strange little room between my kitchen and dining room into a play room. The reason is that it has a pocket door on the opposite side I can pull shut and lock to prevent escaping, and then I can place a baby gate in the doorway nearest the kitchen so I can still easily hear and see what is happening in there while I cook or do dishes. This will help contain some mess and I hope keep my older son interested for a longer period of time as opposed to wandering through the living room with crumby snacks or pulling at my legs while I'm trying to place something in the hot oven.

This project, however, requires listing and selling two large pieces of furniture and painting (the walls are currently a pale pink - the room was originally intended to be my "office"). This seems like a bite too big to chew in the last few remaining weeks of pregnancy, but I believe it will improve our quality of life, especially once the baby comes, so I am motivated to take it on. I'm grateful to have family in town who are willing to help with these sorts of things.

Fourth, I want to clean my furniture and carpets. My toddler and newborn will both spend a LOT of time very close to the floor. We have a Bissell carpet cleaner that is very user-friendly, which makes cleaning the carpets quick and easy.

3) Self-Care

I am scheduling fewer and fewer activities and get-togethers these last few weeks because, as much as I love my friends, they will still be there after the baby comes, but I will not get these last precious weeks with my only son back. This is a form of self-care because it is an aspect of expecting Baby #2 that has caused a lot of mixed emotions for me. I've always wanted to have lots of babies: in high school I wanted 10, but I've scaled back a little on that over the years to where I think 4 sounds perfect. Of course my husband and I are open to what God wants our family to look like, but no matter how many kids I'd like to have, there is something so bittersweet about giving up that undivided, one-on-one time with my firstborn. Golly, I'm tearing up about it as I type this.

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Someone told me this ache in my heart about the prospect of not being able to give him the same amount of attention is the physical manifestation of God stretching my Mama heart to make room for two precious babies. I love that image, so I have held it close. I have also held onto the fact that millions of mamas have gone through this process and come out the other side completely in love with two (or three or ten) children.

That is more of the emotional self-care, but for physical care, I am preparing some DIY creams, salves and sprays for postpartum care. Any woman who has given birth knows how many care products are helpful for healing in those first few weeks. There are several recipes I have that incorporate essential oils into plant-derived carrier oils, which I believe are incredibly supportive to the body's natural healing processes and are safe and effective to use on myself and my newborn, even while breastfeeding. I'm excited to prepare these and have them labeled and ready-to-go for after the birth.

Leading up to the birth, I will be walking and stretching every day, adding in a strength or yoga routine 3-4 days a week. I will also get a haircut and a mani-pedi so I feel as lovely as possible going into a season of infrequent showering or styling.

Self-care, especially when it comes to spending money on things to enhance external beauty, is a sticky topic among Christians. However, I believe that when a woman cares for her appearance enough to feel clean and confident, she is better able to direct her attention away from herself (insecurity) and onto the needs and concerns of others. Also, it is just plain practical to take care of our bodies because they're the vessel through which we minister the love of Christ to others.

4) Prep for Labor

Before my first son was born, my husband and I attended 12 weeks of birth classes at the home of a certified Bradley Method Birth instructor. It was such a valuable time for us, and it helped me feel incredibly confident about what actually happens in my body during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum/breastfeeding period. I had also decided long ago that I wanted to give birth without an epidural or spinal block, partly because they terrify me and partly because I wanted to experience childbirth with as little unnecessary medical intervention as possible. The Bradley Method Birth classes empowered me to do just that.

I did end up needing to be induced at 41 weeks 5 days due to hospital insurance policies, and looking back I know that was the right decision for both my son's and my health. Even though I received pitocin intravenously, and that was not part of my ideal birth plan, I was able to give birth without any pain medication, thanks to the strength and peace God provided and the skilled coaching and loving support of my husband and mom.

I know I can do it again this time, but since we are not going through the classes again, my husband and I have to be much more intentional about scheduling time to review our class materials and practice the labor techniques. I am also creating a playlist of worship music and just generally happy or calming music for labor as well as a list of Scripture and positive affirmations I can speak to myself and that my husband can speak over me when I feel discouraged.

Finally, I am adding a lot of emotion-supporting oils to my hospital bag because they have been such a help to me throughout the postpartum period with my firstborn and during pregnancy. Our sense of smell is directly connected to the emotional center of our brains, so certain blends of essential oils have the power to access feelings that might otherwise remain hidden or unidentified. Giving birth is a deeply emotional process, no matter how it is done, so supporting emotions with Scripture, through the love of family, and by physical means such as essential oils is critical to the laboring mother.

If you made it this far, you either are pregnant, have been pregnant, or want to be pregnant, so good for you! Thanks for reading my thoughts and plans, and I hope they were a little bit encouraging to you.

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Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.


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