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When the two lines popped up on the third dollar store pregnancy test I took that morning, I prayed that it was wrong, that I was seeing things. Well, technically I was. I was seeing two clear lines that could only mean one thing: I was pregnant.

My mind felt like it was stuffed with cotton and simultaneously like it was about to explode. I wasn't even a year postpartum after having my first child and here I was, pregnant again.

I knew surprises like these happened but the thing was, my first baby was a miracle and this second baby wasn't supposed to be possible. On top of my infertility issues, my husband and I decided to be extra careful with condoms and birth control. Despite having one fallopian tube and doing everything in the world trying to prevent a baby, that test wasn't lying and I was completely and utterly devastated.

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I had just lost most of my baby weight. I had just started to get my life back on track. I started to have a semblance of freedom as a mother of a 6-month-old who was eating solids and not breastfeeding around the clock anymore. I was even thinking about going back to work. And in the blink of an eye, it was all gone.

How dare I feel this way when other women yearned for biological children?

How dare I feel this way when other women would literally do anything to see those two lines on a stick?

How dare I consider all of my options when I had a safe home, relationship, finances?

The guilt of those ugly thoughts hit me immediately.

Then the next thing I knew I was in the hospital bleeding with a possible miscarriage and I knew at that moment that I could never let go of my child. Despite not being ready psychologically for another baby I was going to do my best.

But the guilt never stopped, even after he was born.

When you have only one child, you can tend to their every need at the drop of a hat, but when you have two it requires a lot more planning and patience.

I knew that when the baby was born my toddler was going to miss out. That my baby was going to miss out. That my husband was going to miss out. And ultimately that I was going to miss out.

I hated that my second child never got to snuggle alone with me for the first year of his life. That he cried more because I had to feed his brother, change diapers, or put him down for a nap and just couldn't focus on him 100% of the time.

I hate how he gets his toys stolen from him, that his brother sometimes hits him, and that I didn't make it to a full year of breastfeeding with him.

But if I look past all those little everyday things and focus on the big picture, I love that he has an older brother to hug him after he falls.

I love that he gets tickled by his bubby and they giggle as they run around the house.

I love that he learned how to climb up and down the stairs in our house and talk faster because he wants to keep up with his older brother.

I love when he hands his brother food and they—finally—share nicely.

I love that my oldest asks for my youngest when he's taking a nap.

I love that this was possible thanks to a change of plans by fate.

My youngest may not get all the attention his brother got as a newborn but he is still growing up to be a strong, smart, independent little man like his older brother. And most importantly, there is more love to go around for all of us.

I would have never imagined that they would willingly kiss one another, or that they would tackle each other with hugs and try to have tickle fights for fun. Nor did I think it was possible for my husband and me to love another tiny human just as much as our first child, and somehow our hearts fill up with more love every single day.

Now, having more than one child may not be for everyone but after everything we went through, I am glad it happened to me. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Generally speaking, we're not big TV watchers and our kids don't own tablets or iPads, so limiting screen time for our children (usually around the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines) has proven to be a reasonable practice for us.

It wasn't until this past summer when I started working from home full time that I found myself stretching an hour to an hour and a half or allowing just one more episode of Pokemon so I could get in a few more emails quietly. (#MomGuilt)

I also realized that I wasn't counting when we passively had the news on in the background as TV time and that we weren't always setting a stellar example for our kids as we tended to use our phones during what should have been family time.

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