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4 Things I Learned During My Second Pregnancy

Being pregnant with a second child is an entirely different experience than being pregnant with a first.

4 Things I Learned During My Second Pregnancy

I had an amazing first pregnancy. Zero swelling, no nausea and a super quick labor. Fast forward three years later, and I was pregnant again. I thought I was fully prepared and told myself, “I got this!” And to some extent, it was true: I knew what not to eat, what to expect during prenatal visits, and how my skin and hair could change. But I soon realized how different my pregnancy was going to be. Clearly, baby number 2 was his own little person, and I still had a lot to learn.

Don’t get me wrong. I knew all pregnancies were unique, but I didn’t knew just how different. Plus, isn’t it easy to forget all the details of your first pregnancy when your toddler and your first-trimester symptoms seem to conspire to make you extra tired all. of. the. time? Truth be told, I was bound to have a completely and uniquely new experience this time around, so I wanted to make the most of it and learn as much as possible not only about pregnancy, but also about myself, as a mom and a person.

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Here are 4 things my second pregnancy taught me.

1. Your body experiences each pregnancy differently. My first pregnancy was like a dream: I was never sick, enjoyed every trimester and just loved being pregnant. My second pregnancy (another boy!) kicked off with severe daily nausea and weekly migraines that lasted for five months. I was convinced something was wrong and called my doctor multiple times with my own medical theories. I was reassured (again and again) that my baby and I were perfectly healthy. I slowly learned to accept the fact that this pregnancy was just affecting my body differently and to be thankful for the little life growing inside of me. Regardless of what number pregnancy you are on, make sure to monitor your body and don’t just rely on Google searches to answer your daily symptom questions. Never hesitate to call your doctor, but know that just as every baby is different, so is every pregnancy.

2. It’s ok to lean on others. I was so determined to prove that I could be a mom of two that I was reluctant to ask for help, even on days when I could barely get out of bed. After some gentle pushing and insisting from loved ones, I realized how it is not just ok, but sometimes necessary to ask for help from friends, family, and other local resources. Growing a baby while taking care of a little person is not easy, and it’s important to let others step in and help out when they can. For family members, offer to pay for lunch or tickets to a local museum if you need a break or want to give something back for babysitting. If you are not near loved ones, resources such as Care.com and local neighborhood mom blogs offer hourly rates for last-minute services paired with trusted references. Don’t forget to be open and communicate with your partner when you need them to take over. They may not do things the way you do (dressed in pjs for school, cereal for dinner…), but can help take over everyday tasks so you can focus on you and your growing baby.

3. The importance of saying no and taking time for yourself. During my first pregnancy, I worked full time until I gave birth, exercised everyday (even on the day I had my son), and attended five weddings in the last two weeks of my pregnancy (in heels!). I tried to keep this pace up with my second but learned that it was just not possible; and there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking things day by day. If you feel like you need to take it down a notch, don’t be afraid to talk to your boss or HR about working from home or switching up your hours. Come prepared with a proposal/plan and reiterate your commitment to the job. Be honest and open with friends and family about needing some ‘me time’ and managing their expectations for future events. You will be surprised by how much they understand.

4. Don’t worry about letting go. I learned to accept the fact that things will not always run smoothly while preparing for baby #2 (or baby #1, 3, 5…). Using Netflix as a temporary babysitter for your half-naked toddler while you are hugging the bathroom floor? Check. Wearing your husband’s sweatpants to the store because you don’t have the energy to put on your new maternity jumpsuit? Check. Agreeing with your three-year-old that ice cream is a nutritious option for lunch? Check, check, check. Embrace and learn from the things you can’t control – both in and outside of your belly. Let it go and laugh during moments of imperfection -- sometimes they are the best ones.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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