Joanna Gaines says her new baby's age gap has a sweet perk for the siblings

During pregnancy, it seems impossible to ever forget how those baby kicks feel or what it's like to hear the heartbeat or the awe of seeing your baby dance around the ultrasound screen, but expectant mama Joanna Gaines says it seems like she's going through all of this for the first time. "Since it's been over eight years since I was pregnant with Emmie Kay, I joke with my friends that it feels like it's my first time being pregnant," Gaines says in a recent blog post.

Because she had her first four children in quick succession, none of them remember what it was like for mom to be pregnant—but they seem to be enjoying the experience as much as her.


"The best thing about all of this is the excitement that my kids have shown for their new baby brother," Gaines says of Drake, 12, Ella, 11, Duke, 9, and Emmie Kay, 7. "They love my growing belly (and boy is it growing), and they cannot wait to meet him. I truly believe this baby is a gift from God for our family in this season."

All of Baby Boy Gaines' older siblings are old enough to be excited about his arrival, yet still young enough that family is the focus of their (immaculately decorated) world. Gaines once described this stage of life in a letter to fellow moms posted on the Magnolia website: "The young stage my kids are in is the sweetest. Chip and I are their favorite people and they still stop what they're doing to greet us at the door when we get home. I really want to savor this season for as long as I can," she wrote.

Gaines herself is also appreciating this pregnancy to its fullest. Not only is she surrounded by support, but she's also able to indulge in napping and eating—"my two favorite things"—without guilt. 💯

Of course, Gaines is still keeping plenty busy, even after wrapping the final season of Fixer Upper. Her restaurant, Magnolia Table, is now open for business and her cookbook, also called Magnolia Table, is coming out next week. While she's in writing mode, Gaines is finishing up the manuscript for her design book. (Eagerly waiting for when we can pre-order!)

Along with hubby Chip, she's still working off-camera on flipping houses and building 20 new ones in town. On top of all that, she's working on launching the Magnolia Kids furniture line with baby items because "of course that's all I can think about."

Gaines is an ambitious businesswoman, but also a present parent. With her oldest approaching his teen years, Gaines knows how fast her next baby will grow up, so you better bet she's going to make the most of each minute she has to savor his childhood. "As a mom, sometimes I have to change my mindset and remind myself what's important. I only have so many hours a day to spend with these sweet, little people. And they won't be little forever. So I get up and keep moving," she once wrote.

Honestly, it's exhausting for us to just think about all Gaines is up to—but she's embracing it and having fun along the way. "If you would have told me that I'd end this season of the show pregnant with our fifth baby, I would've laughed," she says. "Like the entire Fixer Upper opportunity as a whole, life has a way of surprising us."

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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