*** All photos in this post were taken by Laura Bouzo Photography.
Are you ready?
This whole pregnancy the most common question coming at me has been: “are you ready?”
Am I ready for a baby, am I ready to be a mom of 2, am I ready to go through this whole newborn stage again, am I ready to be hit by a truck in delivery, am I ready for my toddler to deal with a sibling, am I ready physically, emotionally, mentally? So. Many. Questions.
I’ll start with the most important one. Asking if I’m ready when I’m already pregnant is… well… too late! The real question is, how to know if you’re ready to start trying for another baby.
Most of us have a general idea and certain expectations surrounding how many kids we want, how spaced out we’d like them to be, by what age we want to stop having kids, and all those other details we think about even though we can’t truly control them (yes, family planning and all, but shit still happens!).
The reality is, the actual experience we live through with every child shapes how we feel and think about all these things, and we can change our minds so many times in the process. It’s important to allow ourselves to do that and not to stay rigidly focused on a “plan” that was put in place in the past.
That being said, how do you know if you’re ready for a new addition to your family?
How do you know if you’re ready or not?
The key is to listen to yourself and be in touch with how you’re doing. As huge as this decision is, oddly enough trying to conceive is something a LOT of people do on a whim. It’s emotional, it’s instinctual, and sometimes there’s zero logic involved – it’s just kindof like – hey, let’s have a baby (heart shaped eyes emoji). As beautiful as that can be, such impulsive decisions push aside mental health considerations because they’re taken in the moment without further thought.
So first, don’t be impulsive.
Ask yourself: how have I been feeling over the last 2-3 months? Our state of being fluctuates pretty regularly and it can be easy to feel good for a week and think “wow I totally have the hang of life, I’m ready to do this again”. One week is not enough time to determine overall wellbeing; 2-3 months or more is a more realistic timeframe to look at and see how we’re doing overall.
Here’s my story.
I’ll share my own story with deciding to go for baby #2. After having David I decided that I wanted to wait at least 1 year before thinking about a second baby. We didn’t plan or agree on any timeline, we just agreed to not even think about it earlier than a year. When the one year mark was getting close, the idea was on my mind more and more as I kept asking myself whether I was ready and whether I wanted to start trying again. I wasn’t sure, but I also wasn’t against it. I talked about it with some of my mom friends and one of them said to me: “whenever you feel like you’re ready, wait another 2-3 months”.
Of all the unsolicited advice I’ve gotten from anyone and everyone about being a mom, this is without a doubt the best piece of advice I have ever gotten.
But since when do we listen to advice (LOL)?
Summer started, the sun came out, I felt comfortable in my body, I went back to work, we settled into a nice routine with David – life was good. What did I do? Exactly what I said not to do earlier. I convinced myself that everything was great and stable and that that meant I was ready to stir shit up again! Within 1-2 weeks we got all hyped up about trying for a 2nd baby and I was excited. I got off birth control and waited impatiently for that first cycle to end. And sure enough, there was no period in sight. I was a week late.
The first day I took a test and it was negative. I felt weird. Was it relief? With every passing day I felt rising anxiety about the possibility of me being pregnant. When my period came a week later, I cried such intense tears of relief. I was not ready. Feeling good did not equal being ready. It turned out that feeling good equaled me needing to feel that goodness for a little longer. To refill my cup, to reenergize, to fill my bucket with positivity and contentment and stability. I also realized that I wanted to enjoy being back to work even if it was just for another few months.
The next feeling that washed over me was intense guilt at feeling relieved about not being pregnant. A baby is a blessing. But I reminded myself that being emotionally and mentally healthy is an even bigger blessing for my family and any new baby down the line. And so that’s what I did. I took those extra 3 months to solidify this readiness and those good feelings before trying again. I am so glad I did. This pregnancy was challenging in many ways, and I know I would not have made it without a nice reserve of self-care and focus on myself.
Plans and timelines can wait. You will never regret investing the time into being a happier, healthier parent, spouse, and individual.
***All photos in this post were taken by Laura Bouzo Photography.