As I you know, I am a mom to two girls. Lots of people say they look the same but they are so different. I usually don’t like comparing but a mother can’t help recalling when each milestone was made, how the sleeping was and what the characters the children had.
Here are some facts (among others) about my two children that I couldn’t help but notice and compare:
My first daughter didn’t sleep for 2 years. She started sleeping through the night when I weaned her after her 2nd birthday.
My second daughter is an amazing sleeper: at night her first stretch is from 4 to 8 hours (depending on her health and stage of development).
My first daughter didn’t find solid food appealing. Until now she is quite a picky eater.
My second daughter loves solids.
My first daughter was quite high needs and she wouldn’t fall asleep with anyone but me. She also wouldn’t fall asleep other way but while nursing.
My second daughter is so calm and patient: she can play on her own for a long time and she easily falls asleep with my husband and whoever holds her and pats her back.
Thinking about it all made me go back and compare both of my pregnancies. Here’s what I gathered so far:
My first pregnancy I had quite a poor diet. I did take prenatal vitamins but I was craving and ate a lot of junk food.
My second pregnancy I didn’t take prenatal vitamins (they made me sick), I ate home made food and my cravings changed every month.
My first pregnancy I worked a lot during first and second trimesters and barely exercised.
My second pregnancy I was a home-stay mom, I taught mommy & tot exercise classes AND I exercised on my own practically till delivery.
My first pregnancy was pretty stressful (work, high risk in first trimester, relocation during second and a stressful passport situation which almost made me take a flight in late pregnancy back home).
My second pregnancy I was more relaxed and rested well.
My first pregnancy I was an emotional wreck. I had those infamous mood swings and I had “baby blues” during first 3 months PPT.
My second pregnancy I was more in control of my emotions and even if I had “baby blues” neither I nor anyone around really noticed them!
My first pregnancy I gained 26 kgs. (Baby’s birth weight was 3 kgs, low waters).
My second pregnancy I gained just 15 kgs. (Baby’s birth weight was 4.2 kgs, high waters).
Now, both of my girls were born healthy (despite some minor issues my first one had, i.e. umbilical cord tight around her neck and low level of waters). They nursed well and they gained well. My 4 year old is a lively spirited child. She is amazingly smart and artistic. My 7 months old is yet to show what she is made of, but we already notice her strong will and desire to explore.
So, what is it that makes a pregnancy healthy? You can find lots of advice on the matter from health providers, fitness instructors, been-there-done-that moms and friends .
However, here are some of my thoughts *:
1. Do your research about pregnancy symptoms but don’t overdo it – there is so much information online that can scare you, however a lot of helpful information which can alarm you at the right time and for the right reason.
2. As hard as it can be, try not letting your emotions overflow you. Hormonal or not, you are still the one who controls your emotions. There are many relaxation techniques that can help you relax and feel more at ease emotionally. However, if all fails – feel free to scream and cry!
3. Communicate with your partner. Communication between a pregnant couple is very important. Both are undergoing a lot. Both can be stressed by pregnancy. Men should do their best to listen and understand their pregnant partners – there is a whole new life growing inside of them! And women in their turn should try and cut some slack to their men – a lot of men don’t start feeling very paternal till they get to hold that baby in their arms!
4. Exercise. Whether it is just a daily walk or you sign up for prenatal classes – it is important to move. Unless you are on a bedrest any sensible professional will recommend mild to regular exercise routine for you to follow.
5. Nutrition. It is OK to give into your cravings. However, if you feel you have some unusual cravings perhaps you could look deeper into the root of them and find out whether it is the lack of certain minerals and vitamins that create them.
6. Your other children. No matter how hard it is, spend some quality time with them. Even 10-15 minutes a day one-on-one with your other child will benefit you greatly.
7. If at some point of your pregnancy or post-partum you feel over-stressed or depressed, don’t hesitate to reach out of help. It is important to communicate your feelings to your friends and professionals. This also goes for adopting parents: the emotional stress can be very big. There is no shame in feeling down and your efforts are not any less than the ones of the biological parents.
A NOTE TO FRIENDS: be there for your pregnant or a new mother/father friend. Give your support and lend your ear. Having a child while an absolutely miraculous and happy occasion can also be very overwhelming and stressful.
What about your pregnancy experience? If you have more than 1 child, do you ever think of how each of your pregnancy was different and hence made an impact on your child’s character and temperament?
To those future moms out there – I wish you all healthy pregnancies!