Preparing for pregnancy the second time around

by Alexis Schrader on January 30, 2015

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alexis schraderBefore my first pregnancy, I spent months exercising, eating right, going to acupuncture and taking vitamins. I felt really on top of things.

Then I got pregnant and was blindsided by terrible morning sickness. Then I had a miscarriage. Then I got pregnant again. Basically I threw up every day for a year. It was seriously not fun.

Now, I’m getting to ready to add a second child to our family, and my goals have changed. Last time, my only concern was a healthy pregnancy. Now, I also need to be a good parent to an active toddler while I’m pregnant.

While I’m worried about no longer being able to nap under my desk, I also feel like this time I have a better idea of what pregnancy is like. Here’s what I’m doing differently now that I know what to expect:

Exercise

Before my first pregnancy, I had a regular yoga practice. Now, most of my exercise comes from chasing a toddler around.

While I’m trying to prioritize working out, a daily 90-minute yoga session is not in the cards. Instead, I’m focusing on specific muscle groups.

I’m using pilates to work my core and pelvic floor, which really take a beating during pregnancy.

I’m also working my shoulder muscles. I had a lot of shoulder pain with my first baby from constantly picking her up and holding her, so much so that I ended up in physical therapy. By working my shoulders with resistance bands, I’m strengthening my muscles to prevent overtaxing them later.

Nutrition

I’m still breastfeeding my 2 year old, so I’m trying to eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods.

Before my daughter was born, I never drank coffee. Now, I need a cup in the mornings to get going. Before my first pregnancy I would have obsessed over this. Now I’m letting it go, since the amount of caffeine is well within the range considered safe and I’ll be better able to parent my daughter with the extra energy.

The importance of prenatal vitamins is common knowledge, and I started taking them long before I got pregnant. But once I was pregnant, I threw up every time I took one. This time, I researched vitamins that minimize nausea.

I also researched supplements, like milk thistle, that may minimize morning sickness.

Lifestyle

During my first pregnancy, I tried to minimize stress, which at the time was pretty easy. Now, my life has changed a lot — as a mom, I’m basically on-call all the time.

So I’m using my limited free time to multitask, doing things that will both relax me and hopefully prepare my body for an easier pregnancy. This includes chiropractic care, rolfing sessions and pilates classes to open my hips, correct my posture to help with back pain and get in better shape so I have more energy and endurance for my family.

I’m also spending more time stepping back and observing my daughter. It is such a joy to watch her play more independently as she gets older. And now she’ll be used to me lying on the couch while she plays!

Preparing for another pregnancy is definitely more complicated, because I have more than one child to consider. But knowing what pregnancy and the postpartum period are like have helped me target my efforts towards specific goals. Hopefully this will make the transition to a family of four easier for all of us.

How was your second pregnancy different from your first? Did you do anything different to prepare?

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Parents need to be the compass point

by Shoshana Hayman on January 28, 2015

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1021857_mother_and_sonIt’s normal to worry about how our children will turn out in the future. Will they accept the values and ideals that we want to pass on to them? Will they follow the path we hope they will take? Is there a formula or method that will assure us of these things?

There are no guarantees, but there are many things we can do to influence the outcome of our parenting. We could dedicate an entire book to this topic, but in this short space, we can highlight one important factor. This factor needs to be considered carefully, because it used to be taken for granted. It was a given in traditional cultures, but in modern society, it is less available.

This factor is the place of parents in their children’s lives.

I’m using the word “place” instead of authority, because “authority” has become overused and misinterpreted. Parents are told to be more authoritative, while at the same time, our culture is severely undermining parental authority.

Here’s one small example of how this happens: A mother recently told me that she met with her son’s teacher, guidance counselor and school psychologist. She wanted to explain that it was important that her son’s teachers develop a caring relationship with him. When she explained to them what her son needed, their response was, “You’re only the mother.”

In other words, “We are the professionals who know best what students need.”

In the past several years, there has been a groundswell of professionals — psychologists, psychiatrists, consultants and therapists — to take care of children’s “problems.” The attitude that professionals can assess and take care of children better than parents has weakened parents’ confidence in themselves as the answer to their children’s psychological, emotional and spiritual needs.

The attachment village, at one time, was more easily available for parents and children. It was the parents’ place to introduce their children to other adults who supported the family’s values. When the parent could depend on these adults, the child could be securely attached to all the adults in his life.

When a child’s attachments are disconnected from each other, the child can’t orient to both his parents and to other adults who serve as the parents’ support system. This also makes it more likely for the child to attach to other children instead of to adults, and then look to these children for direction.

This has a direct impact on our influence to pass on our values and ideals to our children, when they are young and even more so when they are teenagers. The assumption that teenagers need to separate from their parents in order to find their individuality is false, and well-meaning adults easily assume that teenagers need friends more than their parents.

Parents need to be the compass point for their teenagers no less than for their younger children.

Parents can do three things to reclaim their rightful place in the lives of their children:

  1. Assume responsibility to be your child’s compass point, guide, comforter and safe home base. You may not have all the answers, but it is more important to believe that you are the answer for your child, because no one cares as much as you do.
  2. Provide your child with secure and deep attachment, and continue to protect and nurture this relationship during all the years your child is growing up. This will give him the context he needs to internalize your values while he is developing more maturity and finding his own reasons to believe in these values.
  3. Make room for your child to express his own thoughts, ideas, opinions, questions and feelings. This will give him the room he needs within the relationship to become his own person. Listening to him without judgment will open discussions that give you a window into what he is exposed to and what he thinks about it.

This gives you the influence you need while helping him cross the bridge from childhood to adulthood.

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Playing together

January 28, 2015
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published on October 10, 2008, but its message about the importance of presence is as timely today as then. By Tara, Feels Like Home I have a secret. I am a mom’s group drop out. I researched for months and found a local playgroup so that my daughter and […]

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A sign of affection

January 26, 2015
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My beautiful 3 year old, like most I would presume, is a rather emotional breed. Juliette knows not only what she wants but can also quite effectively articulate why she wants it and why we should appease her wishes. Sometimes I joke that she is a lawyer in the making. She is clever, intelligent, determined […]

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Tantrums

January 23, 2015
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My 2-year-old son was standing in his bedroom doorway with little sobs, tears rolling down his cheeks. All because he was so tired and it was bedtime, but he wanted to keep playing with his trains. My heart was breaking. He wanted me to take him back downstairs, but I was nursing his half-asleep baby […]

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Giving our children presence…at work!

January 21, 2015
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Oct. 9, 2008, and in the past 7 years since, workplaces are increasingly becoming more family friendly, including allowing employees to bring their babies to work with them. By Carla Moquin, president of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute For many working parents, their desire to be […]

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Lying and trust

January 20, 2015
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We catch children hiding the truth from the time they are quite young. It might be a child who has just scribbled on the wall, who says “no” when you ask her if she did it. It might be a child who points to his brother and says, “He did it!” when you ask him […]

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A nod to my husband

January 19, 2015
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Often times it seems — at least to me — that dads don’t get a lot of recognition, especially when their kids are babies. So in honor of my husband’s milestone birthday this month, I thought I’d take a moment to tell the world why he is so invaluable to my children and me: To […]

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