For something that happens hundreds of thousands of times per day – there is still so much about having children that each mother has to learn by experience…aka the hard way.
I have been pregnant for almost all of the last two years (one miscarriage and two full terms) and have learned A LOT the hard way and would like to pass some of it on for you to use as you see most fit.
But before getting started, I want to make sure you know that I am NOT trying to convince you to make a certain decision; rather give you information that might be useful while making your own personal decisions.
Debunked an old wives’ tale
Tale: Exclusively nursing is one of the best birth controls in existence.
Truth: In most cases that is true for the first six months of the baby’s life…but apparently I am in the less then 1% that it doesn’t apply to.
Come to find out, if you decide not to use birth control after having a baby, you will discover the “cycle” that your body follows, and how soon it will decide to be ready to produce again. Mine was ready when my daughter was four months old – even though I was exclusively nursing and had no idea that it was even a possibility.
This is now very important information for the rest of my child-bearing years… unless I want all of my children spaced 12 months apart, some change will need to happen!
This leads into another very important fact that I learned the hard way: milk supply!
My daughter had been teething for the majority of the gap between her four and six month appointments so I attributed some fussiness and other unusual behavior to that. Toward the end of that two month gap, after her teeth had fully broken through, I began to wonder if something else was going on. She didn’t seem to be sensitive around her gums and did not have any other signs of teething. But since I had never heard of losing your milk supply, and didn’t know that I was pregnant, I decided I was just too much of a worrier.
One week before her appointment, I was startled to find out that I was, in fact, pregnant, and soon after found out that you can lose your supply when pregnant. I suddenly became VERY worried. At her appointment, she had LOST a 1/2lb when she should have GAINED 4lbs! I FELT HORRIBLE!!!
Needless to say, we IMMEDIATELY started her on formula and she gained those 4lbs in the first 2.5 weeks after that… PRAISE THE LORD! no permanent damage was done.
Change of plans
First off, I wouldn’t change A THING about the past… we can’t wait for our second little one to arrive and can’t imagine our “lil punkin” not existing.
But we have learned a lot through this process and there are several reasons that we will be doing things a little differently in the future.
- The first reason is the milk supply issue. Not everyone has this issue when pregnant, but now that I know I do I would like to do what is necessary to be able to nurse my babies for at least the first year of their life, mainly for the health benefits it provides.
- Secondly, I had have a lot more ligament/joint pain during this pregnancy, because my core didn’t have time to heal and isn’t strong enough to hold my uterus where it should be which is causing too much stretching on my ligaments. I even went to a chiropractor, seeking some relief, only to find that during my first labor, I slipped a disk in my back that is now being re-aggravated. This is fairly common and usually corrects itself, but because of my quick, turn-around pregnancy, it was not given enough time to heal. The only cure is to have the baby and let it heal properly.
- Another consideration is weight loss. I was thankfully able to get within five pounds of my pre-baby weight before getting pregnant this time but I have a feeling that if I keep having them this close the pounds will just keep creeping up. UGH
- And lastly, although we would love to have a large family and don’t plan to space out too much…we think we would like a little more then 12 months between each child. We would like to have SOME time in our marriage where I am not “with child”, but, of course, that is just personal preference.
So tell me, what are some things about mothering that you have learned the hard way??