When I got pregnant with my first child, Madison, I didn't feel very prepared in the beginning. After I had my #momentofruth with an at home pregnancy test, I quickly buckled down and read as much as I could to prepare for the pregnancy and all that was to come. At the time, I was so anxious about becoming a mother but hearing her heartbeat at our first doctor's visit changed everything for me. When she turned three I felt very ready for another child and I discussed my desires with my husband. Apparently he was "just waiting on you", as he put it, so I eagerly got my IUD removed.
There was quite a bit of planning that went into trying to have a baby the second time around. So, if you're ready to have a(nother) baby here are a few things that I suggest you consider. Some of these things should be done months in advance.
1. Review Finances
Be sure that you've taken a good look at your budget prior to your baby's arrival. Review every aspect of the cost associated with not just having a baby but raising one as well; from medical bills, to daycare costs and more. Reports suggest that the cost to raise a child from birth to adulthood costs about a quarter of a million dollars. Be fully aware of the financial obligation you'll be taking on and begin to adjust your budget accordingly.
2. Review Health, Wellness & Habits
Do a self check. Do you need to eat better and exercise more? Do you need to kick a habit like drinking or smoking or to reduce your caffeine intake? There are so many health factors to consider.
If there are any concerns about your wellness and/or risk factors that you're aware of, then a doctor's visit is in order. Begin to take care of your body as if you're already pregnant and start prenatal vitamins as soon as you decide that you want to try to get pregnant.
3. Monitor Ovulation
To increase your chances of getting pregnant quickly, chart your fertility cycle. There are so many different kits, tools and apps that you can utilize to make this process easy. Your basal body temperature, cervical mucus and menstrual cycle are all key factors that must be monitored to determine when you're most fertile. Once you figure out your ovulation pattern you'll know when you should be having sex more often.
4. Know Your Body
You should be able to recognize changes in your body. Signs that you are pregnant can include tenderness in the breast, fatigue or sleeplessness, a weak bladder, moodiness, etc. I experienced all of these things when I got pregnant with Madison and they were the first indication to me that I might be pregnant. I looked for these things when I was pregnant with my second child, Morgan, and I already felt certain I was pregnant before I even took the pregnancy test!
5. Verify Your Pregnancy
There's no feeling like the feeling you get when you've taken a pregnancy test and you're waiting to confirm that you're growing a life inside. I've always been one to keep a pregnancy test on hand in my medicine cabinet, just because. The best test on the market, in my opinion, is the e.p.t® Pregnancy Test. You want to use a test that is tried and true, and has been used by millions of women. This test has been around since 1977 and has an accuracy rate over 99% from the day of your expected period.
When I thought I might be pregnant with my second child, I was traveling for work. I remember rushing to the Walgreen's across from my hotel in Tennessee and grabbing an e.p.t® Pregnancy Test off the shelf with excitement. I cried with joy during my #momentoftruth seeing that positive sign appear, and I felt so confident in the results. It took everything in me not to announce to Mario I was pregnant over the phone since I wanted to tell him in person. I held on to the pregnancy test like my life depended on it and left it for him to find on the bathroom counter as we were headed to bed on the night that I arrived back home!
6. Prepare for Baby
Before you know it, your baby will arrive (and will be six months old like baby Morgan here -- *picture me crying*). If this is your first, be sure to read up on what to expect during pregnancy and beyond as much as possible. Build a good support system, especially if you're breastfeeding, and make sure that your partner is preparing themselves as well.
Seek Help (if necessary)
I'd like to recognize that the journey to parenthood isn't always a smooth process. If you've done everything possible to have a baby and you're finding the process to be difficult, it may be time to visit a reproductive specialist. Be prayerful, patient and as positive as you can be during this time and lean on your support system throughout the process.
I hope you've found these tips to start or expand your family helpful. Most women can remember their #momentoftruth, be it a joyous, heartbreaking or a shocking moment, it is one that you'll never forget. So, if you're trying to conceive, welcoming a baby and raising a child will be one of your biggest challenges yet greatest blessings. Be sure to remember to embrace the journey as you plan and prepare to build your family.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.