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Preparing my Body for Baby #2

Preparing my Body for Baby #2

This post was written in collaboration with Ava Women, however, all opinions are my own.

I have always wanted at least two kids. Our first little man came into our world two and a half years ago, and not only have I never experienced such love, but it only affirmed my desire to continue to grow our family.

That said, conceiving the first time around wasn’t as simple as we had imagined. After months of wacky cycles post birth control, a discovery of undiagnosed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and countless negative pregnancy tests, we were finally blessed with those two pink lines.

Because of our previous struggles to conceive, and in sense, my naivety in the whole process, I am now much more aware of the importance of understanding my body prior to trying to conceive again. It’s so imperative for us as women, whether we are seeking to grow our families or not, to know how our bodies work, what they need, etc. in order to properly care for them.

So the following are some things I’m doing in preparation for baby #2, in order to do just that.

1. Ditch the birth control. For me personally, birth control not only masked my Hashimoto’s by “mimicking” a period each month, but I also had quite the withdrawal symptoms in the form of acne, cramps and more after coming off of it. I felt like if this little pill could alter my body’s natural state in such a drastic way, was it really something I wanted to be putting into it? Not to mention, if it masked a medical issue before, could it do it again? Needless to say, I haven’t been back on it since we started trying to conceive Asher, and I have no intentions of doing so. For me, this has been a first key step in my developed understanding of what is really taking place in my body while preparing for pregnancy.

2. Know my nutritional needs. Whether you go through your doctor’s office or an independent lab, I would highly encourage all women have a full nutrient panel done several times throughout your life, but in particular, when contemplating conception. I had one done for the first time after Asher was born, and I was blown away by how many vitamins and minerals I was deficient in like calcium, vitamin D,  B vitamins and more. Many of these are key things that our bodies and those of our growing babies need to do their jobs effectively, and it was incredibly eye opening to learn that despite a healthy diet, taking a prenatal etc., I still wasn’t getting enough.

3. Fill the gaps. Now that I know what my deficiencies are, I can work toward remedying them through diet and the supplements that I choose to take. I am a full proponent of trying to get as many vitamins and minerals as possible through real, wholesome foods. But, I also appreciate a high quality supplement (in the form of a prenatal or beyond) to fill in the rest. The best thing you can do for yourself is know your gaps, and be vigilant in catering to them.

4. Protect & nourish my gut. As someone who has suffered from a wide variety of gut health issues over the years, let me be the first to say, that gut health truly affects all health. If our gut health is not in check, we are not only often losing out on key nutrients, but are also leaving our bodies more susceptible to illness, infection, inflammation and beyond. Trust me, none of these are things we want to develop at any given time, but especially when pregnant. And to hit this point home further, there has even been research out their supporting a link between the health of a mother’s microbiome and that of her newborn babe’s. Morale of the story – it matters!

5. Know whats going on with my hormones. Similar to understanding my vitamin and nutrient needs, doing a hormone panel has been really insightful. This can again be done through a doctor’s office or independent lab and can look at everything from estradiol and progesterone to testosterone and cortisol levels and more. Our hormones play such an important role in so many functions of our body, including successfully conceiving and carrying a babe, thus, it can be helpful to have an understanding of their current balance within your own.

6. Track my cycles. It wasn’t until we were trying to conceive the first time around that I really payed much attention to my cycles. I think being on the pill kind of lends itself to that, since it makes things more than predictable. But since my cycle returned this time around after nursing Asher, I have been paying a great deal more attention to it. Something that I have been using lately to help me do this even more effectively is my new bracelet from Ava Women. Not only does the Ava bracelet enable me to keep track of my cycles, but it tracks a variety of other physiological parameters like pulse and breathing rate, skin temperature, sleep quality and more by simply wearing it on my wrist as I sleep at night. The other thing that I love about Ava is that by keeping track of all of this data, it actually has the ability to predict the five most fertile days in my cycle so that when we do decide we are ready to conceive, it takes a lot of the guess work out of it, thus, increasing our chances of success. Finding a tool like this has made this piece of prepping for baby a breeze.

7. De-stress. Sometimes as moms, and women in general, this is easier said than done. And I also know that sometimes in the midst of trying for a baby this can also be easier said than done. But the effects of excess stress on our minds and bodies can be incredibly taxing. I’ll be honest, I think in some ways conceiving and even pregnancy were tougher for me than it could/should have been the first time around because of the added pressure I placed on myself throughout the process. So whether it be through exercise, counseling, chatting it out with a good girlfriend, or curling up on the couch with a cup of tea, I’m working hard to seek to ensure I’ve got routines in place to help me find calm amidst the stressors of the day.  I’ll admit, this is yet another reason that I am also loving my Ava bracelet as well, as in addition to the benefits I mentioned above, it also measures my heart rate variability ratio which provides me with insight into my body’s physiological stress level on any given day. Having this information alerts me as to when I’m navigating stress well and when it may be time for me to slow down a bit to ensure I’m doing my best to treat my body with the care that it deserves.

It is my greatest hope that in seeking to do these things, we will not only be able to conceive again, but that I will head into the process feeling more ready and confident than ever before in my body’s ability to support and nourish both myself and our future little one. And, I have to say, I am more than eagerly awaiting the day where we are not only able to add to our tribe, but that our first born blessing becomes a big brother to another little miracle as well.

And for those interested in trying out the Ava bracelet to support you on your own journey of growing your family or just learning more about your body, in general, you can use code KRISTA20 to receive $20 off of your first purchase at avawomen.com. Seriously friends, I cannot say enough good things about this device, and its impact on so many women and their families.

PIN IT FOR LATER

How to Prepare your Body for Baby #2

kristahapp

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About Me

About Me

Hi, I'm Mrs. Happ! I love Jesus, Mr. Happ and being a mama to our little man. I live off of a steady stream of bone broth, kombucha, Spanglish & top knots. And when I'm not busy chasing a toddler, I love me a good creative endeavor. Welcome to our "HAPPy Healthy Casa". I'm so glad your here. Read More

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  • I know this picture appears to contradict probably every rule you’ve ever heard about kids in the kitchen, but I’m going to throw it out there anyway, because this is a typical scene these days in our home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Asher has been by my side in the kitchen since the day he was born, and as soon as he was able to start assisting, he was all in. Not only does he love “cooking” things for us on the daily in his play kitchen, but he also loves to toss in ingredients, mix up doughs and even cut veggies 🍅 with his kid safe knives 🔪 in the real one. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
One thing he’s been asking about a lot lately is helping to stir and flip items on the stovetop 🍳. At first I was hesitant, I’ll admit, but the more I thought about it, the more I recognized that with supervision this could be a wonderful learning opportunity for him. We have taught him safety around the stove from day one, and it’s one thing that he’s always been cautious with, even reminding us at times to “grab our oven mits” as it could be “hot”. So instead of stifling his desire to try something new, I knew that with the right parameters this could be a unique opportunity for him to continue to learn about stove safety as well. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In the past few weeks we’ve been learning where to set the spoon so it doesn’t fall out of the pan, how far back we need to hold it to not get too close, how to get the spatula under the egg to flip it and even how important it is to stand back if our oil is starting to bubble. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Do I still get a twinge of anxiety every time he’s at the stovetop? Yes. But I often do anytime he tries something new. And I not only find comfort in knowing I am 100% there for him if he needs, but also joy in the knowledge that I am 100% supporting his passions at the moment as well. .
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  • #ad Picnicking in the summertime is our jam. Whether we are just rolling out a blanket in our front yard or settling in at the park’s picnic table, we try to eat a meal outdoors at least once everyday. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
That said, this summer I’ve been working hard to be more conscious of our picnic waste habits - essentially doing my best to try and eliminate the waste all together. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The following are a few small changes we’ve made, that overtime make a big impact: 
1. Swap plastic sandwich bags for reusable ones or beeswax wraps. 
2. Switch out disposable or plastic Tupperware with high quality glass or stainless steel options. 
3. Eliminate the need for disposable plates, cups and cutlery by packing them from home or by getting a travel set. 
4. Ditch the plastic straws for reusable glass or stainless steel ones. 
5. Swap the paper or plastic sacks with a reusable picnic tote. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Yes, many of these options cost a little more up front, but I promise you over time they will pay off for both your family and our planet. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Special thanks to @masonjarsmakerplace for our new Sustainability Kit to help our family continue to improve upon our earth friendly “picnicking” practices as well. Equipped with glass jars, reusable wraps, a lunch tote and more, it’s a great way to get started. 
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  • We spent the weekend visiting family and friends in Illinois. This morning as I was working to pack all of our things, Asher asked if “Gram” (my grandmother) could come over to play. We called her, and she, of course, said yes and was there in a matter of minutes. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The way these two light up when they are around one another is really like no other. It’s like they completely understand one another like no one else does. They laugh, they chat, they engage and they use their imaginations in a way that I feel like I’ve somehow lost track of over time myself. They spent over two hours this morning designing vacuums with random parts, playing choo choo train around various rooms of the house and even fishing off of our front porch. I barely heard a peep from Asher the entire time, and if it wasn’t for me bringing it to him, I think he would have forgotten about snack time entirely (which is completely unheard of when I’m in charge). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
My mom used to take my sister and to my grandmother’s house every Saturday growing up. Now as a mom myself, I see what a huge blessing that was for all involved. My mom got the time she needed to get things accomplished, while we got to play with the coolest adult we knew. We’d craft, bake cookies, put on concerts and plays, go on scavenger hunts, you name it, she was ready for it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Words can’t begin to express the emotions I feel sometimes when I see her and Asher together. Not only does it bring me back to my childhood, but I feel immense gratitude that he has this opportunity to experience just what an incredible soul Gram is. She taught me so much as a child, and watching her engage with my own child so effortlessly continues to build me up as a human today. .
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  • I shared this image of Asher and I last year the day our family attended the Twin Cities Pride Festival. The festival is taking place again in our home cities this weekend, and I have to admit, I was bummed when I realized we wouldn’t be able to attend due to other plans already in place. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
That said, I also know that while we would have loved to have attended to show our support this weekend, the meaning behind the celebration goes beyond a festival or even the month of June. It is something we can and should demonstrate through our words and actions each day. And as parents raising the future generation, we’ve got a unique and important opportunity standing right in front of us to have a lasting impact. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The following are some things that we seek to do in our home to hopefully do just that:
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1. Learn and use inclusive language and vocabulary. 
2. Normalize all people and family structures. Ie. We read books, highlight images, play with quality toys like @myfamilybuilders and embrace surrounding ourselves with individuals that define “family” in different ways. 
3. Avoid using language that expresses heterosexuality as a “given” or that reinforces gender stereotypes. I try to avoid using statements that make an assumption of “all”. Ie. “Boys” are messy or “Families” have a mom and dad. 
4. Become more aware of my own biases and how they are coming across to Asher and others. I ask myself how am I seeing my own words and actions reflected in him?
5. Encourage his questions. I don’t shy away from them or shush them. If they are asking, it’s because kids are genuinely curious, and not talking about it makes it feel like it’s “not” okay. If I don’t know the answer, I seek it out and let him know I will get back to him or that we can find it together. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Are these things that I get right everyday in our home? Not always. But I do believe it’s my responsibility as a human and parent to keep striving to improve. To be and do better each day. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I’ve linked some of my favorite resources for talking to kids about LQBTQIA+ topics in my stories today. Please share others you love with me, and I would love to share them too.

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