Stephanie Powell is a mom of two little girls who are the same ages at my daughters and her story to me, represents, the wide range that an unplanned pregnancy can have. Stephanie’s story is a little different than mine, in that she is an atheist and considered adoption when she and her husband discovered they were pregnant. Follow Stephanie on her blog, Life, Unexpectedly. (Love the title!) Also, may I just say I’m digging her “25 goals before 30” list? You know much I love setting goals…
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Stephanie. I am a 29-year old mom of two little girls, five and three years old. We are an Atheist family and moved to my native Germany after living in the US for four years when V. was only six weeks old. I am a financial accountant by day and writer by night, but I’m always a full-time mom.
What was your reaction to finding out you were pregnant?
Shock. I had a feeling every once in a while but didn’t really believe in it. I already had a little girl and did not have any pregnancy symptoms as during my first pregnancy.
Husband’s, actually. We’ve been married for over three years at the time. He was awesome. While my mind was just racing, telling myself that this couldn’t be true, that there HAD to be a mistake, he took me in his arms and told me he loved us.
Did you consider adoption or abortion? What made you decide against it?
I honestly did consider adoption. A very good family friend’s cousin was seeking to adopt at the time with little chances to get a child anytime soon. I thought for a while what if I was not carrying our baby but hers. I am a very meticulous planner and had a very hard time accepting that I had gotten pregnant unplanned. I never considered adoption. We would never be able to kill our own child.
“I am a very meticulous planner and had a very hard time accepting that I had gotten pregnant unplanned.”
How did you tell your parents? What was their reaction?
That was a weird experience, too. Everyone assumed that we had planned this pregnancy. L. was 17 months old at the time I got pregnant with V. Everyone was happy for us while I was struggling.
How did you prepare emotionally for your baby to arrive? That was actually very hard. After our first ultrasound, I knew that this little one was ours. To this day, my husband does not know that I have ever considered adoption. But I still had appointments at my midwife where I was crying like a baby, not knowing if I could be a good mother to her, if I could love like I love L. But as time went by, as my tummy grew and I felt my little one making me very aware of her presence, it began to feel more natural. I became more assured that we would make our way as a family of four.
How about physically? What baby gear do you recommend for new moms? Any helpful resources (like favorite websites, blog, or online stuff for moms?)
We still had all of Lily’s baby gear. The staples every mom absolutely need is a good car seat, a few outfits, plenty of onesies, socks, and blankets. Beyond that, much is personal preference. I highly recommend to get as much information as possible on different options such as co-sleeping vs. own crib for baby (I couldn’t co-sleep, I was just way to nervous), stroller or baby carrier, or both, feeding options, diapering options, etc.
Did you use government aid, like Medicaid or WIC? No. Even though we probably would have qualified, we chose not to as we were able to make ends meet without it and didn’t feel comfortable using up funds that others might need more urgently than we did.
Did you bond with your baby during your pregnancy?
Yes. I loved to feel her kicking and punching. I loved to feel her turning around, learn about her sleep schedule and just having the experience of pregnancy again.
Do you have any thoughts on breastfeeding v. bottle feeding?
I love breastfeeding. Formula was never an option for me since I produced enough milk. I nursed my daughters 15 and 22 months, respectively and was sad each time they weaned themselves. But if you cannot nurse, that is ok, too. It’s better to be relaxed and feed formula than trying desperately to nurse and being frustrated with yourself and having an ever-hungry baby.
Any advice for other moms?
Do what feels right. There is tons of material out there on everything, and a lot of mothers will give you their advice, but each baby is different and different things will work for them. Don’t try to force something, just listen to your instincts and your baby’s cues and you’ll be fine.
“Do what feels right.”
Thoughts on working or staying home?
Again, whatever feels right for you. I’m not a SAHM-type. In a perfect world I’d work part-time, but as nothing is perfect I work a full-time job and try to enjoy the time with the girls as much as possible in the evenings and on weekends.
What surprised you the most about giving birth?
That it is REALLY hard work. I had an unmedicated birth the second time around, and it was HARD. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but I sure know now why it’s called labor.
Describe what being a mom means to you:
Being a mom is the world to me. I have never known this kind of love before I had kids. I would do everything to keep them safe and make sure they are happy.
“I have never known this kind of love before I had kids.”
How do keep yourself sane as a mom?
Chocolate and a glass of wine in the evenings.
Ok, so we have more in common than I thought…;)