Dear Baby Number Two,

Let’s get this out of the way: I really love you.

Just because you’re my second child doesn’t mean my feelings are in any way diminished.

And I’m doing a lot of the things the same way as when I was pregnant with your big brother. Tracking your growth via fruits and vegetables on an iPhone app, for example. I also gave up coffee (and once you know me, you’ll know how hard that was), unpasteurized cheeses, and deli meat. Rest assured, your mom is watching out for you.

But I am also failing you in so many ways.

The last time I was pregnant was also the first time I’d ever been pregnant and I attacked the process head on. Twelve-week-long birth classes, dozens of attachment parenting books, babywearing and holistic parenting seminars – I was on fire.

I believed that knowledge and stubborn effort were the best ways to guarantee success in my labor, delivery, and the subsequent health of my baby. And it all went pretty well. You brother was born relatively easily and is a healthy, happy three-year-old now. So being such “pros” your Dad and I decided to do it all again with you. And, well, things are slightly different this time around.

The first thing I dropped was the prenatal yoga. Last time, I vigilantly went to class every week to become a relaxed and kink-free mama vessel, bonding with other slowly swelling women over the course of six months. I remember siting in tailor pose amongst all those pregnant bodies, one hand on my heart and one on my belly, breathing and connecting with the tiny life inside of me. It was truly transcendental stuff.

This time around we can’t afford prenatal yoga classes. All that extra money is going towards your brother’s private nursery school co-op, not to mention our new car payment due to a larger family vehicle (it’s a Passat! You’ll love it!) and paying off a bad warranty on our last car purchased in 2011. Yes, the wheels were put in motion for failing you even before your big brother was conceived in 2012.

Sure, I occasionally manage to roll out the ol’ yoga mat and do some stretches, but your brother always jumps on me when I do. He thinks it’s especially funny to lay on my back during child’s pose claiming he’s “a lizard on a rock” – and he’s right; it’s really funny. But our yoga wrestling makes it hard for me to connect with the child in utero while shielding against attacks from above.

Along with the prenatal yoga goes the prenatal massage and prenatal acupuncture that I so believed in the last time around. Again, you’re probably thinking, “Mom, wasn’t that stuff for YOU?” but I assure you it was for US. Your brother and me, I mean.

I can’t afford to do that with you. Although, I can get your dad to make a fist and rub my lower back once in a while when he’s not busy taking care of your brother or making dinner. It doesn’t feel good exactly, but it’s something.

Then there’s the body pillow. This is a C-shaped pillow made for pregnant women to sleep in the best possible position (on their side) for both their own comfort and the comfort of the baby within. I’ve read that the body placement supported by the pillow is crucial for achieving the optimal birthing position of head down, feet up. 

Well, your brother took the pillow. He likes to wrap it around himself and call it a nest. I tried to take it back but it’s hard to get him to sleep as it is, so I just let him keep it. Sure, I’m uncomfortable at night but at least you finally stopped being breech at 30 weeks! That’s all you, girl.

It certainly wasn’t a result of the 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day recommended for moms-to-be, because I’m not doing that. I don’t have time between working 40 hours a week and then taking care of your brother while your Dad makes me dinner. I swear I’ll make it up to you! Not sure how, but I will!

How would you like a nice, natural birth for example? Your dad and I were so great about prepping for your brother’s birth. We practiced contractions and relaxation exercises almost every night, studied the labor process from the medical angle, and hired a doula to help out with the birth. We aren’t doing any of that this time. Shit. Failed you again.

Look, I’m doing a lot of things right by you. Did I mention giving up coffee? And the soft cheeses and deli meats? Okay, okay, okay…I’ve eaten a little deli meat. But I microwaved it first! And one time I accidentally drank a milkshake made with soft serve without thinking. And yes, that week I was on Cape Cod I ate fish a lot more than recommended because of mercury levels – but other then that I’ve been a saint! Or at the very least a good mother!

Being the second child has got to be hard. I get that. You’re faced with hand-me-downs, split attention, and possibly getting bitten out of jealousy (so I’ve heard). But there are some benefits, too. A confident mother who has an inkling of knowledge about newborns, for example. Isn’t competence worth a few yoga classes and slices of ham? You also are getting a pretty great older brother. He may be a pillow thief but he’s also funny, sweet, cuddly, clever, and very, very excited to meet you. Your dad is pretty great too (did I mention he makes dinner every night?)

And between you and me, because you will be my second and last child, you’ll always be my baby. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I’m not sure – but I’m pretty sure that’s not a fail.