Q: I have a 7- month-old and just found out I'm pregnant again. It's a total surprise -- how do I handle this news?
A: An unexpected pregnancy is big news. It's normal to feel surprised -- and even a little disappointed -- if this isn't exactly what you had planned. Allow yourself to feel whatever feelings you're having, without judging or feeling guilty. That's the best way to deal with the negative feelings -- which will eventually allow the positive feelings to emerge. It's actually a good analogy for parenting. We can't predict (or control) much of what happens -- we simply need to roll with the changes, and do our best. Try to feel grateful for the good things, and get help and support to deal with the tougher things. Don't hesitate to ask early -- and often -- for extra help, as you take care of a baby AND yourself. After the baby's born, you'll need extra help in caring for both your toddler and new baby. Put a priority on getting a good block of uninterrupted sleep at least a couple of nights each week as you go through this challenging time. Rest assured that there's no "perfect" baby spacing between siblings. There are pros and cons with sibs who are close in age, and for those who are farther apart. You also may be wondering if you can ever love a new baby the way you love your first. You can -- and you will. I can't explain how it happens, but it does. It's one of the miraculous feats of parenthood. You'll be busy, but you'll have enough love to go around. Luckily, you have nine months to adjust to the idea of a new baby coming home. If you take care of yourself, you can settle in to enjoy this very exciting time!
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