The Unexpected Child

What If You Never Imagined You'd Get Pregnant So Quickly?

Conceiving can take a long time. For women under the age of 35 who are ovulating regularly, the possibility of getting pregnant during each menstrual cycle can be as low as 15 percent. Armed with this knowledge, some moms decide to try for another child sooner rather than later. But this approach has its flaws. "There's no way to predict how likely a woman is to conceive in a certain period of time," says Dr. Ashton. "Each cycle and each pregnancy may be very different." When you get pregnant seemingly overnight, excitement can turn to anxiety (Can I handle this now?).

Cheri Lima, of Salt Lake City, was shocked when she learned she was pregnant only six months after giving birth to her daughter, Kaitlyn. "I actually took seven pregnancy tests because I couldn't believe it was real," she says. "It took me nearly six years to get pregnant with Kaitlyn, so we didn't think it would happen again so easily. I was worried because I wasn't even fully recovered, and I kept thinking, 'How am I going to give my attention to a new baby?'"

It's a question a lot of expectant moms ask themselves. "I don't know that there is any woman who, if she's being completely honest with herself, hasn't had mixed feelings about her pregnancy," says Louden. "Mothers understand that having a baby will change their life and that parenting is the hardest, most relentless thing you do. And you've signed on for the rest of your life. It's a wonderful, yet immense, responsibility."

Lima adjusted to the news with plenty of support from her family and friends. "Talk to the people close to you, and let them know how they can help," says Dr. Melina. Be specific: If you're exhausted, ask a friend to take your older child to the park for a while, or see whether a family member can stop by with dinner so you don't have to cook.

When you do get little breaks, take the time to focus on your emotions, even the negative ones. Starting a journal can help you work through the feelings you'd rather deny -- or aren't ready to admit to anyone.

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