On Monday, I shared some thoughts on the last two months of this pregnancy and some of my “goals” for fun and rest before the baby arrives. But, today, I’m talking a bit more about my heart, my fears, and how I’m recognizing that – no matter how hard I try – I’ll still never really be prepared…
A few weeks ago, I ran into a friend who’s wife has just recently had their second baby. When I casually asked, “So, how’s life with two?,” his face did this thing that I’m beginning to recognize from all of my friends with new babies (especially second ones)… It said, without any words, “It’s wonderful, but it’s really really hard.” He looked tired.
And just like that – it hit me. Sure, I’m decently organized, and I have all the “stuff,” I need for a new baby (which, I know now is a LOT less than I thought it was when Sam was born); but, truth be told, I’m not the least bit prepared for having a newborn again.
The first few months with Sam were HARD. I was probably overly prepared when it came to reading all the books, taking classes (we took, like, a million), setting up neatly organized little changing/nursing stations all around the house, etc. etc., but none of it made a lick of difference. Sam was colicky (which, I’ve come to accept is just a semi-medical term for a baby that cries a lot for no real reason), he wasn’t remotely interested in my schedule or plans, and – probably more than anything – I really mourned the loss of the mom I thought I would be… I’d always felt like I was “made to be a mom,” but when the opportunity sat in my arms in the form of a screaming infant, I felt like I had been painfully wrong. I wondered if I would ever understand this baby and know how to meet his needs, I feared that he really didn’t even like me very much, and I grieved my “old life” when I had control over my own schedule, knew what was expected of me every day, and could sleep for ten hours if I was tired. I was scared that I had gotten myself into something I, actually, wasn’t very good at at all, and there was no turning back now. I missed quiet nights with just my husband, “to do lists” that could actually be completed, and – the very most – I missed the “motherhood” I had prepared myself for in my head during those nine months when Sam was baking…
Thankfully, it got better… It was hard, and long, and broke me in a way I had never experienced before; but, I learned to rely on God and to surrender to the fact that, though I wasn’t the “perfect mom” I’d imagined – I was the perfect mom for Sam. One of my favorite bloggers recently described bonding with her (colicky) firstborn as bonding “like war buddies.” YES.
Part of that hard transition was why we waited three years to start trying for a second baby even though we always knew our family wasn’t complete with just one… In the last year or so, life has gotten back into a familiar rhythm. Sure, it’s very different from the life we knew pre-baby; but, it is a little less frantic these days. Sam’s schedule is predictable but adaptable. We don’t have to take seven million bags with us every time we leave the house. He eats what we eat. He will watch a whole movie by himself if I desperately need 90 minutes. You know.
And, now, here we are again… Jeff and I keep telling each other, “it will be hard,” but I think in the back of our minds we’re really thinking – “It can’t be as hard as the first time.” It can’t be. We’re due an easy little angel baby, right?
So, the truth is, I’m not prepared.
Thankfully, though, these last four years have taught me that motherhood really isn’t very much about being prepared at all. I imagine that the first few weeks with our girl will be, like before, a lot about survival. They will be exhausting and emotional, and I’ll probably question if I had any business having another baby. BUT, the difference this time will be that I will know that THEY PASS. I will look at my three-and-a-half year old (the one telling knock knock jokes, asking for cuddles, having dance parties in the living room, and holding my hand while he eats his dinner) and remember that it does get easier. But, more importantly, that every single bit of adjustment and sacrifice and hard work is WORTH IT. It is worth it a million times over.
I know that now. I didn’t know it in 2011, but Sam has taught me that being a mother – though completely life/identity changing – is the BEST thing I’ve ever worked for.
So, I guess really, I am kind-of prepared.
Good post. My 2nd will be 1 month tomorrow. It is hard… but I think you nailed it when you said you know it will get easier. I have found the 2nd time around to be far less stressful simply because I am less uptight as a mom. Good luck! You got this! I am just curious though, will you have Sam home with you all day while on maternity leave?
MIne are now just 4 and just 2……I’m mourning having a little baby at home. Just the other day, I thought to myself “I remember being pregnant with Braden and wondering how in the world I was going to do this….work, be a mom to 2 kids under 2, be a wife, still feel human, ect” Yet just like that, its over already….I don’t know how we did it, but we did it. In the past 2 years, there are only a handful of times that I can recall that I thought to myself, “Ughh, this is hard!” We just did life. And we Made it. And now its easier. And kind of over.
I will say, and not to sound cliche, but I learned to laugh alot! I remember a vacation we took to Rhode Island. We drove and the baby got carsick. Vomit everywhere and my daughter was in the middle of a major meltdown….freaking out toddler! We couldn’t pull over for probably twenty minutes due to being in rush hour traffic on the Tappan Zee Bridge and I thought to myself…..If I don’t laugh right now and find humor in all this, I’m going to cry and my husband is going to lose it! So I did, I just looked back at my poor son covered in vomit and my daughter who was losing her mind over goldfish and the wrong DVD and just laughed. We were making memories. We had a story to tell as part of our little weekend getaway. Next rest stop, we safely pulled over…….changed clothes, sacrificed my husbands sweatshirt to cover the carseat and bought like 5 “New Car Scented” air fresheners (they worse worse than the vomit)!!!!! Ended up being a super fun weekend and the car ride home, we only allowed water in the bottle….lesson learned!
From my experience, having two wasn’t hard until the second one started moving around and getting into things! 😉
I understand completely! My first was super duper ooper colicky. My second was much easier, and not colicky. You also learn with your second (as you have already said) that you don’t need as much “stuff”. Just be there for your new sweet little girl and for Mr. Big Boy Sam — that’s what they need most is you and Jeff. Now I have a 3rd, and we just won’t discuss that right now, ha! Two girls and then a boy. Two babies, now three. Two was a breeze compared to three. But every bit of colic, crying, fussing, weight, it is all worth it! You will be just fine!
Nikki Miller says
Great post E! And you know what… you are PREPARED! You know to trust God and yourself. You know how to sweat the small stuff. You are PREPARED for this this girl no matter what happens. No amount of reading, or organizing, or cleaning, or to do listing gets you ready, it just is what it is.
Looking back the first couple of months (year ???) were really really tough. Our girls are 21 months apart and when I brought home Keira, Sofie was still a baby herself. The hardest part for me was taking TWO babies anywhere by myself seemed like climbing MT. Everest and I was exhausted before I even got there. (AMEN to moms of multiples, seriously, I dont know how they do it).
Here is thing…
– Laugh LOTS
– Ask for help
– Be kind and patient with yourself
It is SO Much fun watching your two babies LOVE each other, I can’t even describe the emotion…it is just the BEST!
God Speed E… you guys are READY!
Anna N. says
I felt a lot like you did with my first (who is now 7). He cried all the time – he had constant ear infections and terrible acid reflux. And on top of that, he was (and still is) a terrible sleeper. The first year of his life was truly one of the hardest (and happiest) years of my life.
My second (who is 3) was so much easier in comparison. I was already in “mommy mode”, so it just made every moment so much less stressful. You feel like you are not prepared, but believe me, you are way more prepared then you realize. Will it be tough? Yes, but you will get back into the baby groove faster then you know. Good luck!
My boys are 14 months apart, but here are the things I noticed the second time around:
1. You are less nervous because, hey! you’ve already done this once. You *kinda* know what you’re doing. Not nearly as nerve frazzling as last time!
2. The first one is *kinda* on a schedule. The baby will likely fall into one of her own. And when that happens? Easy peasy. Busy. But easy.
3. The second baby was more laid back. Maybe it was because I was more laid back. Who knows?
Hang in there, Momma. It’s going to be awesome!
(and in the name of encouragement, I’ve broken all my rules about using exclamation marks. LOL.)
Yolo Momma says
“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken”
Every kid is always a new learning curve, as you learn to split your attention on both and split second prioritize the most immediate need and what/who can wait.
We thought our daughter was stubborn…..and then our son came and took it to a whole new level, lol.
My first had a touch of colic (or maybe full-blown colic…I don’t really know) and it was SO HARD. My girls are 23 months apart and the baby is 11 weeks and she is EASY. It’s night and day from the first baby. I think part of it is that I know what I’m doing now, but a large part of it is also the baby’s personality–she’s just super easy going and happy ALL THE TIME. It’s actually been a pretty easy transition for us. Use the support systems you have (family, friends) and let them help as much as possible. You’ve got this!
Amanda K. says
i ALWAYS tell people, having two kids is harder than having one, but having your second is easier than having your first.
EVERYTHING is easier, mostly because there isn’t nearly as much whiplash. i consider both my kids “hard” (mostly bc they NEVER SLEEP!) but you know they’ll grow out of it. there’s a light at the end of the teething/nursing/sleeplessness/etc. tunnel. (i have a friend who works and she said the same thing about nursing and working — that it was SO MUCH easier bc she’d already figured it out once.)
i remember when david was a baby someone told me, “EVERYTHING is just a phase.” and it was just such a lightbulb moment for me. no one had to tell me that when mary virginia was around. that also helped me enjoy her baby-ness more instead of wishing it away.
you’re gonna do great.