When my oldest child was a baby, I ached for another child. Given my husband and I’s complications with conceiving our first, I knew I wanted to try sooner rather than later. I joked with many people “I want to get pregnant with a second before my baby is mobile so I don’t back out and only have one child.” In hindsight, I may have at the least delayed having another child since our son was a VERY active one-year-old, however, our IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) worked on the first round with our second baby and we were committed. While we knew having another baby was a blessing we could not deny the feeling of being overwhelmed… Grateful and overwhelmed all at the same time.
As my son grew into his 1’s, so did my belly. Pregnancy with my second, seemed to give me all the worst pregnancy symptoms I never had with my son. It may have been chasing after a toddler all day long but every symptom seemed intensified. The entire time I was pregnant, I kept reminding myself that this was the easy part. Once the baby was here, I was really in for the hard times. I could not squash the fear of, “How in the world was I going to manage my oldest and a newborn”. I had vivid memories of being up with my newborn, sleep-deprived, and loathing that newborn phase. I remembered the tears, challenges, and hour-long nursing sessions. No matter how hard I tried, I could not grasp my head around giving my attention to both a baby and a toddler, all the time. Not to mention doubting, how I could possibly love another tiny human as much as I loved my son.
The months grew closer and before we knew it, I had delivered a beautiful baby girl and both my husband and I fell in love all over again with our second child.
When we came home, the first week was tiring but manageable. My husband was home with us and I managed day by day, little by little. I learned each day, like I did with my last, but this time around I knew so much more about being a mom to a newborn. The newborn phase was not the same as I had remembered. I excelled at going to the doctor’s office with just her since it was tremendously easier than going with my toddler. I mastered swaddles, nursing, latching, burping, diaper changes, what pacifiers to use, and how to get the most sleep at night. I did not anticipate how confident I would feel going into motherhood, a second time.
I also seemed to enjoy each moment with my newborn, in a way that I did not with my oldest. Because I knew more, the phases didn’t seem as harsh because I knew the season was temporary. In fact, I even enjoyed (most nights) waking up for those late-night feeding sessions because I knew it is only temporary.
However, the three of us had become the four of us and I needed to come to terms with that reality.
I hit a peak of hardship, about a month into being a family of four. It was during back to back newborn nursing growth spurts and planning my son’s 2nd birthday. My crazy eyes moment peaked when I was about to make my husband coffee for the morning, when I realized both kids were already up, I was exhausted and all I wanted was MY COFFEE and a shower. My husband asking what was wrong stated it so simply, “ok go get a shower”. Wiping tears from my face because my hormones were on another level, it all clicked that I needed to start re-prioritizing.
I was NOT managing my expectations at all. I was still trying to operate as a family of three, not as a family of four.
I was just a few weeks postpartum and I was still trying to throw my son a party like I did for his first birthday, with countless Pinterest ideas and all homemade recipes. I then realized that my needs along with my sons and new daughter were NOT going to come before looking good to family and friends or even a cute picture on Instagram or Facebook for a birthday that was still a week away. I decided to pick up food from Margarita’s Restaurant (which actually ended up being more cost-effective than I anticipated) and ordering a few decorations online…and guess what? The party was just as great. In fact, it was better because I was not stressed.
I started realizing that I needed to manage my priorities and expectations in other areas of my life, as well, while juggling these two tiny humans.
I needed to let my husband make his own coffee and worry about how he was going to feed himself daily. I needed to cancel outings, people visiting the baby unless they were there to help. I sometimes had to wait countless hours to text or call someone back. I had to ask for help from my husband and family. I had to let go of what my son ate every second. I had to let go of my obsession with no screen time. I had to be ok with my newborn not taking a bath every night with lavender essential oils (like I did with my son), I sometimes had to let my newborn cry for 5 minutes while I peed and changed my son’s diaper. I had to let people see my boob because quite frankly I don’t know where the cover is and if it offends you that much, maybe ask if I need help, instead of judging. I had to let others’ opinions of myself and my kids go during this season because yes, when we did venture out, we looked disheveled. That’s because quite frankly, I was disheveled and that is NORMAL.
My whole being was adjusting to caring for not 1 but 2 tiny humans.
Most important of all, I had to let go of the expectation of the mother I thought I would be too a mom of two babies and accept the reality of being a mom to two babies. Which I have come to realize is not having everything all together, all at once.
Best of luck to all new Mommas of two, you are not alone and it does get easier!
For tips on car rides with two little ones, be sure to check out How To Road Trip with Your Toddler and Not Lose Your Mind