Forget your fears with second baby
THERE’S little argument that having a baby is magnificent and lifechanging.
When I first laid eyes on my firstborn I was hit with a profound love. My baby was perfect … except for the fact that she had her days and nights mixed up and had her firsttime mother tired, emotional and overwhelmed with her 24/ 7 care.
It dawned on me when my first child, now aged seven and a great sleeper, was only three days old that my life would never be the same.
No more spontaneous weekend getaways with my husband. No more impromptu nights out with friends. No more sleep and no more curling up on a Sunday with my favourite book.
But enough about first- time motherhood, miraculous as it is.
How does having a second child change your life? Any advice on what a first time parent can expect after they become a parent of two?
These were the questions a friend, pregnant with her second child, asked me the other week.
She looked at me with determined eyes.
My pregnant friend wanted answers and in her pregnant hormonal state decided I was the one her what she wanted
I told her that one baby is a charmer at the coffee shop but a newborn and a todller make you never want to meet a friend at a coffee shop ever again.
She was not satisfied with my brief answer so I had to elaborate. Here’s how I did it.
No time to sleep
With the arrival of my second ‘ sleep when the baby my firm rule sleep when the baby sleeps’ was use less. With a one year- old in addition to a newborn, I was up all day with one child and up o all night with the other. Somehow there was no time for me to sleep. But with my body got used to catching only small pockets of sleep although I did become rather forget-
ful, and a little short- tempered with my husband, as a result.
Lowering my expectations
I always considered the first six months after a baby is born to be a wild- zone. It’s when the dishes are not always done and the laundry piles up and the floor is not always as clean as I’d like it. After I had my second baby, I gave myself time to enjoy her and allow her routine to settle in. I felt it was important to give myself the space to get used to being a mother of two rather than have an immaculately clean house.
Tears will happen
A big worry when I became a second- time parent was that I wouldn’t know what to do when newborn and toddler needed me at the same time. The reality is, as I was getting the hang of being a mother to a toddler and a newborn, there were some tears. I found that being kind to myself as journeyed through that difficult parenting phase helped. It did get easier after my second baby was six months old.
Hard- won parenting experience
One wonderful thing I discovered after my second baby arrived, exactly 12 months and 12 days after my first baby, is that I had less fear. With a first child, I worried about everything. With my second child I had a good idea what to expect and was a more relaxed mother. With the extinction of first baby anxiety, I was free to gaze at my second baby in wonder rather than stare at her rising and falling chest and fret if the contents of her nappy was greenish.
Yes, it’s a tad cliched to say your heart grows with every child, but it does. When I had my first child I naively believed I couldn’t love anything more than her. But when I had my second baby I was again hit with that amazing feeling of unconditional love.
How about you? What would you say to a parent of one who’s about to expand their family?