For­get your fears with sec­ond baby

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE - WITH JOUR­NAL­IST BET­TINA WAR­BUR­TON

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.

Love

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?

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