Having a baby is a big deal, whether it be the first time, the last or whatever number in between. Deciding to turn your entire world upside down when expanding the family is one of the most selfless things a person can do, since raising a baby is not something that stops once they start walking. It’s a forever decision to be a parent and not one to be taken lightly. This is no different when becoming a second time mother.
Going back a second time is daunting in a whole new way. I will admit for most of my pregnancy this time around, I have had the mindset that ‘It’s okay… I’ve done this before’. Even pregnancy wellness check ups have been a bit that way. Not just from my perspective, but health care providers too. It’s that expectation that once a parent, twice a pro.
But is it really that simple becoming a second time mother?
As I am here on the cusp of what could be pre-labour, a lot of thoughts have run through my mind. Sure there has been that little bit of anxiety at the thought of giving birth again. While my first pregnancy and birth were relatively straight forward, it was extremely long and exhausting and my recovery was not so great for the first month. So yep, I’m actually dreading birth second time around because I now know how much it hurts. I hope all the statistics that it gets shorter and easier are true because the thought of another 24 hours of pain does not appeal.
And then there is the fact that we spent our first parenting experience in a false sense of security with a child that barely caused us any major parenting challenges. At 2.5 our daughter has always been a good sleeper, even if that means she is a night owl. She went down late but slept late too so broken sleep wasn’t much of a thing. She never got sick until she was past 1 and even then we can count all her illnesses on one hand and they have all lasted less than 24 hours each. She barely cried. She was an easy teether and just a happy kid right from the start.
We can’t be that lucky again!
So there is concern that this next baby will be far more challenging and everything our first was not. But that’s okay, because that’s part of being a parent. We can thank our lucky stars for an easy first time. Otherwise maybe we would have stopped at one…
Then there’s the guilt. While I know I will love my second baby just as much as my first, I feel guilty for my daughter that she will no longer have my complete undivided attention as she has had for the past 2.5 years. In that time I have been at home more than not, with her for every major milestone. She is very much mum’s girl and I feel devastated that I won’t able to hug her as often or share quite so many of our special mother-daughter moments.
These moments between us will still be there, but sometimes they will be interrupted to attend to her new sister. She will need to learn how to share my attention and my arms, which is tough at that age. So yes, it’s crazy but I feel guilty on her behalf and for the things I won’t be able to give her as much of.
[Tweet “With parenting, it is truly possible to multiply by dividing – John Medina”]
Then there is the fear. I rarely stress but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. The first month will be okay with hubby home, but then he goes back to work. On night shift. Suddenly I’m not just juggling my needs and a baby’s, but a toddler as well. That’s 3 people to sort for meals every day instead of just fitting mine in around breastfeeding like I did the first time. Plus the thought of a toddler not wanting to go to bed while I have a crying baby who also refuses bed. I can only hold one at a time. These moments scare me.
There is sadness too. Growing a baby inside is magical. Nothing compares to feeling those movements from inside, whether they be little rolls, bouncing hiccups or even those painful big jabs. Despite the joy of holding my first daughter in my arms, I missed feeling her move from within.
But despite all of those emotions that are suddenly rolling around inside of me, making me want to cry and smile all at once, I remember that love at first sight when I first held my daughter. I remember the amazement of making such a perfect little person and watching her grow and develop before our eyes. I remember the milestones and how every single week something new seemed to be happening, and the joy that came with experiencing it.
So there is of course excitement at becoming a second time mother too. And I wouldn’t change it even if I could, regardless of what may be ahead of us in the next few weeks, months or years.