Friday, March 22, 2013

Second Time Mom: How It's Different This Time

The pregnancy flew by.
I didn't sit on the computer reading and researching every scrap of information about babies and pregnancy.
I did wear a lot more ponytails.
The birth was 100x more painful.
I was afraid I couldn't possibly love another child as much as my first...
...And I didn't.

Well, not quite in the same way.

    We brought her home in a cute little outfit I'd set aside weeks earlier. Her bed was ready. The closet split in half for the two girls. Our stash of new cloth diapers was sitting eagerly in a basket by the changing table... I was super huge and having contractions that took my breath away for weeks. 

By all accounts, we were ready.

    Fortunately, my husband was able to take 2 weeks off when Amelia was born, so I had the best kind of help for those crucial first days. I didn't feel as tired as after the first delivery, but I'm not sure I allowed myself to feel tired...Tired meant I was slowing down. I felt... rushed. Like all aspects of life under our roof was dependent on me - dishes, cooking, tidying, entertaining Maya (toddler), arranging social calls and well-wishers, nursing (obviously), changing diapers, refreshing our knowledge of newborn baby care... Not that hubs didn't help - he was really great! I just felt like it wouldn't get done if I didn't make it happen.

And here's where the biggest difference was:

With kid #1, I remember several times laying cuddled on the couch with my newborn in my arms, stroking her head and tearing up - thinking how unbelievably beautiful and perfect she was.

With kid #2, I didn't have time for that. Yeah, yeah she's cute and wonderful and all that, but I've got stuff to do, and I'm not pulling my weight if I don't do it!

I had to force myself to be okay with slowing down - in order to experience that same head-stroking bonding time with my new baby. 
I had to force myself to have alone time with the baby. I felt like, 'She's just a newborn she won't even remember this time.' But my busy brain forgot that she's developing all sorts of connections and associations in her precious little mind, that will stick with her for the rest of her life. I had to remind myself that she needs alone time with me, just as my toddler does to feel special and loved and safe.

After baby #2, yes my life is more  
chaotic (nursing while helplessly watching the toddler across the room pouring cereal on the kitchen floor...) and 
                stressful (4ft of projectile poop spread over the couch and laptop) and 
exhausting (they just don't sleep at the same times!)
but that's such a tiny [insignificant] part of it.  

Watching Maya learn and grow these past two years makes all that stuff just fade away. She's bold, smart, and joyful, it makes me so eager to see who she's going to become. That potential is what's so wonderful about babies in the first place.  

It took a couple weeks, but I finally allowed myself to pause and imagine our life with Amelia and remind myself that she's not just a newborn baby - she's my new daughter! I finally felt love for my new baby just as much as my first, and I know it only gets better from here. 

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