Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sorrow followed by joy

I've taken up the challenge to share some things I've learned about having a second child. I'm doing this in honor of the upcoming birth of some of my favorite mommy bloggers' second child (oh, and maybe to win a prize).

So here goes:

When I found out I was pregnant with my second child I cried. I cried because I was disappointed in everything my daughter would miss out on being an only child. I cried because I was so upset with myself for being so stupid and getting pregnant, again. I cried because I hated being pregnant. I was so swollen and uncomfortable during my first pregnancy and I knew what was in store for me for the next nine months.

Sophia was only 5 months old. It's a time when your child needs you to be able to crawl around on the floor with her and pick her up and carry her and play with her. I was so miserable and I felt so alone.

But during my pregnancy I met a lot of women who had children 12, 13, and 14 months apart. My children are exactly 14 months and 9 days apart. Anyway, I was shocked at how many women I randomly ran into who experienced the same situation I was in – the disappointment in being pregnant again and crying, everything. I met them at the hair salon, at the grocery store, day care, the nail salon, the shoe store, really, it was everywhere. And every woman I met said the same exact thing. "It's hard in the beginning, but it gets easier."

Oh, yeah. I didn't believe that for one second.

Oddly, every woman I met said that exact phrase; and now, almost 8 months after having my son, I can proudly say that the last 17 months (pregnancy included) have been the hardest thing I have ever been through, but the older Ryan gets, the easier things have become. Honest.

I found that the first couple of months after Ryan was born, life was very stressful … and exhausting. Sophia needed just as much attention as she got before Ryan was born and he needed even more attention then Sophia. There was no rest. I had very little time to spend watching Ryan sleep. There was very little time spent just holding him and staring at him. That time doesn't exist with the second child, but we bonded anyway.

I found that with the second baby, I learned to trust my instincts much more than with the first. After I had Sophia, I read and read and read and read everything I could think of about raising a baby. Even when I was pregnant, my main concern was that I was doing everything right with Sophia. She ate solid food exactly when the books said I should start them. She nursed exactly how the books said she should and she slept exactly when she was supposed to sleep. With Ryan, it really is less stressful because I have already filtered through what is crazy mom stuff and what is practical for me. I know what works and what doesn’t work for my family and that is a great comfort. Of course, things come up that didn't with the first, but experience makes things a little more manageable.

You know how to hold a baby. You understand how to comfort a screaming newborn. As a mother, you've already learned all you need to know about how to bond with your child and care for her. The first child gets you over that hump. This time, it's all about putting everything you learned with the first child into practice.

The second child assures you that you are, as you've always suspected, Wondermom.


Mrs. Chicken said...

Wow. I can't imagine what that must have been like. I think back to when our girl was an infant ... it took us three years to decide to do it again!

You sound like you are a great mom. Thanks for this advice and best of luck to you.

Jacque said...

I have 3 babies with 15 months between each :) :) They are now 12, 14, and 15 and yes it does get easier. Now I find myself with a whole houseful of kids aged 12 - 15. I often wonder what I was thinking, but I have truly loved every bit of it. Even though I decided to have my second, when my first was 6 months old, I too felt sad that she had to share so soon. My children are all so very different and I love them all for all their uniqueness

Lauren Horsley said...

I loved this post! Hearing my feelings echoed in your words makes me feel less alone as a mother of little ones. My children are 4, 2, and 10 mos. old and I bawled harder than I ever have in my life when I found out about pregnancy #3 because I knew I would never be able to give three little ones everything they need and deserve. But you're right - everyday it gets a tiny bit easier. And I'm already seeing what wonderful little buddies my two oldest are. Siblings are the best gifts you can give your children because they are built-in best friends for life.

I will check back often, and would love to have you visit my blog - Take care!

Diane said...

Thanks for your kind words. It's so nice to know I'm not alone in my feelings. When I wrote that I cried when I found out I was pregnant I was a little nervous some people would be put off by it. It's nice to hear sympathy and reassurance because as mother's, I think that's what we need the most.

Thank you.