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Welcoming Our Second Baby to the Family

I recently read a blog post about a mom who felt adding a second baby to her family was a breeze. Well, great… I immediately followed this thought with, “Well, what’s wrong with me then?”

Because you know what? I think it’s hard. And four months out, there are still days when I feel like I’m literally running on empty. But I dig deep and push on with the day.

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For us, those first few weeks were a blur and the months were intense. I’m super grateful for my two children, and love them fiercely, but I’m going to tell the truth here. Because maybe there’s another mama out there feeling the same and afraid to say so.

I think that when I say I’m ok, but I’m really not, I’m not doing anyone any favors.

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At first, I wasn’t sure how MJ was going to feel about being a big brother. His emotions have ranged from being upset about sharing me with C to now telling me he wants to “keep her” (Good thing, buddy!) and how he just wants “to love on her.” He loves her so intensely I sometimes worry he’ll hurt her with his hundred kisses, squeezing her and wanting to carry her! I will do everything I can to foster that strong sibling bond. I want them to know that they will always have that one person to fight for them.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that I feel like I can’t get anything done.

I have these grand expectations every day about what I’m going to get done. Work, chores, projects with MJ, self-care, etc. I usually get through a ⅓ of it, IF I’m lucky! My son is (almost) 4 year and my daughter 5 months old. They are at high needs times in their lives. I’ll sit down to nurse the baby, and MJ will announce he needs to poop and I need to wipe his bum. Or I’ll be changing a diaper and MJ will be hungry. I’ll get C to sleep just in time for the dog to bark and wake her up. And forget it if one of them is sick.

I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions all at once.

And I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes don’t handle it well! So far I’ve only put myself in time out once.

Thankfully everything is temporary. Not that long ago I wrote a post about how I couldn’t even get through a workout without C crying for me. Well, guess what? Just a few short weeks later, I can! Every day? No, sometimes she wakes up and quietly watches me. Or lays nearby and gets kisses between sets. She’ll even tolerate my husband now. I was SO frustrated by this in February and now in May, it’s just  a memory. In the beginning, after her birth, I was so afraid to take both kids anywhere together. I just didn’t think I couldn’t handle it. I was completely consumed with anxiety about being able to keep them safe. Now I do it all the time!! Everything is temporary. Whatever thing I’m worrying about today will be gone and replaced with something new next month.

However, whatever combination of sleep deprivation and hormones is causing wicked mommy brain, it’s for real. I can’t remember anything. I walked out of the house one winter day to take MJ to preschool. Walked into the building and someone said, “Where’s your coat, it’s freezing!” I looked down and sure enough, I wasn’t wearing one! I can’t remember words I want to use, or to shift the laundry, or feed the dog.

I feel like a hot mess. all. the. time.

I forget to fill my car with gas, I forget texts people have sent or phone calls I’m supposed to make. I’m either super early or late to everything. I joke with my husband that I usually have time to think a thought, but no time to follow through! My solution? Lists and my smart phone! I am counting on Google Calendar to remind me of things. I’m thinking of adding a reminder to feed the dog. I’m not even kidding.13113049_835307206190_1548381908_o

The second child will learn to be flexible. They have to be! With MJ, everything stopped if he was sleeping or fussy. If he napped 12-3, we were home by 11 and didn’t go out again for the day! With the baby, I always just feel like she’s along for the ride. Oh, you’re sleeping? Too bad, we have to go pick up your brother. Fussy and want to snuggle? Into the carrier you go, big brother needs to go to the park! We’re just go go go and she’s got to adapt. With MJ, I was totally against using a pacifier, but with the baby I tried daily until she finally figured it out! I just felt like I needed her to have one for the car or for Daddy to be able to help with getting her to sleep.

I have watched myself change and evolve to meet their needs and my own. Things I thought I couldn’t do, I have pushed myself to do.  Everything from my VBAC, exclusively breastfeeding and managing a household with two kids has required patience, dedication, and perseverance. I am not even close to perfect. However, I know things keep getting better and I’m determined to master our new normal.

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I knew it was going to be a big transition and I knew there would be tears, but I didn’t fully get how having a second child would change things. I couldn’t have predicted how my heart would ache when I was nursing the baby and could hear MJ crying for me in the other room. Or when I would lay with MJ before bed, his little hand in mine, breathing in my first baby growing into a little boy… but hear my baby girl crying to be nursed.

It was rough coming to realize that I literally needed to be two places at once and I couldn’t.

What I didn’t realize was that when I was thinking about life with a new baby, I was picturing my son as he was, not realizing he’d be almost a year older. He’s grown into a mature and independent little boy! Sure he’s still little, but he can get snacks on his own, use the bathroom and navigate a whole heap of other tasks independently.

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I realize a lot of this difficulty is temporary, but right now I have no time to myself. I am exclusively breastfeeding a baby that won’t take a bottle or sleep on her own, so I have to be purposeful and protective about ME time. I have to MAKE time for workouts and get up extra early to have time to get myself dressed and ready for the day. With one kiddo, it was easy to get the family to watch MJ and find time to do things for me. It wasn’t a big deal to get a haircut, workout, or go to the dentist. Now those things require more planning and coordination and I wasn’t prepared for that.

Sometimes I don’t feel like myself at all.

Where do I Fit

There will be sacrifices. Right now it feels hard, but the way the baby’s face lights up when she see me, or how MJ says I’m his best friend because “I take care of him]” makes the sacrifices so worth it. Every day is filled with precious moments, and things start to feel easier, and we settle more into a new normal routine.  I’ve realized there’s nothing wrong with me. Welcoming a second child to my household may not be a “breeze” but we’re just different.

She’s on her journey and I’m on mine.

I wonder if I’m not alone here, and that maybe you’re thinking you’re alone? I can promise you that you’re not. I’m right in the trenches with you.

What about you? How was your transition from one to two kids?

 

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14 Responses to Welcoming Our Second Baby to the Family

  1. Moira May 23, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    I love this! This is exactly how I felt when I first went from 1 to 2 kids. I think you are doing an amazing job Ashley and even though it feels overwhelming you are rocking the crap out of it mama!

  2. Ashley
    Ashley May 23, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    Thank you for the support and encouragement Moira!! It helps that I have such a rockin mama network now!! <3

  3. Jenny May 23, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    I won’t lie, for me the transition from one to two was WAY harder than zero to one! (and I had a dog, so we were eased into the whole parenting / responsibility thing). I’m four years into two kids and I still feel overwhelmed when I am alone with both kids. I recently had a five day stretch of single parenting, and it reminded me just how amazing my husband is! Not to mention how much I rely on him! The kids, their needs are different than when they were little, but we’ve moved from tears of need to tears of frustration and ‘my brother hit me’ or ‘he won’t stop touching me’ and ‘she won’t let me play with her stuff’… I mean, we constantly fight over who gets to turn the TV off after watching a show! Who knew that would be a area of contention?! I am an only child, and didn’t have a tv as a kid so had no idea just how important that remote is!?!
    The saving grace of the second for me was with that those sleepless nights, or days of constant feedings I knew it wouldn’t last forever. I knew that the next day would be hell and I’d need an extra coffee or two to function, but I also knew that in a month they’d be sleeping thru the night and on more of schedule. I knew it would change, and get better / easier! It never seems to be easy, no matter what the phase. And, in all honesty (in my opinion) it doesn’t seem to matter how many kids you have, it’s all hard. That’s why we have each other! Thanks for writing this and helping to validate the feelings of being overwhelmed. You’re not alone, and you’re amazing!

    • Ashley
      Ashley May 25, 2016 at 9:58 am #

      Thank you for the encouragement and support! I am also very thankful for a supportive husband that is very hands on with the kids. He takes all the night time duty with the older one since I’m up nursing the baby still several times a night. You make some good points though and I too drink all the coffee!!

  4. Alisha May 23, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    I can totally understand feeling that way. I have 2, BUT they are 5 years apart so I felt like it was more of a “breeze.” I totally think it’s just because of the age difference. There was some minor jealousy at first and wanting little brother to play when of course he couldn’t because he was teeny tiny, but we got through. Fast forward 19 months and they are best friends, however the fighting has started. My 7 year old wants to do things by himself and my 19 month old is attached to him at the hip. It’s all relative. I loved reading your blog and appreciate the honesty =) Have fun with those kiddos Mama!

    • Ashley
      Ashley May 25, 2016 at 10:00 am #

      Thank you so much for the love and support! I agree there will be challenges all along the way. Whatever is hard now will be replaced with something else later! I can’t wait until C is a little older and can interact more with MJ. Right now she just laughs at him!! Thanks for reading the post!

  5. Meredith
    Meredith May 23, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

    Hit the nail on the head! Big time! What a great post! Thank you so much for writing this!

    • Ashley
      Ashley May 25, 2016 at 10:01 am #

      Thanks for reading!! <3 I'm so glad it can help us all feel more connected and not alone.

  6. Krystal May 24, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    Thank you so much for writing this! I have a 5 and a half year old and a 14 month old, both boys. We have definitely worked our way into a routine and I think that we are operating well as a family of four but there are days that the wheels just come off! And yes, I truly feel like I can never get anything done. I read this article on a day where I was feeling completely defeated and I have to tell you that it has helped. I particularly related to you stating how much it would break your heart when they both needed you at once. It does get easier but that is such a horrible feeling as a mom. I have driven myself almost insane trying to be two places at once. I have a wonderful and supportive husband but he is working a lot right now, he’s a teacher, and he commutes and is getting his master’s degree. Sometimes it can feel like the list of tasks around the house never ends and balancing that with working a full time job is such a struggle. But I will get there! Thank you for the reminder of that!

    • Ashley
      Ashley May 25, 2016 at 10:04 am #

      I’m so glad it helped!! Thank you for the comment. It’s nice to know we’re all working through this things in our own way. I always get frustrated when someone points out a task that needs to be done, because I already know those things!! lol I’m lucky if I get one thing done a day. We will get there for sure! I’m glad you’re finding a routine that works for you guys!

  7. Cat May 24, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    I am 5 months in to having a second, with a 4 yr old son as my first. If I didn’t have help, I would have completely lost my mind. Thank you for posting this and making me feel a little more ‘normal.’ Society creates this movie-perfect list of expectations that is just not achievable. And I’m finally coming to terms with that… I am happy to be a part of a supportive tribe of women, but this journey has allowed me to see my HUSBAND in a whole new light. Thank God for the supportive spouses out there, no matter how they support! I would be a permanent hot mess without him, versus a temporary one.

    • Ashley
      Ashley May 25, 2016 at 10:06 am #

      YES!! Help is so important. Whether it’s family, a postpartum doula or just a supportive community of moms, we ALL need help sometimes. I am grateful DAILY for the mama tribe I’ve created and for the unconditional love of my husband. I really feel like we’re in this together!! I’m so glad you found my post helpful. Thanks for sharing part of your journey.

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