I’ve discovered there’s a big difference between welcoming kid #1 and kid #2. Nearly 4 weeks in, here’s what I’ve observed about the second time around (so far).
Pregnancy isn’t as all-consuming. It was still special and exciting, but it wasn’t new. And I wasn’t worried about everything. I think I was 8 weeks along before I finally bought prenatal vitamins, and even after that I think I remembered to actually take them about every 3 days. I had a small glass of wine a handful of times after the first trimester. And I think I was about 8 months along before I remembered I wasn’t supposed to eat lunch meat. Oops.
“Prepared” means something completely different. The first time Conlan’s nursery had to be perfect. We bought him one of those ridiculously expensive, beautiful crib sets and all the accessories to match. This time I crocheted Brynna an afghan and called it good. I bought one (secondhand) cute pink girly crib sheet and when that’s soiled, I’m sure she will be just fine sleeping on a hand-me-down puppy print. And the nursery? Yeah, she shares her room with the treadmill. It’s crowded, but she’s small so she’ll manage. As long as I had a package of diapers and an infant sleeper or two, I figured we had things together enough to bring her home.
The world doesn’t stop. Life has gone on pretty much as normal. And I vacuum while she’s napping with her door wide open because, girlfriend, the world is noisy and it’s best that you get used to it now!
I care less. Not about my children, of course. But about what other people think and about whether I’m doing it “right.” I tried and tried and tried and tried a “sleep training” program with my son. Swaddling and schedules and dream feeds, oh my! But no matter what I did, he simply would not extend his feedings beyond 2 1/2 hours for weeks. Yes, I was exhausted. And there is something to be said about exhaustion and your ability to deal with life. But you know what else it did? It made me think there was something wrong with me, or my baby, that I couldn’t get him to sleep longer or eat less often. And it made me frustrated, angry, and even jealous of all those mommies who got their kids to sleep more. Enter kid #2. She gave me 4-hour stretches from the start. After a week and a half, I was only up once during the night. Now, I’m up once and then she sleeps until 7:30. I did nothing to make this happen. At this point I’m convinced that babies will sleep and eat when they want, and that infant sleep training can be a dangerous stressor for new mommies. Especially Type A ones.
It’s more fun! I’m guessing this has a lot to do with the previous item – the combination of taking the pressure off of myself and being more rested – but I am so loving my time with the baby. Before Brynna arrived I remember thinking, “if we can just get through that awful no-sleep newborn phase…” But this time we’re just enjoying her!
God really does give you the capacity to handle whatever situation He’s given you. This is going to sound terribly stupid to anyone with more than one child, but I was really, really worried about how much patience I would have for Conlan once I was sleep-deprived with a new baby. He has given me patience – and energy! – to enjoy my extra time at home with not only the new baby, but with Conlan too. And with the number of times that kid cracks me up each day with his little personality, I can honestly say that this whole experience of becoming a family of four has been a gift of pure joy!