Your first time experiencing anything is always going to be the most, exhilarating, exciting, nerve-racking occasion – it’s the unknown! I know the pre-kids version of myself liked to think that I would be this “homemade-organic, baby-wearing, killing it at life, never give my kid a McNugget kind of mum” then real life hits and you have an actual, living, breathing human baby.
The second child comes along and you know your shit this time (and how you will probably be elbows deep in literal baby shit soon enough). Which also means you know the REALITY of having children, which can instil fear and doubt even in the most confident parents.
How will I divide my time and love between the two kids?
Is it even possible to love the second baby as much as my first?
Is this going to affect my relationship with child numero uno?
How am I going to leave the house without a suitcase of shit?
How am I even going to leave the house?
Congratulations you’re human- there is like 7 billion of us! Having these thoughts and doubts coming up to the birth of your second baby is completely normal and if you’re not having these emotions, I can assume you’re Beyoncé (heck even Queen B would have been crapping her bootylicious pants before she had the twins).
Now I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m the expert on juggling two kids, besides I’ve only been doing this gig for 10 weeks now.
However, I am here looking back on a lot of emotions in hindsight wishing I did cut myself some slack, and realise that it’s only normal to feel this way. Experiencing this DOES NOT make you an incompetent mother.
There will be days where your toddler is going to wake up with the attitude of a pubescent Bieber-crazed teenager who decides that specific day she does NOT want the pink sippy cup, how dare you suggest that she actually eats a nutritious breakfast instead of Jatz biscuits…you monster. Of course, this same day baby number two decides she wants to cluster feed, let off 5 poonami’s and who the hell needs naps? Apparently not either of your children.
And guess what?
You. Will. Get. Through. It.
Easier said than done I know. But you will.
I remember the day I went into labour with Willow, I was extremely emotional and couldn’t stop crying, thinking I was abandoning my first-born daughter. I was so worried that once baby was here my relationship with Harper would change. I felt as though I was betraying her.
Once Willow arrived I was unfortunately in hospital for the entire week due to post birth health issues. That entire week I was away from Harper I felt like I was the worst mother on the planet, because I wasn’t the one at home looking after her. I cried…A LOT.
Ryan would bring Harper in to visit me, which were very short visits because she would get bored and throw tantrums. At times, I felt like Harper didn’t love me anymore and that she was angry at me. Looking back, she was just being you’re normal toddler who was bored and wanted to go play somewhere else. It didn’t mean she didn’t love me. Just remember you’ve just given birth so your hormones are running a muck, your adjusting to another bubba so feeling emotional, sad, happy, and guilty all at once is so normal!
I remember asking other mothers if this whirlwind of emotions were typical and they all said absolutely. In that moment, you do feel like you are in it alone but you really aren’t. I was truly astounded at how just like your first baby you instantly love your second just as much. Your heart just doubles in size.
The first couple of weeks I experienced quite a lot of post-natal anxiety which I expected as someone who already suffers from anxiety. I spent a lot of time getting reassurance from other mums, and using postnatal hotlines (such as PANDA). Just talking to these services and other mums helped immensely. Never feel like asking for help of any kind is silly because these hotlines and mums really saved my sanity.
Once I returned home Harper did get jealous here and there (especially whilst I was breastfeeding). Also, because I had a c-section I wasn’t able to pick her up which made me feel even worse. Harper would see me holding Willow all the time, feeding and then she would cry for me to pick her up and cuddle her – I felt like an absolute asshole. I found the solution was getting Harper to feed her own little baby dolly and join in with me. This helped a lot! Now Harper realises that when I’m feeding Willow I can’t always tend to her and she plays or watches TV while I feed (well most of the time…she is a toddler after all).
After a few weeks, we all started to find our feet. I tried to keep everything the same as it was before and just let Willow slip into Harper’s routine (thank god newborns just sleep for the first couple of weeks).
Harper went through a stage where she would try to hit her sister, which was a big worry. I was having to create a pillow fortress to keep Harper away from Willow whilst I was busy. Soon enough this phase ended and now Harper is slowly learning that she needs to be gentle with Willow- she still suffocates her with kisses of course.
The one crazy thing is that once baby number two has been here for a couple of days you can’t remember life without them (just as you felt with your first baby). Yes, your firstborn will have to learn to share you BUT you are giving them the absolute best gift of all; a sibling, a lifelong best friend and a playmate.
Soon enough you will all adjust. Those first few weeks are about adjusting, nothing else. You’re learning how to become a mum of two, your firstborn is learning how to become an older brother/sister and your newborn is learning how to feed, poop and sleep. Everyone is learning and adjusting together. Cut yourself some slack! You to remember that now you are in fact responsible for two kids and if that means the washing doesn’t get done, dinners are just microwaved and the house isn’t spotless for a while, who cares! At the end of the day as long as you and your kids are content, fed and happy that is all that matters. It’s all about trial and error and Coles online delivery, The Wiggles and receiving any type of help will become your best friend.
There will be times when the toddler is screaming for more crackers at 7am, there is shit and dirty nappies all over the house, and your newborn is literally feeding for the 10th time that morning remember; you are bloody killing it! So calm those leaky tits of yours, take it day by day and give yourself TIME to find your feet.
You Got This!
If you are experiencing what you think may be post-natal depression and anxiety please check out these PND support hotlines/ resources:
PANDA- click here
Lifeline (13 11 14) – click here
To read my experience of becoming a mother for the first time click here