We are officially a family of four! Well, we have been for two months, but it still feels like this change happened just yesterday. For a short period, we had two under two, but now our big girl has turned two and our little one is almost sleeping through the night (yay!).
Over the last two months, I’ve both celebrated and accepted a few realizations about this new season of our lives.
Your Love Multiplies
I’ll be honest, I was terrified I wouldn’t love our new baby the same way I loved our first. Our first was our miracle baby after three miscarriages. Everything she did was fascinating and her personality was on full display right around the time we found out about baby number two. How would I love another person the way I love her? For my entire pregnancy I worried and even felt some guilt about my feelings, but it all passed. So many moms told me that my love would multiply, but when you only have one person to bond with (even when pregnant) in the moment it’s hard to realize that they’re right.
Asking for Help is Easier (Sometimes)
I was next to the carts in Target when my toddler decided that she didn’t want to ride in the cart. I was wearing my newborn and it was hot and I was tired. I wasn’t losing my cool as my toddler threw herself on the floor, but I was growing a bit wary of the clock since it was close to lunch and nap time.
“Can I help you?” asked a grandma with her own grandson. I took her help that day.
As she lifted my girl into the cart and explained to her that “mama was holding the baby and only big girls get to sit in carts” I realized that I never would have accepted help with my first newborn. I mean help from family and friends is one thing, but help from strangers can be difficult.
I should be able to care for my child with no help from strangers. Right? Wrong!
I now know how important a village is when it comes to caring for children – especially more than one child at a time.
Mom Guilt Hurts, But Should Be Temporary
“But, look at it this way – it’s better that it happened like that when she was a newborn than when she can fully comprehend what’s going on now as a toddler.”
My OB/GYN told me that after I told her how I felt after being on a new prescription of an anti-depressant and feeling guilty about our new baby getting a better balanced mom than our first. I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety with my first and I didn’t seek help until she was 12 weeks old. I was a mess whenever it was just the two of us at home every day. No one really knew what was going on until I told them. Once I found the best medication and therapy for my mental health, I was a new mom – it just felt like it took forever to get there. With my second, it has been completely different. I left the hospital with a prescription and awareness of what to look for when it came to postpartum mood disorders.
There’s also guilt about other areas in our family journey, too. We lived closer to family with my first-born, but this time we are on our own here in St. Louis. I gave some breastmilk (although very little) to my first for six months, but I stopped our breastfeeding journey after three weeks with our second. My first girl got plenty of 0ne-on-one time with me, but now my second has to fend for herself in the swing while I entertain my toddler some days. It’s been a mix of “well, this is life” and “I should be able to do more”, but all in all, I know that the guilt will always be there, but how long it lasts is up to me.
And, finally, the greatest thing I’ve come to learn is this – these little ones have been entrusted to each of us for a particular reason. We are the best moms for their little lives and what a gift that is.