About two weeks ago I gave birth to my second child – a hefty little baby boy. The contractions had started two days earlier and, after two false alarm trips to the hospital, my husband had no interest in taking me back to the hospital a third time. When I insisted that we had to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW, he got back into bed and told me he had to send a work email. Then he threatened that if we were going back to the hospital again, he was going to start his paternity leave regardless of whether I gave birth or not. Ohhh noo, say it ain’t so. To be honest, I had no idea I was actually in labor at the time, but I was desperate for something – anything! – to numb the pain. Anyway, it was a good thing we left home when we did because by the time I got to the hospital, I was halfway to push time. Two hours later I gave birth to my second child.
It’s been an adjustment, to say the least, but it hasn’t sunk in that I am now a mother to two children, mostly because I don’t think I ever wrapped my head around the fact that I was a mother to one child. I feel too young to be a mom, yet too old to do 90% of the things I used to do (stay up past midnight, go to a concert, wear a mini skirt, etc.).
We’ve all heard that welcoming a second child is a much different experience than welcoming your first in the sense that you are more “relaxed” (read: don’t have time or energy to worry), and you let things slide. What I didn’t expect was that despite having done all this a year and a half ago, there would be so many things I would forget about newborns – e.g., how often they need a feeding or a diaper change, how much laundry needs to be done, how little sleep I would get. In addition, there are a few things that come with the second child that I have to keep reminding myself, including:
1) General facts such as my name, date of birth, home address.
Mommy brain times two means that I am constantly repeating myself and forgetting basic information. It also means that I sometimes refer to my son as “she”.
2) Eating is a necessity. And also a luxury.
I used to mentally plan out what I was going to eat for each meal. Now I simply forget meals and have brunch, linner or a combo of the three I like to call “brelunner”.
3) That I do, in fact, have a second child.
It’s almost too easy to forget about your sleepy newborn when you have a spunky little toddler running around. Every now and then my baby will move and it makes me jump because I totally forgot he was lying right next to me.
4) That I have not wronged my first child.
I can’t help but feel that my toddler has been robbed of her precious alone time with Mommy, but then I realize that my newborn will never have that same alone time with me. Plus, it was pretty generous of me to give my daughter a sibling so she doesn’t grow up with only child syndrome. You’re welcome, first born.
5) That I can do this.
And even if I really feel I can’t figure out how to raise two children, do I have a choice?