Tucked away in the back corner of my mind sat a tiny seed of doubt. Thoughts about childbirth were bubbling to the surface and igniting a sense of fear within me. Unlike the first time, it wasn’t simply about coming home; this time I had someone waiting.
I paused to watch her little chest rise and fall for a moment before I gently kissed her forehead. Even though I knew our lives were about to change the moment I walked out the door, I couldn’t bring myself to wake her; I couldn’t bear a good-bye of any kind.
I took a deep breath, and gently closed the door. I left a piece of my heart in that room, sleeping soundly and unaware.
Despite the months of obvious preparation, welcoming another baby into the world feels oddly sudden; with that first inhale of breath everything changes. In what feels like a blink of an eye, there is now another baby who looks to you and finds comfort in your arms.
The first few days, even weeks, are a blur. There is a constant state of activity; you settle one, to entertain another, and search for the extra arm to read a book while nursing the baby. It isn’t pretty, but you find a way. You drop your head to the pillow each night thankful for a moments rest, a temporary cease-fire of activity and commotion. In the beginning it’s about surviving; there are no niceties and parenting high-fives. Life with two young kids is about finding balance and some days it honestly never comes.
There is a significant shift when the new baby arrives – there are unfamiliar roles and new emotions to navigate. I remember watching my daughter, with tears welling in my eyes, laugh and sing with her Dad while I tended to the baby – after all the changes, it felt incredibly gratifying to see her so happy, and yet, I wasn’t a part of it. Selfish as it may have been, I realized in that moment, my role had changed.
I was now a Mom of two, a nurturer and comfort for two. It is an overwhelmingly beautiful disaster, caring for a newborn and a toddler. You make mistakes, loose your patience, and cry from feelings of pure exhaustion. The biggest (and most difficult) adjustment for me was watching the relationship with my daughter change – she was no longer my sole focus, and we both felt that. With so much self-imposing guilt and emotions swirling around, it was difficult to handle some days. But as all relationships have the ability to evolve, this one does as well. As the baby grows, and rapidly I might add, the scales start to shift back towards the middle.
It’s not always pretty, or fun, but you find a way. Your world will eventually stop spinning as you begin to rediscover the confidence you built with the first baby. It may seem impossible right now, but you will look back one day and laugh at the absurdity of it all and see how far you’ve come.
In the difficult moments, search for the bright spots. Listen for the laughter, watch for the smiles, and trust this phase won’t last forever.