Having a baby is an exciting experience, whether first child or second child, yet your experience with your second child is totally different.
With your first child during pregnancy everybody treats you like a pampered pooch, and wants to protect you. You lounge around napping at every opportunity and with good reason. You do all the correct exercises and enjoy the weird cravings. You get to experience morning sickness without questions. You buy everything brand new for your baby. You plan the nursery down to the last detail. You have your maternity notes in a pretty binder and you frame each scan photograph. You spend your pre-birth maternity leave shopping and sipping decaffeinated machiattos with people gushing over your bump and imminent arrival. People buy you presents left, right, and centre.
With your second pregnancy it’s somewhat different. You already have a child, an 18 month old in my case. Pampered poochness has long gone. You have to get on with it. You can’t wee in peace. You cannot lounge around and you most certainly don’t nap your way through a day. You get to eat when time allows, and cravings are generally neglected (unless your husband tries to win you over, wink wink). You have to run to the toilet with a screaming 18 month old under your arm as morning sickness takes its toll for the fourth time that morning. Your nursery is already planned, and full, so you have to rearrange things to accommodate your future arrival. You don’t attend antenatal classes because you’re too tired, and have an infant in tow. Your infant has to watch you pee into a bottle. Your maternity notes are folded in half and shoved in your changing bag. You detest shopping, unless it’s online. Shopping, being pregnant, and an infant make for a stressful nose-sweating sort of trip. People do not gush over you, instead they give you a sympathetic look or comment. You’re not glowing this time, you’re sweating like you’re in the Amazon. You don’t get maternity leave if you became a SAHM first time round. You reuse your first child’s car seat, baby bath, moses basket etc. Not so many presents head your way. You spend the majority of your time in pjs.
When your first child arrives you spend countless hours cuddling your sleeping bundle (& crying because they won’t settle and you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing), you enjoy people cooing over them in their stroller. You change their outfits several times a day so they look gorgeous. You meet with your friends for coffee and shopping trips. You can get a few chores done whilst they bounce in their rocker to Disney Jnr.
When your second child arrives you have to ensure they self soothe. It’s impossible to hold a newborn without an 18 month old demanding attention. You have to have eyes in the back of your head. You can no longer leave a child in a rocker, the older one will poke them, hard. You now only change clothes if absolutely necessary as to avoid both ironing and adding to the laundry tower. You rarely meet with people; leaving the house with a billion bottles, snacks, two dressed infants, and a clean face yourself are near impossible. You now run on your own time zone. Housework schmousework! People don’t coo, they say ” I bet your hands are full!” No, they’re not, I have plenty of time to myself, they sit quietly and read, they even feed themselves!!
But it’s ok. As abnormal and as run off your feet you feel, it’s normal. It’s normal to feel guilty like your second child has somehow missed out on precious mummy time, but they haven’t. It’s hard to split yourself in half, but there’s no need to. There’s no rush. Your older child will learn patience. Your baby will learn that mommas love is so heroic it stretches to their sibling too.
Having a second child is more of a shocker than your first, but I’d never change it for the world. And it does get easier. Much easier. And although you may feel like you’re in some kind of comedy show be rest assured your normal!
Go enjoy every minute!