BECOMING A MOM THE SECOND TIME

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Submitted Date 10/10/2023
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Things I heard before I had my first child were helpful. Let yourself rest, stock up on the big pads, food prep so you don't have to cook as much, and the list goes on. One person even said to spend more time just looking into the face of your baby because one day you'll look back and won't be able to remember how it felt to hold them or how it felt when they finally see you clearly enough to recognize you... spoiler alert that's another hard truth I had to learn.

I heard some things before my second child like it'll be more chaotic but you'll be a little less panicked about every little thing this time around - what I didn't know and could've never prepared myself for was how emotionally unprepared I was to be a mom to my first born child after my second child was born,

How emotionally unprepared I was to pick my 3 year old up and put her in her carseat for school after I hadn't picked her up during my entire high risk pregnancy and realize how heavy she'd gotten.

How emotionally unprepared I was to have to feed my new baby at the same time we use to go play outside and to see the sadness come over her face because she doesn't understand.

How guilty I would feel for being so tired from a sleepless night that I wasn't as enthusiastic when I said goodbye to her in the morning and to regret that all day. How bad I would feel when she was singing at the top of her lungs and I had to tell her to stop because her new brother was sleeping... I use to love when she sang like that and I still do. I wonder if she knows that's one of my favorite things that she does and I hate that she has to sing lower now.

I've done all of the things that I read to prepare for this new change. She gets attention whenever I have it to give, her friends come to play and she goes to do maybe even more things than before she had a sibling so she doesn't feel forgotten. I know I'm doing everything I can do to help her with this transition but I had no idea that the transition would be harder for me to watch her go through than it is for her to get used to having a baby in the house.

Aside from being emotionally unprepared I read something recently that said that you don't realize how big your first baby is until you have another one. I had this sudden realization yesterday as I put my 3 week old down for bed and went to check on my daughter. She slid off her bed a bit so I went to move her legs and readjust her blanket but where I used to just shift her over I now had to use both arms and put actual effort into moving her. I then realized that I don't know when she got that big and that the my first baby isn't a baby anymore. I'll never see her gummy smile again but now it's filled with teeth I have to make sure are brushed - I'll never pick a little outfit again because now she picks her own - She's only 3 but she feels so much older now.

So this is my advice to all moms who are having a second child... take it easy on yourself. Lower your standards even if it's just for a bit, if you used to play for 30 minutes outside it's ok now to only play for 15 if that's all you have to give. Cherish the moments you have with both because in a few years your baby now won't be so little either.

Today my daughter wants to go to the water park, I used to be able to take her to the park after school but today I just can't. Instead I'll pick her up from school with her favorite little drink and snack and she will remember not that I didn't let her go the park but she'll remember being happy after school and watching a movie with her mom.. because that's all I have to give today and that is enough.

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