By Anna Hefferon
My husband and I always knew we wanted to have two children, but the spacing between them was something we did not agree on. He has five years between him and his sister, I on the other hand, have a twin and three other siblings each two years apart. My oldest sibling is six years older than me. I wanted my kids to be close in age and best friends, like my twin and I (well, now we are, high school was a little rough). We compromised and agreed to start trying for baby number two when our son turned 2, best decision of our lives (more on this later). We had the pleasure of watching my brother and sister-in-law work as a team to raise their twin girls, I took notes and had some hope for my future.
As soon as I confirmed I was pregnant, I immediately felt guilt. I felt guilty that my full attention would not go to my older son, that I was doing him an injustice by bringing another kid in the house, what if he hated the baby? How can I be fair to the new baby? My first got all my attention and I nursed him for 13 months, how can I do that for my second? My time would be divided. How will I love another child like my first born, who made my heart explode with love, that I didn't know I was capable of feeling? Then we found out my second is a boy (yes, I am a mom of boys), how could I love another boy the way I love my first son? How will bed time routines work? Only time will tell.
Getting ready for the second baby
The good news: I was having a boy. I already had plenty of boy stuff! With my first I read up on all the advice, as to what to get and quickly learned, a lot of it was just not right for my baby. Bottle warmer- just didn't warm the bottle up fast enough for my screaming baby at night (cause the experts say babies won't take breast milk from a bottle if it is cold, since it is warm coming out of the tap), well, guess what, my oldest took a cold bottle, a warm bottle, and milk from my boob, with no problems. The bottle warmer became a decoration on my counter. Those little tents to throw on boys wee wees, so they don't pee on you, never made it out of the package (however, my husband got pee in his face, more than once). So this time around, I was ready. My son and husband went to babies r us and test drove the strollers, all of them. We ended up with the one that my son liked the best and my husband could steer with ease. No clothes this time, mostly because I already had plenty, but also because people can't help themselves. They buy you clothes even if you didn't ask for it. If you are a diaper genie kind of person, refills galore. I learned I needed as many as possible, because the diapers seem to never end.
When I found out I was having a boy, I didn't want to have a party. I already had most of what I needed. However, my sisters and friends convinced me to celebrate the new baby. Instead of big showers, like I had for my first, I had "sprinkles", where only my closest friends and family came. No games or prizes, just a relaxed afternoon with my girls. We had a sundae bar at one and lite snacks at the other. Gifts? Diapers and wipes. This was more helpful to me than anything on my registry (except maybe the car seat). When my second son was born, he was 8lbs 8oz and gained weight rapidly, he fit in newborn diapers only for a few days. Babies r us let us return/exchange diapers (of brands they carry) without any questions. This is good to know, my first son was small and gained weight slowly, this is not the case for my second, so I am happy to know I don't have to keep shoving him into sizes that don't fit.
So, my second son is finally here (the second pregnancy flew by). My birth story is completely different than my first. And every note I took from watching my sister-in-law and brother is somewhere in the trash, because let's be honest, twins is not the same as singletons, who are years apart. All my anxieties and guilt I mentioned earlier are still very real, but my first son is obsessed with his baby brother. They are three years apart and my older one is big on being a helper. If baby brother cries, big brother makes it a mission to make him smile. He helps change and dispose of diapers. He wants to hold him and cuddle him all the time. He wants to say good morning and good night with a hug and a kiss. But the best part, my older son is patient with me. When he wants to play with me, but I am nursing his brother, he gets it and tries to pick something to play next to me. If he is hungry but I am occupied with his brother, he will wait until I can help him. This is why waiting until my oldest was two to start trying to get pregnant was the best decision of my life. The older one is just a little more independent, has a little bit more understanding, and is able to communicate just a little better.
Life with two kids
Looking back at when I was pregnant, mothers of more than one kid, just kind of smiled when I told them my anxieties. Now I realize that there wasn't much for them to say. Being a mom of two is hard. There are nights when I am not sure why we ruined a good thing with our only kid. There is no preparing for how hard it will be, but it is what it is. I now am a believer that not every kid is the same (the first was happy and easy to please, my second is grumpy and not big on cuddles), but the truth is, I am able to love the second boy like the first, for different reasons. The other stuff will get worked out, with some trial and error, but they will get figured out. My oldest is a helper, for now, and I am going to take pictures of it all, so later when they are fighting, making each other bleed, and breaking each other's bones, I'll remember the good times. Good luck to the Mommas embarking on the adventure that is a second child.
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The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of your physician or licensed health care provider. You should consult your physician or licensed health care provider before engaging in any exercise activity described in this article to determine if it is right for your needs.