Having A Second
Updated: May 20
In my previous post, I wrote about the challenge of parenting during a pandemic. I had been a stay-at-home mom for six weeks, and that's not something I ever wanted or pictured myself ever doing, primarily because I'm not cut out for it. And, yes, I recognize that being a stay-at-home parent during a pandemic is different than how it normally is. OF COURSE I am grateful I was safe at home with my family, and I spent the those weeks doing my best to cherish this special time I had with my daughter. Under normal circumstances, this would not happen because I work full-time, and she's at daycare full-time, and that's how that goes for us. However, there is more than one reason I have been doing my best to cherish every moment and every day I've had home with my daughter: we're having another baby! At the time of this writing, I'm 30 weeks pregnant with a baby boy. :) So, in a few months, we'll all be having to share our love and attention with a new family member, and I think that will be difficult for all of us.
Having our daughter was a very welcome surprise, but this second baby was tried for. Obviously, we had no idea whether we'd even be able to have a second child, especially since I am of "advanced maternal age," but we decided to try. At first, I wasn't even sure I wanted to try for a second child because I could not imagine having to share my heart, which has been claimed entirely by my daughter. Part of me just wanted it to be the three of us forever and have that be that. My husband is an only child and I have a sibling so we are familiar with both scenarios and either one would have been fine with us. Ultimately, my husband and I discussed it and thought we'd make a great family of four. So we gave it a whirl and we succeeded after three months of trying. I know there are SO MANY factors that go into whether a woman is able to conceive, regardless of her desire to do so, and I know we all know about the fertility struggle, whether it's personally or through our loved ones. This is just how it worked out for us and we are very, very grateful.
One of the other reasons I really wasn't sure if I wanted to even try for a second child was the really difficult time I had with a newborn the first time around. It was a dark time for me, and I struggled A LOT. I wrote about that experience in this post and this one, but the gist is that I went through what SO MANY new moms go through. I stressed about everything and figured everything that went wrong was my fault. I stressed about my milk supply and I OBSESSED about my daughter's sleep, specifically her naps. It was rough to say the least. I got through it, but I remember feeling like I never, ever wanted to feel that way again. Here's the thing: I don't think it will really be the same. I can't predict what the newborn stage will be like with baby #2, but I do know that my approach will be entirely different, especially with how I took care of myself. The reality is I DIDN'T take care of myself. Not emotionally, not mentally, and not physically. In fact, I think I may have forgotten myself completely in trying to keep my little baby alive. One of the main reasons I'm actually looking forward to having this second child is having the opportunity to right some of my past wrongs. I will remember that I need to be taken care of, too, and here's what I plan to do for now: First, I won't stress about my milk supply. Every mom feels differently, but my life improved dramatically when I decided to start mixing formula into my daughter's bottles. This time around, I won't wait as long to give my baby formula if my supply isn't enough. I went crazy trying to boost my supply last time and I refuse to do that this time. In my ideal world, I won't have to do it, but it won't bother me AT ALL if I do. Second, I intend to get my baby on a sleep schedule, just like I did with my daughter, but I know 100% this time around that, when things aren't working like I want them to, it's not my fault. That's a huge one. I blamed myself for A LOT, like I know many moms do. Third, I plan to order food delivery to sustain me, at least for the first month or so. There's a vegan food delivery service that prepares food and sends it frozen for you to heat and eat. It's called Veestro. I've never tried it, but it looks the most convenient to me. I didn't eat properly at all last time, mostly because my daughter was in my arms so much. I figured out a way to make and eat food with one hand and that was the worst. So I'll get food that I can just heat and eat. Surely it will be expensive, but my sanity will be worth every penny of it. Fourth, I plan to ask for more help when I feel like I'm drowning. I tried to do everything myself last time, and it drove me insane. Finally, if I can physically do it, I plan to return to exercising as early as I can. I missed it then, and I intend to make it more of a priority. So, in some ways, I'm absolutely dreading having a newborn again because I remember how bad a time it was for me, but I'm also looking forward to it because I know at least a little bit what I'm getting myself into, and I am excited to have the opportunity to be better to myself.
As for how this pregnancy has gone compared to the first one: this one has been nearly identical from the start of week 14. However, the first trimester was VASTLY different. During the first trimester of my first pregnancy, I was nauseated 24/7 from weeks 7 to 14, but it was manageable and I never once vomited. This time around, I was sick from week 2 to week 14. I didn't vomit every day, but there were days where I couldn't hold any food down. To the point that I ended up in the emergency room to be treated for dehydration. I am sure many women can relate to this experience, but it is so difficult for me to even express properly. I barely remember those months because they are so fuzzy at this point. I was not myself--I was sick, I was angry, and I was very, very easily irritated. I can't imagine that period of my pregnancy happening while I was at home with my daughter every single day, having to entertain her and keep her busy. I truly felt like death for 12 weeks. I know it can last longer, even an entire pregnancy for some women, but I don't know how I would have managed.
All in all, I am filled with overwhelming gratitude to be in the position I'm in. My husband and I have the most wonderful girl in the whole world, and we are so fortunate to be able to give her the opportunity to be the best big sister we know she will be. We're in for a heck of a ride but we're very excited. :)