What to Expect When You're Expecting...Again.
Today I am fortunate to have Jennifer Welder from Bows 4 Days writing a guest post for Lillian Abbey! We were good friends way back in middle school and have reconnected over Facebook (of course). She is a fellow girl mom and is sharing what it’s like to welcome baby #2 into your life.
The moment that you find out you are expecting a child is such a magical time, and the excitement surrounding expansion of your family is immense. Anyone that you ask will tell you how much more amazing your life will be once you have another baby, however, they tend to leave out the part about how frequently you will look at life with multiple children and realize it is an absolutely sh*t show most of the time. Here is my list of ways that your experience with adding baby #2 will most likely differ from your experience with adding baby #1:
1. Pregnancy will suck.
Are you one that enjoys being pregnant? I was. That is, until I got pregnant with baby #2. When I was pregnant with our first, I had the opportunity to take naps, got daily foot rubs from my husband, and we Missourians had one of the mildest summers that year. I also had minimal pain and had the time to focus on taking care of myself, including stockpiling sleep, and preparing for our little girl. Sure, I was excited to be expanding our family and I could not wait to meet our newest little lady. However, not a damn thing changed in my house when I announced I was pregnant with #2. There were no naps (thank you active toddler), no foot rubs, and absolutely no relinquishment of a single parenting duty. Every day was exactly as it had been before, which meant that I was trucking around the zoo for hours on end, I was in the pool for our toddler’s swim lessons, I was chasing our toddler up and down the path at the park, and the list goes on. Expecting another relaxing, pampering pregnancy? Think again.
2. No one cares that you already have the baby stuff.
At least you have a giant stockpile of baby gear that you can dig out right? Leave it. No one cares that you already have the baby stuff and that you, most likely, don’t need a single thing. Family members (i.e. doting grandparents) will look for any excuse to buy cute baby gear if they can, and you having another baby is just what they had in mind.
3. Your partner will be just an unprepared as he was the first time.
With baby #1 my husband was my breathing coach. He was my rock! He got me through some of the most difficult and painful contractions as I was waiting for my epidural to kick-in. Finally, I regained some control over this situation and what does he do? He starts to feel light-headed. Let’s just say that he was unprepared for some of the things that he had seen. The hospital staff completely shifted their attention to him and brought him a chair, a snack and a beverage to make him more comfortable. This would have been amazing had I not been fasting so that I could give birth to our child.
Thinking that baby #2 would be a walk in the park, I was not concerned. Then the time comes where we need to leave and head to the hospital. Like most women expecting a child, I had previously packed a hospital bag specifically for the occasion. I had also packed a bag for my husband, as I knew he would be slightly frazzled. Standing by the door, with our pre-packed hospital bags, my husband begins packing a bag for himself, slips on his shoes and slowly begins to tie them (did I mention that there were sandals in the vicinity?). I finally had to, in the middle of some very strong contractions, and right in front of my mother-in-law, ask him what the f*ck he was doing? Luckily, that got the message across and he quickly got in the car. Good thing we made it, as I was there for a whole 36 minutes before a baby popped out!
4. Maternity leave is magical.
Maternity leave with baby #1 had me wishing I could return to work sooner, and I had only taken 8 weeks. She was such a difficult baby and I was so clueless, like most first time mothers, as to what to do with her most of the time. She wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t sleep and she was extremely tiny. Then, baby #2 was born. A solid 2 pounds larger and a pro in the nursing department, she had zero issues transitioning from the hospital to home. Before I knew it she was napping, eating on a very consistent schedule and only waking up 2-3 times a night (this seemed magical compared to the every 20 minutes of awake time that baby #1 seemed to enjoy). I basically had to be dragged back to work. Needless to say I bawled like a baby dropping her off at daycare for the first time.
5. The youngest will get the shaft…a lot.
Imagine being an only child, getting 100% of your mother and father’s attention, and then a baby is thrown into the mix. Our toddler handled the transition from being an only child to being a big sister very well. She loves her baby and wants to help care for her in any way that she can. However, that does not mean that she doesn’t miss having all the attention. “Color with me?”, “Read book?”, “You come play in my room?” are all common phrases out of our 2-year-old’s mouth. To keep the peace, and because our baby is happy no matter what you do, baby #2 frequently gets placed in a bouncy chair or Bumbo chair so that the toddler’s many requests can be fulfilled. I try to ensure that baby #2 is not left to entertain herself for too long, but keeping the toddler happy so as not to spark an hour-long tantrum tends to be a priority, and something that requires a lot of work in our house.
6. You will be shocked when you are on time (if this doesn’t already shock you).
Picture this. You have your toddler dressed in the crazy, mismatching outfit that she has picked out, of course, and you are just finishing up dressing the baby. You begin to make your way to the door and notice that the toddler is not following you. You locate the toddler in her room and notice that not only is she no longer ready to go, but she is completely naked. Now you are back to square one and there is no chance that you will be on time for work…yet again.
7. No one is ever asleep at the same time.
So, you finally make it home after a sad attempt at running errands with 2 children in tow and you get started on getting the toddler down for her nap. Babies sleep all the time so this is going to a nice break in your day right? Wrong. Think of it like the popular game “Whack-a-Mole;” one head goes down and another head pops up. Try as you might, you cannot get those little boogers to keep their heads down. This will be your life all day, every day.
8. Fabric bins will take over your life.
With the holidays just wrapping up, we have more toys than should be allowed in one house at the same time. Even the baby got enough toys to need her own form of storage. That’s where fabric bins come in. At $5-$10 a pop, these are the perfect, cheap solution to storing the endless supply of crap that appears to be taking over your home. That is, until you realize you have millions of tiny fabric bins everywhere…
9. The laundry situation never ends.
Every. Single. Time. that I think that the laundry is done, the baby has a blow-out and instantly needs to be stripped down and a load of laundry needs to be ran. Or our toddler catches a bug from daycare (which, of course, she does every time anyone else has one) and needs her bedding tossed into the washer after a fun night of vomiting. I have found that it’s best to just accept that you will never be ahead of this situation.
10. You will never be alone with your partner again...like ever.
Here we go again with the whack-a-mole. Having 1 child is hard enough but you can usually count on at least a few hours of downtime to connect with your significant other. However, when there are 2 rugrats in the house that are not sleeping at the same time, getting 5 minutes together is rare. When we brought home baby #2, our toddler decided that she still wanted her time solo time with mom and dad so she started waking up in the middle of the night and climbing into the bed with us. This took some adjusting and has since been faded, but even in the wee hours of the night my husband and I could not be alone. If you are expecting, my advice would be to savor every spare moment that you have now as it might be a while.
11. Your heart will be so full it will feel like it’s stretching!
Even with all of the madness, when you lay eyes on baby #2, just like with baby #1, you will feel a love that is so deep that your heart will feel like it is bursting at the seams. Just like with all great things, your life will change forever and it won’t matter because you’ll never look back.
Jennifer Welder is a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist by day, Wife and Mommy of one very mobile toddler and one very happy newborn by night. She loves snuggling with her princesses and then collapsing into a heap on the couch with her husband to veg-out with Netflix and some well-deserved vino. Jennifer’s blog can be found on www.bows4days.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bows4daysblog.