Four weeks with two children; lessons from becoming a second time mum
It’s been four weeks since we welcomed our daughter into the world. Four whole weeks since I’ve been responsible for two little humans. Four weeks since my body, heart and soul were cracked open to bring another life into this world.
As I sit here reflecting on the last month I thought I’d share with you the lessons I’ve learnt from becoming a mum for the second time.
1) Having a newborn is easier this time
If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you may have heard me talk about how apprehensive I was about having another chid. As I prepared for becoming a mum again I was filled with memories of how tough I found the first 6 weeks with my first born. This time I have found it so much easier I’m not sure how much is down to the fact that she seems an easier baby or how much is down to me being more relaxed this time. But what I know for sure is that I’ve been able to enjoy these first few weeks infinitely more than I did with my first baby.
I don’t freak out every time I hear her take a deep breath wondering if she’s going to stop breathing. I don’t freak out at the bizarre colour nappies. And I’m not living my life on google researching every symptom and advice known to mankind. I’m not worried that my life will now be taken over forever by endless breastfeeding sessions. I take comfort in knowing this stage will pass very quickly (despite how demanding it is at times) and I’m able to (for the most part) be in the moment with it and relish it.
2) Having a postpartum plan is life changing
Again if you’ve read any of my previous blogs or social media posts you will have heard me talk about how important it was for me this time around to prepare for my postpartum recovery. Like most mothers, first time round I prepared for the birth and the practical realities of bringing a baby into the world but not the physical, emotional and mental realities. This time around I had very clear intentions of what I wanted to do differently. I can honestly say all of those intentions have helped enormously. For details on what I’ve done differently with my daughter you can read my previous blog here.
So this time around I genuinely feel like I’m thriving as a new mum. This was absolutely not the case with my first child.
3) You don’t have to have the perfect birth experience for it to be special
With my son, my birth experience wasn’t great – I’d say at times it was traumatic and it took me many years to come to terms with this. So for my second child I really wanted it to be different. I ended up with an emergency caesarian section with my first birth. So for this birth I really wanted to have a ‘natural birth’ (what a term! Isn’t every birth natural?!!?) but knew from pretty early in my pregnancy that I would need a planned caesarian section due to health complications.
This time around when my daughter was born she ended up being taken to the High Dependency Neonatal Unit where she spent 24 hours – the first 12 hours of her life in an incubator. This meant I couldn’t have the skin to skin I had planned for in the very few minutes of her birth. In fact it was a whole 6 hours before I could even touch her! And 12 hours before I could hold her. Despite this, my birth felt very special and a wonderful experience. Something I wasn’t expecting to feel after it not being perfect.
4) Surrendering to babyland isn’t easy
It’s been four weeks since I’ve driven my car after my c-section operation. It’s been four weeks since I’ve worn a watch as I don’t want to scratch my daughter with it whilst holding her. So my normal life of clock watching and rushing here and there seem like a bit of a distant memory at the moment. The hours and days are rolling into each other. The first couple of weeks of being in this ‘babyland’ were actually really lovely. I had given myself permission to just ‘be’ and I seemed more able to surrender to babyland this time.
Now I’m in my fourth week I must admit my need to get stuff done and feel a sense of achievement at the end of the day are beginning to kick back in. Whilst it isn’t my natural preference and doesn’t come easily to me I am consciously choosing (as much as I can) to be in the moment and surrender to this precious time with my little girl. It’s not easy. It isn’t happening naturally. I’m having to mindfully remind myself that I’m only living in babyland for a short time.
5) There’s more love and less time
Before having my daughter several other mums were keen to reassure me that your love doesn’t divide with another child but multiplies. And they were right. I’m not sure if it’s just the oxytocin but we’re overflowing with love in our house at the moment. I fall more in love with my son watching him shine in his role as big brother and it’s brought out a nurturing side in him I hadn’t seen. The same with my husband. I know he was secretly hoping for another son but he’s been totally surprised by the deep love and connection he’s feeling for our little girl. Watching him fall totally in love with our daughter is just beautiful.
On the flip side my multitasking skills have upgraded a level! Making sure I give my son attention, time and care whilst attending to a new born is tough. It helps that my son is 5 years old so isn’t as dependent on me as a toddler would be. But diner time, bath time and bedtime with two children and only one pair of hands is still exhausting. I can’t help but feel a huge sense of achievement at the end of the day and I manage to get both children down and sleeping (even if for an hour) at the same time!
Also juggling a newborn with a demanding, force of nature 5 year old who is off school for 6 weeks is interesting to say the least! It’s testing my emotional control, especially with the inevitable tiredness that these first few weeks brings.
So my first month as a second time mum has been overall a much more positive one. I’m sure there are going to be some interesting times ahead with lots of highs and lows. Hopefully I’m a little wiser this time around to handle them with grace, self kindness and humour……but only time will tell and I’ll share how it goes.
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