When Jack was about four months old, we were driving in the car and I was sobbing. I wanted Jack to have a sibling but I just couldn’t comprehend how I could possibly go through the baby stage again, much less with another child to take care of at the same time. And I felt like a failure and like I was missing something that other people just got. And Spencer said “I know. I don’t know what we should do.”
And I know that maybe most other new parents don’t have the same experience that I (we) did, at least as far as the extreme feelings of drowning, but it seems like most of us, caught in the midst of sleep deprivation with spit-up on our shirts and “how to prevent SIDS” pulled up on Google, probably wonder “how do you do this when you already have another kid to worry about?”
Then your baby turns one and he can eat whatever you eat and he can play by himself and sleep through the night and you take a big dang breath because now it’s easy. You could have twelve kids if they just came out like this! And so clearly, now would be the time that you realize you can have another one. At least that’s how it was for us.
And here’s some good, good news, my friends. Number two has been a hundred thousand times easier. (Having two is definitely not easier than having one, obviously, but the second baby is easier.)
There are a bunch of reasons it’s been easier for me personally, I think, but mainly it’s because now we know what we are doing. Now we know what to expect. Everything isn’t just like a tidal wave of hard, surprising change. So, I hope that’s reassuring for my one-baby friends who are scared to try for a second child. Your lifestyle is already adjusted to parent-mode when the second baby arrives.
Another major reason why I haven’t died yet is because I’m getting sleep. Not normal human sleep but much better than with Jack. And if I learned anything from Jack, it’s that my brain gets really sick when I don’t sleep. So, Spencer hatched this great idea where I sleep from 10-2 in the guest room while he has Case duty and then he comes and gets me and I take it from there. This ensures that I get four consecutive hours. We did this the first week and I was terrified that he would take it away when he went back to work but he is hanging in there with me. Not only is the sleep helping, but I feel so loved and supported, like I have a teammate in this. He is really being a rockstar. And it’s a good thing because I don’t know what poor Jack would do if I was zombie mom.
There are still days when I get worn down but for the most part, I can make it through the day and accomplish the basics. So I really recommend this method of sleeping in shifts if you can talk your spouse into it.
And of course, being back in my hometown has helped because I don’t feel so isolated and I can usually find something to do when I just have to get us out of the house.
My anxiety has been next to nothing. I haven’t had to take anti-depressants (yet but I feel confident). And I really didn’t even experience baby blues except for one evening when I couldn’t stop crying. But that was clearly hormonal and was gone by the next day.
So all in all, this has been a much more relaxed experience than I could’ve imagined. I was really expecting it to be a really bad five or so months but the first time was much harder. There are some challenges with having a two year old and a newborn but we are navigating pretty well, I’d say.