2 weeks into life with 2. 2 of the shortest weeks of our lives. And we’re all still breathing, and for the most part, still smiling too. I’ve shared far too much baby spam over on instagram this last fortnight (in my defense I’ve been trapped beneath a nursing newborn for the better part of those weeks so scrolling absently and posting a lot was to be expected) but I wanted to share some thoughts here, too. Obviously its still super early days for our little tribe and tomorrow will be the first day that I’m flying solo (with paternity leave ending as of midnight tonight) but here’s a few things I’ve noticed in these early days as a family of four.
Your birth doesn’t need to go to plan for you to feel like a rock star.
I never made a secret that I didn’t want a repeat C section. I read the books, I practiced the breathing, I listened and loved my hypno birthing tracks. I fully believed in my bodies ability to birth this baby I had grown. But at the same time I completely believed that babies are born exactly as they need to be. And that each and every birth is extraordinary no matter what. That belief definitely helped me cope emotionally and physically when my lovely natural birth plan transformed into an emergency section. And even though our labor went pretty terribly, I honestly don’t look at it as this terrible thing. It really wasn’t terrible at all.
I thought that sense of empowerment would only come with a natural, unmediated birth. But in actual fact even after my section I still felt it. I can’t compare it to a natural birth but I still felt insanely strong, accomplished and frankly like a super hero following Etty’s arrival. I thought, so very wrongly, that I’d feel shame in having another section and the pain relief that comes with it and for ‘failing’ in my birth plan. But I couldn’t be more wrong. I bought a tiny person into this world. I’m bloody amazing for that alone!
Nothing will ever prepare you for your first. But your first does sort of prepare you for your second.
There is literally nothing in this world that can ever prepare you for your first baby. Because there is nothing like having a baby. (For me at least) That first baby is like a tiny adorable baby shaped bomb thrown into your relationship, your home and your every living moment. Nothing prepares you for that. The fourth trimester isn’t talked about enough; you think your baby is broken when it won’t go down, or camps out on your boob for 12 hours straight or cries for absolutely no reason. You suddenly understand why sleep deprivation was once a form of torture. Every cry in public you feel hopelessly guilty and convinced that everyone thinks you are the worst mother. You think you’re the worst mother. Nothing and no one is able to actually prepare you for all of that.
However once you’ve done it once, you are sort of ready. It all comes flooding back to you in that post partum haze. You know the forth trimester ends soon enough. If like me and the babies are close in age and your eldest isn’t too keen on sleep as it is, you’re already well versed in sleep deprivation. I never got back to normal in terms of sleep so this is just carrying it on. You’ve learned that your husband does have some uses and you don’t want to murder each other before the fun really starts. You know that the washing up will wait and won’t hurt anyone in the process. And once you’ve dealt with a toddler screaming for cake and throwing herself out of your arms or having to physically wrestle her into a stroller, screaming as though she’s sat on razor blades, with an entire coffee shop watching and genuinely passing judgment on you, your child and your parenting; you realize that tiny bleating cry of a new born actually isn’t so bad, and the general public seriously aren’t judging you. For the new born, at least. Suddenly those cries don’t instill complete panic in you, because, you have survived this (and much worse) already.
In short, for me personally, that the jump from none to one, is far more intense than the jump from one to two. You can’t escape that its double the work and half the time, but mentally, I just feel so much more equipped to deal with it second time around.
Your eldest will double in size whilst you birth your baby
Sure, I was in labor for a while, but Elin aged about 5 years in that time. And grew about 3 foot too.
Your eldests bum will also double in size
Seriously, changing Elin feels like changing a six year old. Her butt and her thighs are obviously completely massive and again, that 36 hour labor obviously saw them grow at such unprecedented rates.
You actually do okay on your own
James was lucky enough to actually have some paternity leave this time around (thank you fire service). He took these two weeks off which felt like a life time compared to the five days he allowed himself with Elin. And it has been lovely to be together as a family. I wouldn’t give this time back and I know how blessed we have been to have it together. But having him home has also shown me that, actually I do okay on my own. Its been completely lovely having him to help and take charge of some of the day to day tasks, be that house work, cooking, Elin’s general routine or cuddling down with Etty. But I haven’t relied on him nearly as much as I would have expected. That in itself is a huge confidence boost that I wasn’t expecting. Having him here is a wonderful bonus for all of us girls, but I’m also not panicked at the idea of doing it alone either. Suddenly my organisation gene has kicked in (only one child too late) and my energy has returned that I haven’t had since pre pregnancy. So the idea of being solely in charge of these two little people doesn’t completely terrify me anymore.
You really will love another equal to your first
Somehow, the heart just knows.
Like I say, its still mega early days for us. There will be so many minor blips or entire melt downs in the weeks and months to come. But at the same time I know we’ll all get through, because we have too. So here’s to our girls and this journey we are on, together X