For months I’ve been planning a post about what it’s like to have two kids. I think of great ideas and artfully put my feelings into words at the most inopportune times, like while I’m in the shower. Or while I’m driving to get Gia from school. Or, just as I’m about to drift off to sleep at night.
Yesterday I read an article (via Facebook) called 15 Things About New Motherhood That People Are Too Nice to Tell You When You’re Pregnant and I started thinking about being a new mom vs. being a mom for the 2nd or 3rd or 4th time. For new moms, that list is spot on. Maybe every single one doesn’t happen to every single woman, but, being a mom is hard, and people tend to gloss over that when you’re pregnant. Luckily, by time you have number two, you know what’s coming. This time I had no idealistic notions that having a 2nd kid would be easy peasy.
The truth is, being a mom for the second time is such a different experience and one I’m so glad I get to have in my life. You know that shocking feeling when you jump into a cold pool? Your whole body tingles and even though it didn’t feel that cold when you stuck your big toe in, plunging in with your whole body is a different story. That’s new motherhood. You think you’re prepared, and you are–as much as you can be. But, you never really know what it’s like to be a mom, to be responsible for another human being, until it happens.
The second time around is more like stepping into a warm shower. It’s familiar because you do it every day. But there’s still that moment when the water hits your skin and you feel it everywhere. It’s surprising in it’s own way. It’s like when you learn something new and then you’re asked to apply it to a different situation. Most times you can bridge that gap, bu somethings you can’t. You know all about newborns, but this is a different newborn, so things are just a little, well…different.
I changed when I became a mom and I felt a similar shift when Nicholas came along. I’m so much more confident this time. I listen to my gut and go with it. I’m not always right and things aren’t perfect, but they’re decidedly more relaxed this time around. My husband and I are a great team, too. The first time around it was a lot of “it’s your turn to change that diaper/wash the bottles/do the laundry”. This time we’re in sync. We pick up the other one’s slack without much discussion. We both know what needs to be done, and we do it. Happily.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about having a second baby is that, for a while, I thought I wanted even more. I’m an only child and I always wanted just one child. And then I had Gia and she was the prodigy of babies and I still wanted just her. I was happy for people having second and third babies in that “I love babies but I’m glad it’s not me who is pregnant” kind of way. But then something shifted and we knew our family wasn’t yet complete. Enter Nicholas — and it’s true what they say–you have no idea how your heart is going to love another child the way you love your first, but you do. You truly and deeply do and it rocks your world in the best way possible. And once those floodgates opened for me…they really opened. I thought, I have so much love for these two, I’d certainly have love for more. And, I thought that meant I wanted more babies. But when I dug down deep I realized it’s not more babies I want. What I really want is to stop time and keep these two this age forever because I love this part of my life. And since I can’t do that, I’ll just hope and pray and work really hard to feel this fulfilled by my life for a long, long time.