After the birth of my first child last year, I started to feel like I could get the hang of this thing called motherhood. Sure it wasn't always a walk in the park, but for the most part my husband and I were doing a pretty good job with our son. This made me think about future children down the road and how long we would wait to expand our family.
As it turns out, both of us were interested in trying for baby number two sooner than later. With the goal of waiting until our son was at least 18 months to conceive, we ended up getting pregnant when he was only 8 months old. At first I was excited about the news, but as the months went on, I slowly began to think whether or not we were in over our heads.
Would we be ready for baby number two?
Could we dedicate the right amount of time to both children without neglecting anyone?
Ultimately, we had no choice but to prepare as much as we could. Our second son was on his way. Thankfully there are many women in my life who were able to give me advice, deliver harsh truths and help me cope with my fears.
"I'll be honest with you, it's not a walk in the park," said Leslie, a fellow workout enthusiast at my local gym. "I have three children and it never gets easier with each one. You have to remember they're individuals with different personalities. The best you can do is try your hardest to understand and meet their needs. It all works out in the end."
"I fell instantly head over heels in love with 10 pounds of perfection," boasts my friend Jacque, an assistant principal. After worrying whether she could adore another child like her first, she quickly dismissed the myth. One challenge Jacque does point out is the juggling act when it comes to splitting your time and attention between two children. "I was worried that number two would be relegated to a lifetime of adult therapy because he never got to pick the bedtime story, or his food was cold by the time I finished serving the first," jokes Jacque. "The verdict is still out on that one." Now the proud mother of five children, it's pretty safe to say she got over her fears.
One gal I was really interested in speaking with was a former volunteer buddy of mine. Teresa's children are 15 months apart, which really speaks to my situation given my sons will have a 16-month age difference. "I just had no idea how physically and mentally demanding two [children] would be," notes Teresa, a clinical psychologist. "My oldest still needed lots of attention and my newborn had sleeping and medical issues — so I felt like I never had a second to get my head back above water."
As fearful as I was about having two children — especially so close together — this was a reality I had to face. Sometimes it's best not to sugarcoat certain truths that might not be as rosy as you'd like. I know my husband and I will have our hands full, but in the grand scheme of things, it will all be worth it. "It took us a good six months to find our groove, and things have been much better since then," Teresa reveals.
Well folks, the time has come and gone to face the music. My second child is here and my heart couldn't be fuller. I'll admit I was a little worried about not having the same excitement I felt with my first child.
Thankfully I was wrong.
Becoming a new mommy for the second time was just as emotional as my first experience. Yes, it has been hard trying to manage time between a nursing newborn and the demands of a toddler, but we're making progress. I was so afraid my 16-month-old and I wouldn't have time together but we make do. Whether he entertains me in the kitchen while I cook meals or we head to his room for random playtime, the juggling process isn't impossible.
It's amazing how much "mommy power" kicks in that allows you to keep your energy up with an irregular sleep schedule, follow an energetic toddler and have more than enough room in your heart to appreciate the blessing of an expanding family.
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