When I discovered I was pregnant with Maddox, my second baby, I did what any rational woman would do and avoided prepping, nesting, and ultimately thinking ahead in any way all together because that makes sense. It wasn’t that I loathed my pregnancy. I was thrilled! I’m one of those weirdoes that love to be pregnant. Plus, J and I want three or four kids, and we’d like them close in age. To be honest, I think I was still shell-shocked from Archer’s (my two year old) infancy. He was…difficult. Let’s just say he was difficult. When I found out I was pregnant with Maddox, Archer was only 13 months old. The wounds were still fresh, my friends. I was nervous.
Part of me also felt like, "Hey! Two boys born at around the same time! Everything will be the same! I don't need to do anything!" Simply put, I hadn’t prepared myself beyond the basics (car-seat, co-sleeper, breast pump, etc) because I felt like the experience would be the same. I was also, in a small way, afraid things would be the same. That I'd repeat the same mistakes and failures. That I'd feel overwhelmed and helpless.
I was, and am, surprised by how different everything is this time around. How different my boys are, how different the world is, how different I am. I mean, they’re only 22 months apart! How can some of the rules already have changed? How can I be so different? In fact, I think the biggest difference is, well… me.
I feel much more comfortable with myself as a parent. I’m not nearly as insecure as I was when Archer was a baby. Back then, I was constantly second guessing myself and doing gobs of research on everything. I don’t think I made a single decision without consulting an “expert.” Now, I realize that when it comes to my kids, J and I (and the pediatrician) are the experts. No one knows them better than we do.
I don’t take crying personally, anymore. With Archer, every sob made me feel like I had failed in some way. Like I was doing it wrong. Now, I know deep down that crying is simply the most effective way babies can communicate. It’s okay if I don’t immediately know why he’s crying as long as I’m trying my best to figure it out. Do your best. You’re kids know that you’re trying.
On that note, I’m not afraid to go out in public with the baby. If he cries and people see it, then they see it. Most people understand that babies cry and if they don’t, then you just taught them a very important lesson about the world. Good for you! If they judge you then they judge you. I promise that it’s okay to be judged by complete strangers in Target. You are doing the best that you can. Now, go pay for those adorable baby shoes you scored on clearance and pour yourself a small glass of wine. Tomorrow will be better.
Speaking of better, I’m much better at nursing in public. In fact, there have been a few instances where someone has approached me to ask a question and was completely oblivious to the fact I was breastfeeding. Stealth-mode, y’all. I got this.
Also, I am now a total expert at multi-tasking and nursing. In fact, I’m breastfeeding while I’m typing this. Skills. However, I think I may be developing carpal tunnel in my thumb. Boo.
This go around, I’m much more willing to ask for help and take time for myself. J and the kids deserve a well rested, happy version of me. I’m a better wife and mother when I’m not overwhelmed and frustrated. I deserve to have fun and relax. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you’re human and not a Fem-bot.
I think the most significant way that I have changed, is that I’m really making an effort to enjoy my baby. It goes by so fast! Even the hard parts are bittersweet knowing that they will be gone in a matter of weeks.
Do you have more than one child? How have you changed with each baby?
*Beautiful image found here.