Becoming a mum for the second time was NOTHING like becoming a mum for the first! For one thing, I was super tired the second time around, in a way I had NEVER been before.
Hear me, mama, I’m not talking about the love- the love is there. The joy, the awe, the excitement, the disbelief that another human just came out of your body- it’s all there, just like the first. But what is different is YOU. You’re already on your way to mumbie mode (OH THE SLEEP!) before baby even arrives and this shifts the lens through which you see what is going on around you.
And I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say this was me. It was like the game changed and I didn’t know all the rules.
I was used to sleeping when the baby slept – Nope, see ya later naps. Thanks Mr Toddler.
I was used to an independent little Mr Toddler – Nope, I’m the baby again. Hello regressions.
I was used to getting out of the house when we needed too – Nope, hello 40 minute breastfeeds, poonamis, and packing All. The. Things.
With all that said, the hardest thing about my transition into parenting more than one child, was the plethora of breastfeeding issues Mr Newborn and I experienced. I could not have had two more different breastfeeding experiences even if I had tried. Mr Toddler fed well, and after learning to breastfeed together, we got into a flow and it was simple. My breastfeeding experience with Mr Newborn on the other hand, is NOT one you want to tell expectant mothers about – it was dreadful and painful – and by night one, I knew something was really wrong (a benefit of been a second time mum, I guess).
My saving grace? I had a loving and experienced support system. They had prepared me, shared their stories with me and they picked up the phone when I called at 7pm on my newborn’s birth day. They held me when I cried, organised appointment for us, watched my toddler when, on day two, I was in those appointments. They cleaned and cooked for us.
Preparing myself to become a mother of two was the best way I could have spent my time leading up to my second birth. There was so much that changed, challenged and confused me, but I was able to fall back on what I had learnt during my second pregnancy, and it served to bring some clarity to those hazy first months. Been prepared with information about parenting more than one child and what that transition would be like, meant that the expectations I placed upon myself and my first born were loving and flexible. We were all adjusting and transitioning to this new stage of life, and we could do that with love.
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Dominique is a mama to 2 boys and Co-Founder of MummyCon.