I often get the question now, “So, is the transition to 2 harder or easier than 1?” In some ways, I feel like it’s a funny question. Like, of course taking care of 2 children (one being a child entering the terrible 2s) is more difficult than taking care of 1. When you add a child, no matter how many kids you have, you are adding another human being to take care of and keep alive! However, I am going to try and answer this question.
The transition to 2 has been in many ways easier than my transition to 1 child. The reason why?
When I had Logan, I had NO idea what to expect. It is so true that no one can prepare you for being a mom.
The sleep deprivation. OH the sleep deprivation. That was a whole new experience.
The difficulty of breastfeeding. I mean, who knew I couldn’t just pop the baby on the boob and be good to go? Not me!
The difficulty in my marriage. Having a child really changed us as a couple! What happened to our cozy nights holding hands and watching TV?
The constant changing schedules. “Why isn’t my baby sleeping? He slept all day yesterday! What’s wrong? Is he hungry, is he in pain, is he. . . ? I thought I had him figured out!”
Are any of those things easier this time? Yes and no. Yes, I am sleep deprived. Yes, I have already had many nursing struggles in my baby’s short 6 and a half weeks. No, I still don’t know how to figure out a baby. She changes every day. And yes, I have to work hard at keeping the love alive in my marriage.
But. I have perspective this time. All of these challenges. . . they do END. I WILL sleep again. Whatever nursing problem I am having. . . it will get better in a few days. Whatever Lilia is struggling with today, next month, she will be over it.
As far as my marriage, the transition to 2 has been much kinder to us. I really can’t even begin to praise Nathan enough for the help he has been. This time, we are tackling parenting as a team. Last time, it was every man for himself. Lots of selfishness on both our ends. We were armed and ready this time to prepare for this new change.
When we brought Lilia home, she was a bit of a mess. She would not let anyone hold her except me. She would not sleep in her bassinet or anywhere except my arms. I was scared to death of co-sleeping (Logan went into his bassinet right away, so this was new for me), so the first night, I went upstairs to a guest bedroom and basically stayed up all night with a crying baby, sucking desperately on my breast for milk that had not come in. Nathan came upstairs and tried to take her, but no – she only wanted momma! I did not sleep one wink.
The next day, I was a total mess. I was crying about everything. I grieved my former life. I told Nathan my fears and my thoughts. He kindly told me, “Stop grieving how things were. They will never be the way they were again. This is our new life. And this hardship won’t last forever.” He was right. And as I lay in the recliner that evening, missing my sleep and my bed, I cuddled my newborn and thought to myself, “She’s only days old. She doesn’t know anything except my voice and my body. She needs time to adjust to this new world. By even next week, she’ll be more adjusted.”
And I was right. Those first weeks are like a dream in a way because just a few short weeks later, things are so different. My milk came in and Lilia became a different baby. She is pleasant, calm, sweet, and of course adorable. She sleeps in a rock and play next to me instead of in my arms. I don’t think I would have ever had the perspective I had that night the first time. Experience and perspective have made this transition easier.
Lilia comes with other issues. Reflux. Bipolar nursing sessions. Short, short naps (lately). But you know what? It won’t last forever. I know this. I know this because I have been there already.
I already can’t imagine my life without my daughter. We have a unique and special bond. I already feel it. Momma’s intuition. She is the light of this family.
So if you are in the trenches right now, I understand. I’m right there with you. This stage is hard, no matter what people tell us. They mean well when they say to “Enjoy every moment. Because it goes so fast.” It DOES go fast. But, that doesn’t make those hard moments any less difficult when we are in the thick of it. God gives strength for the moment.
So, right now, I am relying on daily strength and grace and lots of coffee. 🙂 But, let’s be honest. Who isn’t?