Becoming a mother of two is a major transition and it can take a while to adjust to this new rhythm, it can also be very overwhelming and that's OK. It's not just OK it's normal. Some mothers claim to have simply strapped their new baby into the carrier and continued with day to day life and that's wonderful, but it often isn't the norm.
I remember when I was pregnant with my 2nd son I would hear statements like, " You must feel like a pro now, this will be a breeze"
A pro...Seriously?? I had only been a mother for 3 years, I definitely did not feel that I had achieved pro level just yet, in fact I was still feeling a little lost in my mothering. I was 22 and living in a new city, I didn't have any mother friends let alone mother friends that had two or more children. I just couldn't imagine what life with a baby and 3 year old might look like and would my son be traumatised if he had to witness me in labour? I tried to reassure myself by imagining all the mothers out there with two or more children and attempted to draw from the wisdom of the mothers I managed to catch at the nursery gates. I would usually receive answers like, "Oh you just get on with don't you." Do we? I thought, well we must, but how? How did these mothers find the extra time, the energy, the abundant mother love love? How could I possibly love this baby as much as my first born? I would experience feelings of mourning and guilt, oh the guilt! It would come in waves. Isn't guilt just the most common motherhood feeling of all? And most often so unnecessary!
Being pregnant while mothering and working was a challenge in itself. It was a lot more exhausting for a start. With my first pregnancy I had so much more time. Time to nap, rest, recharge, daydream over long lie ins on the weekend, spend time connecting with my love over dates and days out. I had free time to plan and shop for the baby. With a 3 year old and a job, forget it! Though I did experience some incredibly precious pregnancy moments with my son, we would lie in bed or on the sofa and he would sing to my bump, read stores to it and play music into it. His sweet rendition of Paul McCartneys blackbird was a soothing balm to my anxious motherhood mind. I treasured these tender moments (still do) and loved seeing this side of him grow.
My mind would often wander to how I might cope with life as a mother of two. I would imagine scenarios I might find my self in (so unhelpful) I would also have anxiety inducing flashbacks to my first birth and postnatal experience. This was balanced out by some sweet and tender times, us three together slow dancing to the ever growing birthing playlist. Our first born nestled between us as I reassured our baby. "Hi baby, do you feel this? You are so loved and so welcome. I may not be a pro exactly but you are so very loved, we got you." And then the day came, the labour I had worried about was totally manageable, I did not feel scared at all once I was deep in labour land. I danced and laboured alone though the night, I shared the morning with my son and we danced and played hide and seek, it felt totally normal. He fed me grapes and sips of water, tenderly stroked my face. He turned out to be a wonderful birth companion and I very much missed him when we transferred to hospital. I was also surprised by the overwhelming rush of love I experienced for this new baby the moment he was placed in my arms. Sure I kind of spoiled the moment by asking "What's wrong with his face?" (Nothing by the way, he had just chilled out in the birth canal for a while) I hadn't experienced it with my first birth and it was totally euphoric. In the first few hours after my baby came earth side I was met with waves of love, euphoria, grief and guilt, it was a lot of feelings and lots of tears!
The next morning I was happy to hear my sons familiar little patter down the hall, I needed to hold him so much and the sight of him was so incredibly healing. The moment he met his little brother is one of my most precious memories, the pure love, joy and fascination across his face. was just perfection. I wont lie the adjustment to life as a mother of two was hard for me. It was exhausting and emotional, very little sleep was had and I struggled to leave the house. I had very little adult contact during this time but lots of love was received and given. I put so much pressure on myself to resume regular service and it was not realistic at all! The day I decided to start saying yes to offers of help was a big turning point. It turns out that when people offer to help you they often mean it, so say yes and ask for what you need mummas! 3 things saved my sanity during this time. Freezer food, a lot of TV and my mother in law, she would quite often bring me groceries and do my laundry and you know what in a rare turn of events I dropped the guilt! This postnatal season for me was messy, tiring and emotional, to be honest a bit of a blur. I noticed some things though, my 3 year old could entertain himself for longer periods of time and he was a very loving big brother, watching him develop into a fun, imaginative loving little boy was a total joy.
Baby wearing was a game changer, life began to slowly regain some kind of normality and I could start to venture out into the world again, gradually I was able to do some of the things that gave me joy before like cooking from scratch, baking and doing arts and crafts with my 3 year old, all while wearing my baby! Things do get easier, I found that patience and self kindness are key. My sister would occasionally come and stay with me and I welcomed the adult contact, it made leaving the house a lot easier. On one of these outings we where in the car, it was raining and we where stuck in traffic. My baby was screaming and my 3 year old was becoming frustrated and impatient. I calmly pulled over, put the birthing playlist on (the baby soother) climbed in the back and breastfed my baby and hugged my 3 year old while we sang along. We where interrupted by a loud rap on the steamed up window, with no free hands available my sister wound it down for me to find a police officer checking to see if all was well, I explained that I had to feed my baby but yes all would be well. He was very flustered and promptly apologised for disturbing us and excused himself! I wondered to myself, "is this what pro level motherhood feels like, have I cracked it?" There would still be lots of sleepless nights, meltdowns and wobbly moments to come but right then pulled over in the car, breastfeeding in a thunderstorm I felt like I totally had this. New born mothers of two, you may not feel like it but you have got this, Be kind to yourself, we are all in this together, this messy amazing motherhood journey!