Two kids. Woof. Am I right?
I’ve been simultaneously wanting to write this blog and also putting it off for quite some time now. I want to write it because I want other moms to know that it’s ok to feel like shit, or feel like you’re not doing a good job, or feel like you’re gonna lose your shit. Hormones are a bitch. Ok, enough foul language. I’ve also been putting it off because I feel like this one’s going to be a long one, and I’m not sure how well I can put into words what that experience was like. Also, I’m sure about five thousand other moms have written similar blogs. But I’m too lazy to do a quick Google search to corroborate; and I don’t want to see that my blog post is completely unnecessary, haha.
I noticed from the very beginning of my pregnancy that things weren’t going to be as rose-colored and full of excitement as they were when we were pregnant with Jake. I was apprehensive during most of my pregnancy: how will this new baby change our wonderful dynamic? How will this affect Jake and all the love and time I’m able to give him? I was almost jealous of the baby FOR Jake, which is crazy, right?
Then there were the challenges of being pregnant but not having the down time or comforts I had when I was pregnant with Jake. Back then, we were living with my in-laws, and at the beginning of my pregnancy I was self employed, so lots of down time, and no need to cook or clean or anything other than keeping myself and this growing baby alive and healthy. My pregnancy was a piece of cake! When I did start working, I would come home after work and fall asleep on the couch while my amazing mother-in-law cooked dinner for all of us. Are you jealous yet? I don’t blame you….
This time, I had a house to look after, a toddler to run after, and a full time job that required a lot more energy. I just didn’t have the time or energy to really take it all in and enjoy it. The things I loved about my pregnancy with Jake were almost a hindrance with my pregnancy with Josh – feeling Josh move around constantly was at times just uncomfortable and got in the way of getting things done at work. Not to say there weren’t also times when that happened that I also LOVED-usually at the end of the day when I was sitting on the couch next to Jeff and we could both just live in the moment for a sec.
I remember so clearly and vividly the moment when I was saying good bye to Jake right before we went to the hospital to have Josh. I started crying immediately. I’m getting teary eyed right now just remembering that moment. He was so clueless about what was going to happen, but I was so, so, SO aware of how different things would be the next time I saw him. I knew it wouldn’t be all about him anymore, I knew I would never have that kind of undivided attention for him anymore, and it broke my heart.
And I was right. When Jeff brought Jake to the hospital to meet Josh, I was a nervous wreck. Granted, I had just gone through some pretty crazy shit giving birth to Josh (sans epidural, without choice, haha), and I had this tiny little baby in my arms that I was trying to connect with and bond with, while also trying to keep a 2.5 year old from squishing him to death. I was painfully relieved when Jeff took Jake home. We had to stay in the hospital under observation for an extra day, and although that felt like eternity, in retrospect it was great because it was the only true quality time I had to spend with Josh, ALONE. I got to stare at his face and hold him and squeeze him and stare at his face some more.
Then we got home. The hormones. Geez, the hormones. So the hormones made me feel like a crazy woman, I thought Josh hated me–I would spend all day feeding him and changing his diaper (and Jake’s, we were in the middle of potty training, which let me tell you…NOT good timing, haha), and get nothing, then dad would get home and get the biggest smiles. Let’s just say, that didn’t go over very well with me, haha. I found that with all the distractions of toddler and home, it was really hard for me to connect with Josh those first few months. It makes you feel like a terrible mother, honestly.
And man, the guilt. THE GUILT. It’s awful. I felt just awful that Jake had to wait, and hold on, and I have to do this first, and Josh needs, and I have to change Josh’s diaper, and “Jake, why are you so whiny?!” (in retrospect, it was pretty obvious why he was so whiny).
I remember having to go on nap drives for Jake–he wouldn’t fall asleep for his nap any other way. So I would have to drive around and around, which, you know, was inconvenient and a waste of gas, but doable. But with a newborn, it was madness. Josh wasn’t quite used to the car seat, and wasn’t as fond of it as Jake was when Jake was a baby. So from the moment I got them in the car to the moment I got them out, my back was so tense from stressing out and trying to keep Josh calm long enough for Jake to fall asleep. Once Jake was asleep, then I had to get them both out of the car. I would unload Josh first and leave him in the living room while I got Jake out and put him in his bed, at which point Josh would already be screaming for me to get him out of his car seat, and how, oh how could I leave him there for two minutes?! Oh man. Come to find out after I went back to work, that all I had to do was ask Jake to take his nap in his bed, and apparently that would have resolved that issue, ha!
Bed time was tricky and extremely difficult for me for the first two weeks, at least. I used to put Jake to sleep, but it was so hard to do when it was also the winding down time of the witching hour and Josh was super needy for me. I remember laying in bed with one baby crying and the other clinging to me and trying to get on me, and looking at Jeff who just didn’t know how to help (there was really nothing he could do), and I remember looking at him and silently crying and saying “I can’t do this.” God bless that man for keeping me sane.
Bed time was also the culmination of a long day of being sleep deprived, and looking forward to another night of waking up every two hours (that part hasn’t changed much, nine months later). I had never experienced that kind of sleep deprivation before, and how it just messes with your mind, not to mention erodes your patience. With the first kid, you can usually sneak in some naps with him or at least take it easy during the day. But when there’s a toddler running around, that’s not quite an option anymore. So you just keep going and going and not sleeping and not sleeping. It’s no fun for your body!
In October we went camping around Lake Arrowhead for a night, and I don’t know if it was just being away from the house and chores and not having so many distractions, but I remember coming home and realizing that I finally felt a good connection with Josh. I had spent a lot of time with him in a ring sling or the carrier, so maybe we just had some good bonding time, but I definitely see that as the turning point of things. We definitely have a routine now that helps keep us all sane, although it’s also a little INsane to do the same routine day in and day out, but I can honestly say that I can’t imagine my life without both of these boys. Josh is full of smiles and giggles and rolls, and Jake is the sweetest and kindest big brother, even if he’s not fond of sharing his toys.
It still breaks my heart a little bit when Jake goes to Jeff for something that he normally would have asked me for, but I can’t blame him for it-I’ve had to turn him away so many times because there are still things that I have to do for and with Josh, that just don’t allow me the time with Jake. I do miss Jake terribly at times, and although I’m in love with Josh and love my moments with him, I’m looking forward to the day when Josh is old enough that I can split my time with them a little more evenly.
So this was the bad and the ugly, just so everyone doesn’t think it’s all roses and butterflies, BUT, the bad and the ugly don’t last forever. One great thing about this being our second child was that we KNEW, with absolute certainty, that that stage wouldn’t last forever. The witching hour evenings wouldn’t last forever. The up all night feedings won’t last forever (although that’s gone on way longer that it should have). The hormones won’t make you feel crazy forever. And as long as you can keep your eye on that faint light at the end of the tunnel….you’ll be rewarded with sunshines and butterflies for days on end.