One thing that I have learned as a parent is that life is changing, and it requires you to change and adapt to it. It took 6 years for us to become pregnant for the first time, and the second pregnancy only took a week! I was excited and didn’t overthink the pregnancy because I had just gone through this about two years ago. Nothing would be different, right? Man was I wrong.
From the get-go the pregnancy was so different. There was constant exhaustion, nausea, intense heartburn, more check-ups due to me being on anti-anxiety medication, corralling a 1 ½-year-old during the day, and still trying to things for me like reading and writing.
It was a lot.
Then our second little girl made her debut, and again, so different. I ended up having a hematoma; our daughter had to go to the NICU, I needed a transfusion. It was a lot to deal with, but we were able to leave after four days, both healthy and happy. My previous life, as I knew it was now amplified by 2.
After eight months of self-reflection, here are a few things that I wish I would have known before having my second kiddo:
Just like your heart will double, so can your anxiety. Don’t let it get the best of you. Speak with your spouse, your family, your friends. If you’re feeling anxious, nervous, or depressed, please don’t keep it quiet.
We’re all in this together; no one will think less of you as a mom if you’re not feeling giddy and happy from the get-go.
Remember, this is a huge life change, you’ve got another tiny human to care for, you’re allowed to have feelings.
As hard as it is to compare, be mindful of the fact that your newcomer will not take the same path as your oldest. My oldest was sleeping through the night after three months; it was blissful and amazing.
With my second …not so much. We’re at the 9-month mark, and there are still two or three snack sessions. Trust me, I know it’s hard not to compare. If your new baby isn’t hitting those milestones at the same time as your oldest, you may even start to worry, which adds to the anxiety I mentioned earlier. Just remember that every single baby is different. If you have concerns, be sure to speak to your spouse and medical provider.
Speaking of paths, don’t expect that you’ll do everything you did for your oldest in the same order or fashion.
By the 9-month mark, my oldest had already tried many different types of food. She was eating at least two meals at the same time we were, and I had elaborate, nutritious, and decorative meals made for her, check out my insta. With my second, not so much. She’s probably had about 7 different types of food; she gets her food made haphazardly as I try to cook dinner for everyone else at the same time, and it is not something that I’d share with others. I’m hoping to catch her up on solids and get her eating more meals with us soon.
Your oldest, be prepared for the following: they might revert to baby behavior, and they might prefer spending time with your spouse over you. It’ll hurt, especially if your situation was similar to mine where my oldest always wanted mama, as soon as the baby got here, everything was dada. Which is fine, they’re building a stronger relationship, but it hurt. I cried more tears than I probably should have, and even now, there are still instances where I think we’re ok and suddenly, she tells me to go away. She doesn’t want me bathing her, pushing the stroller, or even changing her diaper, she wants dada.
Speaking of dada, make sure you’re making time for you and your significant other.
If you thought you needed time together before, it’s only compounded when you’re both struggling to survive the day. Make a greater effort for date nights, afternoon getaways, or breakfast runs! Whatever floats you and your significant other’s boat, do it. Reconnect.
I’ve listed a lot of stuff that isn’t bright and shiny, but they are things that you need to know.
I would not take back the incredible love I’ve seen blossom between my two girls. The joy that my smiley, happy-go-lucky second born brings me. The fact that I’m so self-assured with her. That I feel like a superhero because I know what the poop face looks like or because I have a better idea of what to do when she doesn’t stop crying all night long.
I love the fact that I’m so confident in my breastfeeding skills and that I have a better understanding of the whole pumping deal. There have been numerous times where I forgot my cover (hello I’m responsible for two tiny humans and myself?!? I’m gonna forget things), and rather than panic, I feed my baby.
After having so many people see me in my birthday suit during two pregnancies and deliveries, I have no embarrassment, no shame, because I know this is what she needs.
Having a second baby has been an amazing, emotional, and beautiful adventure. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.
Photgraphy: Lindsay Herkert Photography
Lindsay is a San Diego native, living the Austin life for two years now. She loves outdoor adventures with her three children; Declan, Lexi, and Nate and her quick-witted husband Adam of 14 years. She has a passion for documenting life’s ordinary magic through photography and is a proud contributor and team member of Offset Artist and Click Pro. When she’s not taking pictures, you’ll find her running, doing yoga, drinking a chai tea latte or baking chocolate chip cookies. You can find more of her photography on instagram @lindsay.herkert