In some ways, motherhood the second time around has been so much easier. Although my actual labor seemed a bit longer and more traumatic (Blow like a puffer fish? Really?! I still haven’t recovered from that one), I was far more relaxed around my newborn this time than I was as a brand new mom. The simple truth is that I wasn’t nearly as scared of Raegan when she was teeny tiny as I was of HD. That may sound bad, but prior to Harrison, I just did not have much (hardly any, actually) experience with babies. I was very much learning by the seat of my pants with him. This go, though, I was able to feel more confidant in my abilities to care for her. To nurse. To change a diaper. To get her to sleep. Now, these things have not been sunshine and roses 100% of the time (Hello, thrush? btw, typing that just now I wrote “Hell, thrush” the first time. How appropriate.) But the diapers & the swaddling & the stealing moments to just gaze at her beautiful face? I have been quite good at those tasks.
In some ways, motherhood the second time around has knocked me on my butt. I try to think back to what it was like with just one kiddo in the house and for the life of me, I can’t quite remember. I also can’t quite remember what it was like to be able to sleep when the baby slept. That just doesn’t happen the second time around because the likelihood that both children are asleep at the same time (even at night) is so rare. Why did I not take advantage of that the first time? Here I thought I had to clean the house and work out when Harrison was napping. Now I don’t have time for any of that or the main thing that I would like to do which is to just flop on the couch and veg a while. I mean, none of these are shocking revelations…. I knew we were in for BIG changes, but three months in and the magnitude of it all is still hitting me. Is it just me, or am I using a lot of violent verbs? Hmmmm….I must be worn out if my language choices are even reflecting the Great State of Tired.
In some ways, motherhood the second time around has exceeded my expectations. For starters, I got my little girl. Have I ever mentioned just how happy and surprised I was when my doctor declared, “It’s a girl!”??? I still thank my lucky stars every day that she is she and she is mine. More than that, though, I am astounded by how beautiful and unique both of my kids are. For as much as he may challenge me, Harrison also amazes me and makes my heart swell with love and pride when he does something nice for his sister or throws his arms around my neck for a hug and kiss or uses a word like “octagon” correctly. And Raegan? She is already such a charmer. She has the best lopsided grins and eyebrow raises that make everyone she meets grin right back at her. She’s also a little go-getter already, too. The fact that she can’t stop kicking her legs or rolling onto her side has me convinced that she’ll be chasing her brother around the house sooner than later. That will be so good for him (& me too – maybe I can watch from the couch!)!
In some ways, motherhood the second time around is just plain different. I don’t get the same one-on-one time with the new babe that I did with No. 1. And since I also don’t get the same sleep, I try to look at the bright side of those middle-of-the-night feedings with Raegan and enjoy the extra moments of holding her in my arms. With HD, I was so hesitant to nurse or rock him to sleep. Actually, we were adamantly against either practice. With Little Miss, I find myself doing both quite often. Part of this is survival mode. If it works, you do it because the world spins madly on and a sleeping baby makes for a happy baby (and mama). Part of it, though, is just love. I love to hold her and snuggle her, and if the middle of the night is when I get to do that, so be it. She is often so peaceful in those moments and even with my bleary eyes and bleary mind, I can appreciate the beauty of it all. Plus, before I know it, either she’ll no longer be such a little baby or this will no longer be just the second time around. Now wait, people. Do not read into that! No announcements being made here…just saying! Time flies and, God willing, kids grow. Thankfully so do parents, no matter what round they may be on.