A friend from college recently had her second baby. She posted to Facebook this morning – “Being a mom of 2 is no joke on your emotions. It’s a rollercoaster….”
Instantly several seasoned parents were quick to step in with messages of “just wait!” And “it will get worse!”
Why do we do this? Even if we really believe this to be true, why do we say this to a postpartum woman whose world has just been turned upside down?
I will never forget one evening when Tony was at work. Lucy was 2. Clara was maybe 2 months old. I was trying to eat something in the kitchen with Clara in my arms, because she refused to be put down. Lucy was in the living room with babysitter, Dora the Explorere. She ran into the kitchen screaming, blood gushing from her little foot. She was too hysterical to let me look at the cut on her toe. She had somehow found a picture frame, pulled it apart and cut her foot on the glass piece. When I finally laid Clara down on the kitchen floor (cue screaming) Lucy was somehow JUST as scared of bandaids, all of the sudden, as she was of her wound and bloody mess.
Both were screaming. I was already fragile, sleep deprived, and overwhelmed by trying to keep a toddler quiet for naps and an infant packed and ready to go to so I could keep up with her big sister.
I felt sorry for myself as I joined them in their crying on the kitchen floor. In a small pool of blood.
Lucy had my undivided attention for over two years. I felt guilty as I had to tell Lucy she couldn’t be on my lap while I nursed newborn Clara on the couch. She cried and I couldn’t console her. And you know what? She adjusted. We all adjusted.
It was while crying on my kitchen floor that I realized I could either be a victim or I could expect and accept some chaos. I was now the mom who people stopped to tell me how full my hands were every single time I left my house. I was now the woman with the screaming baby at the Target checkout with the toddler yelling, “Mommy! Just give her the breast!” (Yep. That happened.)
In my experience, as a mom of four, my hardest transition was going from mother of 1 little human to 2 little humans. It’s a tricky balancing act with two (usually very different) developmental stages, nap schedules and personalities to manage. I still feel when you are outnumbered 2 to 1, it’s hard to find your bearings that first year.
The mom guilt is real. And learning to divide your attention between multiple children is real. When you see a new mama of two, tell her it gets better. Because it does. She will learn to adjust to stretching herself to meet the needs of several babes. And if she’s crazy enough to have more, I hope she will find the transition just gets easier.
Which motherhood transition was the hardest for you? Was it adjusting to having any babies at all? Twins after having one? Was the newborn phase hard for you but you loved toddlerhood? Please share with me!