The hard, confusing, and very real feelings.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Although it wasn’t an easy start, I am so thankful and blessed to have my amazing, perfect, little family.
Everyone tells you how hard it is to go from one child to two…How hard could it be? Shouldn’t it be easier, since you’ve already done it once before? Maybe for some it is easier, but for me, it was SO much harder, and for so many different reasons. After having my first son, I did go through a little bit of the baby blues (click to read up on it) I was lucky enough that with my second, I didn’t experience that. However in my opinion, and this may come as a surprise to some, what I did go through, was far more difficult. Here is my story.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second son, I was over the moon happy. We were at my parent’s house for the weekend, and when you know, you know! I just had that feeling. I went to the drugstore and bought a pregnancy test. The test showed a very clear two lines and I did a little happy dance in the bathroom. It was everything I wanted; I knew this baby would be the perfect addition to our family. I started reading story after story about the transition from one kid to two, and thought, meh…it won’t be so bad. As my due date got closer and closer, my anxiety and fear started to grow…was this the right time? Was my son old enough and ready to have a baby come home? Was I ready to have a new baby? Was my marriage ready? Question after question would keep me awake at night (Amongst the heart burn, constant kicking (Man I miss that) and inability to find a comfortable position.)
Before the baby arrived, my husband and I tried our best to prepare our oldest for his arrival. We read him “I’m a Big Brother” books, and talk about “his” baby. He would point to my belly and say “baby!” We explained all the fun he would have with his new brother, and how he would get to help mommy. Closer and closer to the date, we moved our son out of the nursery and into his “Big Boy room” he watched us get the nursery ready and was happy to help. It was all so exciting, and were all eaerly waiting for the day to arrive.
At one of my doctor appointments, I was hit with the most disappointing news. I was told I would have to have another caesarean…I had worked so hard the entire pregnancy to try and avoid another one. I cried the whole drive home. This was the moment my emotions took a turn for the worse. Something just clicked in my head and I started to remember what the recovery was like after a C-Section. The thought of not being able to pick my toddler up for 6 weeks weighed on me day in and day out. I won’t be able to swing him in my arms as he runs to me with that adorable little giggle yelling “mama up!” I wouldn’t be able to swing him around his room kissing him before bed…It was at THIS moment that I realized he was no longer going to be the center of my universe, he was no longer going to be my only child, he was no longer going to have my entire heart, it was at THIS moment that I started to panic and feel regret… Would my oldest son resent me? Would he start to favor daddy over me? Would he still want me at all? Would his adorable little personality change? What have I done…I started to fear that I wouldn’t be capable of loving my second child as much as I love my little Bug, and I HATED that feeling, what kind of mother was I?!? These are REAL feelings… they are HARD feelings. Everyone tells you that you have more than enough love to give to all your children… but was it true?
I was planned to have the surgery on February 19th, however this baby boy had other plans, and in the middle of the night on the 15th my water broke. We called my parents who rushed up to stay home with our oldest. Before leaving the house I made sure to give him the biggest hug I ever had, because I knew this was the last hug I would ever give him as my only child. The next time I would see him would be to introduce him to his baby brother.
At 4:06 pm my second little man was born. I still remember hearing that first cry, and I can still remember the feeling I had… absolute love. I was SO in love with this little man, I couldn’t handle it. The tears were flowing! They placed all 9 pounds of him on me and I just soaked him in. Ugh. He was perfect.
It was a long, exhausting first night in the hospital, and all I wanted to do was go home. The next morning, knowing we would have to stay in there at least another night or two due to the C-Section, I asked my husband to go home to pick up our son so he could come meet his baby brother. And to be honest, I couldn’t wait any longer to see him. I missed him SO much.
When I heard his little footsteps running down the hospital hallway and heard that little giggle of his, my heart just burst. He came into the room and I had a hard time holding back the tears, I wasn’t even quite sure what emotion I was feeling. My husband lifted him onto the hospital bed and I gave him the biggest hug I think he’s ever received. He didn’t show very much attention to the baby, which was a bit of a disappointment to be honest. I was aiming for that all so famous “first time my toddler met the baby” photo shoot. That photo shoot certainly didn’t happen, and it didn’t happen for quite some time. This brings me to the next part…bringing baby home to a toddler. It would be easy, nothing to it.
I was SO incredibly lucky to have my mom stay with us for the first few weeks. She would drive up early Monday morning from Montreal and stay until my husband got home from work on Fridays. She was a life saver. I remember her staying up through the night with me because my son was the kind of baby who slept all day, and was up all night. I remember just falling asleep and hearing that newborn cry and feeling so exhausted, so frustrated, and then my mom would just take him, and let me sleep to recharge, it was great.
BANG. The world is hit with COVID-19.
No visitors allowed.
Everything shuts down.
Those first couple of weeks on my own were SO hard. I felt every single emotion possible. And this is when things took a turn in the wrong direction. I was exhausted; this baby would just not sleep at night. And the old saying “sleep when the baby sleeps” doesn’t work when you have a toddler to chase around.
The feeling that I felt the most? GUILT. GUILT. GUILT. I felt guilty 90% of the day.
I felt guilty when the house was messy, there was literally no time in the day to clean.
I felt guilty when I didn’t have a healthy meal to serve – or any meal for that matter.
I felt guilty that my toddler was having WAY too much screen time because I had little to no energy to do anything with him, because I was up all night with the newborn. (Not to mention COVID-19 wasn’t helping)
I felt guilty when I wasn’t spending enough time with the newborn, because I was spending it with my toddler.
I felt guilty when I wasn’t spending enough time with my toddler, because the newborn needed me.
I felt guilty the newborn wasn’t getting the right amount of tummy time
I felt guilty I wasn’t doing more skin to skin with the newborn
I felt guilty when I had to nurse my newborn instead of being outside with my husband playing with my toddler
I felt guilty for feeling guilty that I was nursing my newborn…And yes, that does make sense. If you know…you know.
I’ll never forget the moment where I knew something had to change…I was having an awful day. I had been on night 5 of no sleep at all and it felt like both of my boys were just crying every single minute, my toddler ate cookies for breakfast, I ruined lunch, I completely forgot to make dinner, the newborn was screaming while I was trying to change my toddler’s diaper, he tripped over his pants and started to scream and cry while refusing to put his diaper back on, and I lost it…I yelled. It was just one of those days. I dropped my favorite “World’s Best Mom” mug and it smashed to pieces while spilling coffee all over the floor. I was not okay. I had to talk to someone…I was crying a lot. I reached out to some friends who I thought might relate and felt SO much better that I did. They all reassured me that they too went through this and these feelings were normal to feel. They all said the same thing. IT WILL GET BETTER.
While trying to hold it together and not cry in front of my boys (ugh) I asked my toddler, with a cracked voice “Bug, how can I be a better mom for you?” He looked at me, walked over, threw his arms around my neck and gave me the biggest hug. That’s when I realized that in my son’s eyes, I am the perfect mom for him. And that is all that matters.
Every month that went by, things got a little easier. I had to realize that no, life can’t be perfect; I can’t expect everything to be easy, especially not this. I can’t expect my toddler to love his baby brother the second he comes home and couldn’t expect him to be the “best big brother ever” from day one. I had to accept the fact that a newborn will need me a little bit more then my toddler will right now, and that I have the most amazing husband, who devotes his spare time to helping out as much as he can. He and my toddler have a bond that is absolutely heart warming. I had to accept the fact that housework can wait. And it SHOULD. I had to get over the fear of missing out. I had to realize that my toddler will be OKAY if I don’t come on every single walk…yes, he would still love me.
Right now my son is just over 3 years old and my youngest is almost 8 months. I could not be happier. My oldest has turned into such an incredible big brother. He helps me all day long, and loves his baby brother very much. He brings him toys, holds him, gives him hugs and kisses all day long and tells me when baby is sad. I am loving every moment, and excited to watch this brotherhood grow. I am so lucky to have such sweet little boys, and grateful for a man who I am proud to call my husband, at the head of our Thanksgiving table.
Hoping you are all safe, healthy, and sending love to everyone.
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
If you are going through the transition from one child to two, and need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to chat! It is not easy for everyone!