Monday, March 4, 2019

Welcoming Baby #2: It will be okay, mama

If you missed my last post, I opened up about some of my biggest fears and concerns about welcoming a second baby into our family. As promised, I am coming at you today with some words of wisdom and encouragement from a couple of really great moms. They come from different states, different backgrounds, and different experiences, but both are great mothers who could teach us all a thing or two. I hope you might share with anyone you know who may be experiencing similar thoughts and big feelings about adding more babies to the mix.



Whitney C.

What can I say about Whitney? I have basically known her forever. There are at least a hundred ways we are connected, but the important part is, she has the best mama heart. She is a mother of four who loves just as big and hard as anyone I know, so I was over the moon when she offered to share her heart on the subject of welcoming a second baby into the family...  

You can follow along with Whitney's precious family on her Instagram account. 


That mom guilt doubled as soon as that second pink line showed up. Against all reason, I felt like I had completely betrayed our first born. Did he not fulfill me enough? Was I honestly that greedy, to assume I deserved another baby when so many out there are unable? What kind of mom is sad about getting to have another baby? Relentless layered guilt. The thought of my baby not being the baby blew my mind. 

“Feelings, and feelings, and feelings. Let me try thinking instead.” CS Lewis - A Grief Observed

That’s not a romantic quote, but it’s my favorite and has seen me through a lot of hard days. When I can settle my heart and use some actual logic, I have a chance. For example, I don’t know anyone who seriously says about a sibling, “I really could have done without that one.” Even those families with a sibling who has kind of made a mess of things in life, there is love. There is a bond. No matter what, your family is there to know you and love you, shortcomings and all. 

I wish I could say that one day I woke up and all doubts and guilt weren’t there. That maybe my hormones balanced out and there was that glowing motherly peace you see on Instagram. That’d be a lie. Even with baby number three, I secretly cried and didn’t even tell my husband for a week about the positive test. Like some how I was robbing the first two of their childhood, which is completely irrational. Those kind of thoughts aren’t helpful. They are not supportive of my vision for our family. In this world of so much hate and hardness, raising kids that love each other and support each other is a beautiful thing. 

I’m on the other side of the spectrum now. Our little girl is eight, and there were even two more added after her. I will have always loved our first born longest. His siblings have not taken away any of his special-ness. My love for him will be forever tailored just for him, just as theirs is for them. 

If I had any applicable advice, other than stop getting caught up in those weighty emotions, it would be changing something as simple as your language when talking about baby number two. This can alter your entire perspective. Simply switching ‘this’ or ‘my’ baby to ‘our’ baby in everyday conversation starts building those connections before they even meet. Involve them as much as possible with anything baby related. You are basically the world’s most important team builder. Stop only thinking of jealousy that might happen or sibling rivalry. Those will happen, it’s almost a guarantee. In the grand scheme, lows will not hold a candle to the group tickle fights, nerf battles, the bath tub full of babies, your dinner table bubbling with conversation and countless other memories that your mama heart will forever reflect on. Your home is undoubtedly in for such big changes, that warrants big concerns. But, it would be a huge disservice to yourself if you only got caught up in the worries and not all the eminent joy that will be added to your family.


Adriane H.

I have not known Adriane quite as long, but we hit it off from the start. I watched her become a mom, and she has done so with such effortless grace. She is the person who will make you freezer meals (when she has her own kids to care for), encourage and support you in all your endeavors, and plan meetups with other moms and kids where she brings lunches for everyone. Yes. She really did that. She knows a thing or two, and while her perspective might be a tad different than mine, it is just as valuable. I am so thankful she was willing to share with us all.

Adriane blogs at www.littlehousedairy.com


When you have three children -- each 15 months apart -- you have certain worries.

Sometimes they're sweet concerns, like whether you'll bond with your second child when you are so close with your first. Or you fret over whether there will be enough love to go around. Or you spend nights rolling your very pregnant belly around in bed, wondering how the first child will react to the new baby and if he'll feel neglected.

And sometimes you don't worry about those things at all.

I didn't have those concerns. Realistically, I figured the kids could sort their own issues out with each other, preferably in their college years when they got old enough to start making fun of us as parents. 

Girl, I was worried about something far bigger and more important than sibling love and a toddler's sustained mental well being.

HOW DO I GO GROCERY SHOPPING WITH TWO SMALL CHILDREN?

For real though. How do I get two kids in and out of the Aldi cart while trying to pay and bag my own groceries? How do I keep the toddler from running out into the Walmart parking lot while I'm getting the baby's cart seat out? What happens if I ever have to go to church by myself and try to wrangle both of them at once?

You know, important stuff.

But let me tell you: Regardless of what your worry is, you just figure it out.

You do.

Because no one else can do it for you. No one else can help your toddler realize that he is 100% loved whether he has one sibling or ten. And no one else can reassure you that you may have to catch your toddler by the hood when she starts to take off without your permission when you're out and about, but that you will in fact catch her.

So here's what you do: You just go do the thing that worries you. One day, you just load them both up in the van, and you go to Aldi, and you set your expectations really low (No. Like, lower than that.), and you just make that magic happen. And when you do, you treat yourself to an iced coffee at McDonald's on the way home because YOU DID IT.

Or you go to the hospital, and you have that baby, and you come home and love your baby every bit as much as your toddler who now appears to be roughly 32 years old when compared to her little brother.

And then, just when you have that figured out, you have a third baby. Three babies in three years. And you ask yourself all the same questions: How am I going to get THREE babies in and out of the grocery cart? (You're not. Walmart Pickup. The end.) How am I going to take all three to a doctor's appointment? (You're going to make the big two hold hands, use the stroller, and bring all the snacks your pantry currently contains.) How am I ever going to stroll leisurely through the aisles of Hobby Lobby again? (You're not . . . for at least five years. And you're going to be just fine. And your debit card is going to be fine-r.)

This is motherhood, ladies. We just do it. We lean in, and we figure it out, and we don't melt down (until the day is over and we can sniffle on our husbands shoulder from time to time), because we are moms and this is what we were made to do, and WE ARE DOING IT.

So you worry about your kids loving each other. I worry about which one I'm supposed to pick up first when they're all crying at the same time. And we figure it out. And we keep going.

Because we are moms.


And that is what we do. 

________________________________________________________


Stay tuned for another roundup post coming later this week. I am so thankful for this community of mothers encouraging each other in solidarity. The feelings that come with motherhood are big and sometimes hard to navigate, so it is such a blessing to have those more seasoned than ourselves to share their wisdom. Thank you, Whitney and Adriane

xo, 
Katie 








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