I know that eventually some of these things will change, evolve, or dissipate completely. But I wanted to take a moment to honestly document what I was feeling in my first week after having my second child. A raw, unedited version of what I experienced in my first few days of being a mother of two. Here goes nothing.
I’m not talking about a “snap back” here. Frankly, getting down to a smaller version of myself is one of the last things on my mind right now. I’ve gone through this before and I know that the weight will come off, especially with the help of breastfeeding. I struggled with the physical toll that labor took on my body. Yes, I had a “quick” delivery. Yes I only did one to two rounds of pushing before baby came. But it’s important to remember one thing here. I STILL GAVE BIRTH. People tend to trivialize the amount of pain/work I went through to get to hard laboring at the hospital, AND the fact that I still pushed a baby out of my vagina, and I hate that. Nobody is handing out awards for the mother who endured the most or least amount of hours of labor. I still put in work, and the way my body feels is a testament of that. Nobody warned me about the after birth pains being five times worse after your first child. Well, none of my friends or family did. The nurse in labor and delivery gave me a heads up, and explained that round two onwards is worse because your uterus is more “elastic” after having a child so it has to work harder to get back to it’s normal size. I took this in, but figured if I could make it through contractions and labor, I was capable of a few stomach cramps after delivery. Oh. My. God. The pain is real. It felt like hard labor contractions, menstrual cramps, and a horrible stomach ache was overcoming my body simultaneously. Of course it worsened with every nursing session, which made the desire to do anything but curl up in bed and cry, very minimal. I was prepared for the aches and pains, sore and stiffness, abdominal cramps, and sore nipples from breastfeeding, but nobody warned that I would have to hand my body to the devil on a silver platter to be tortured. Recovering physically has been… rough to say the least.
Let’s be clear, I know I am blessed. I’m still mobile and I’m able to take care of myself and my littles, just not in the capacity and speed I’d like to. As I write this I am 9 days post partum and at times still moving at a tortoise’s speed. I rely on Nick for help with cooking and cleaning, but even that is difficult because I’m still up doing work more than I should. Not to mention he is going back to work next week. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself and overwhelmed by unrealistic expectations but I just wish I were me again. Its been so frustrating with being placed on bedrest at 31 weeks, that I’m ready to just get up and do the things I want and need to, without having to “take it easy” or being physically limited bc of body aches. I mean, if I were being waited on hand and foot it would probably make the resting phase more desirable, but because I’m doing so much already, I’d rather just have myself back so I can do it well. But I know the road to recovery isn’t always one without it’s bumps in the road.
I expected to be all over the place emotionally. Feeling guilty for taking time away from J. Wanting time and space for bonding. Surprisingly the raw emotion I’m struggling with the most is frustration. In wanting help. In not wanting people in my space. In not being able to skip “this part” and go straight to play time at the park and little adventures. In getting little sleep, in being the last to eat, in having to decide between a hot shower and missing the first half of my “show” (Cookie didn’t win that battle). In just trying to find balance in making sure everyone is happy but feeling like a failure at doing so. It’s all just so damn… frustrating! I find solace in knowing that –as cliche as it sounds– this is a fleeting feeling. It is only temporary. I know that tomorrow will come and I’ll have bigger fish to fry and more reasons to stay positive and hold on to faith. I know that my hormonal and energy levels will have balanced, and I’ll find better ways to deal. And I’m comforted in knowing that if I don’t, I’ll always have fudgesicles. (I had to do it.)
This has been the most rewarding part of the evolution. Watching J as a big sister makes me so happy. She can’t get enough of her baby brother. Not a cry goes unattended, not a moment goes by when she isn’t kissing him, asking to kiss him, or wanting to make sure he is okay. She tells him she loves him a hundred times a day. I feared for so long that I would fall short of knowing how to love another person as much as I love J. It sounds incredibly shallow when I write it out, but that is genuinely how I felt. How would I know how to “split” my love, time and affection? Everything changed when I saw my son’s face. It’s like our world just instantaneously shifted and I felt like I had loved him forever. Sharing or “splitting” the love I have hasn’t been a thought that has crossed my mind since. My heart is so full with these two in it, and I love them immensely. Since being home with the both of them, I’ve learned to appreciate them individually and together as my two babies.
At times I do feel like J got a crash course in being a big girl. I have to tell her, “no” and “I can’t right now baby” more times than I’d like to and honestly, its heartbreaking. Sometimes I just look at her playing by herself or reading quietly in her chair, and I want to cry. I don’t want her to feel lonely, or think that mommy doesn’t have time for her anymore. I don’t want her to resent the way our family has changed. But I remember how I would encourage her independent play when I was at home on bedrest, to prepare her for times like this. And though she loves being under mommy and daddy, she has really stepped up in terms of finding time to do things on her own as well. I try to take advantage of baby brother’s nap times to spend time with her– reading, talking, playing, watching movies, whatever she wants to do– just as I use her nap time to bond more with the baby or even get a little nap in myself. It’s not easy, I can’t even pretend that it is. But its rewarding.
My first week as a mother of two has been okay. Pits and peaks, highs and lows, but all the while humbling. I am so happy that I have a beautiful son that was born happy and healthy; he is such a precious baby and he is pure perfection. I’m so blessed to have a smart, free spirited, beautiful girl that calls me mommy. Together they are magic and they make me such a proud mother. When people ask me how I’m adjusting, I don’t really know what to say. I’ve only been here just over a week. It’s exciting. Frustrating. Perfect. Overwhelming. Loving. Scary. A blessing. Tiring. Sometimes it feels like a game of ping pong or a tag team wrestling match. Just as I think I’ve gotten a breather, it’s someone else’s turn to need mommy. I know it will most likely be an emotional roller coaster from here on out, and that’s okay. One thing that I keep telling myself is that, “its not the load that breaks you down, its how you carry it.” I’m praying that as I continue in this journey of motherhood, that I remember that and remain inspired by it. I pray that I continue on a healthy path towards being a better person for myself and my children. Lord knows I need the positivity and good energy to keep me close to my faith, sound judgement and patience, happiness and health and my sanity!
A new mother of two