Before I became a mom for the second time, I felt a little more prepared to welcome another baby. We survived once. Surely we could do it again. HAH! Whether entering motherhood for the first time or the fifth, I don’t think you can ever be ready. I often joke with my friends that they are lucky I’m doing this whole mom gig first. I can warn them about everything from mesh underwear and squirt bottles to nights with ZERO sleep to those moments where you collapse into a puddle of your own tears at the end of the day.
Anna arrived three days post due date following a fast and furious labor. The entire pregnancy I thought I was having another boy. I will never forget Justin yelling, “IT’S A GIRL!” The love we felt when all 9+ pounds of our Anna emerged was both familiar and foreign. Our hearts had exploded this way when James was born two years prior. The love fills your entire body in a way that I just cannot explain. I can’t.
Another thing it does, something that so few people talk about? This love consumes you.
Sleep deprivation will crush you.
There were—and still are—days when I don’t know if I’m depressed or just dead exhausted. I’m certain that people can tell that my eyes are burning because we don’t sleep. Night after night. I did not expect the arrival of another child to rock my world harder than the first.
When your baby cries, sometimes it will feel like your insides are breaking.
You will panic and google things like “baby vein on forehead very blue.” Seriously. I googled that. I didn’t find an answer—probably because there is no answer. You’ll start making deals with the good Lord above—even if you haven’t talked to Him in years. “Please, God. Just make my baby stop crying so I can sleep, and I promise I’ll do such and such.” The crying or toddler tantrums will fry your nerves. Sometimes I’m convinced they will never heal.
There will be days you will feel trapped.
I look at the clock and think to myself, “How is it only 9:38 AM?! How am I going to make it through today?” Eating, sleeping and showering are luxuries that are still not consistently back in my life. I keep reminding myself that this a phase. But sometimes it feels like we will be stuck in it forever. I find myself wishing a particular stage would pass and then scolding myself for doing so. That is one thing I have learned about being a new(ish) mom. Constant conflicting feelings.
You will compare yourself to other moms—and find all the ways you are failing compared to them.
Don’t. They will post picture perfect stories on Facebook and Instagram and you just cannot figure out how they have it all together. Having a bad day or week? Get off social media. Leave Pinterest alone. Let your mind clear. Real life is and should be messy.
This heavy love will make you feel guilty.
You will feel guilty for just wanting to go to the store—or maybe even just sit on the toilet— alone and without someone crawling all over your feet. When Anna was brand new, I remember there were several times when I nursed her while trying to go to the bathroom. My son screamed at me because I was nursing her, and my two dogs were in the doorway staring at me. Are you kidding me?! Maybe you just want a day—or an hour—away. Maybe you just want that baby to shut up. You will feel guilty and maybe feel that should never have become a mom in the first place. You’ll feel that you obviously can’t handle it. And then you will feel guilty for feeling guilty.
It gets easier.
One day? Your screaming baby will smile. That sleepless baby will sleep. Your toddler will finally figure out the potty! Leaving the house won’t be such an impossible task. (Seriously, it’s like herding cats.) Car rides won’t be filled with screaming children but instead giggles and laughs. You won’t be spending hundreds of dollars a month on formula and diapers. One day, after weeks of not acknowledging his new sibling, your older child will sit down next to his new baby sister and touch her hand. Baby steps. One day at a time. One day, that all consuming love will lift you instead of burying you. Motherhood stretches you. It changes you. It brings you happiness that makes you feel like you are most certainly going to burst from the inside.
Having a baby is HARD.
Having another child? Wow. It rocked my world. My daughter turns one in just a few days, and life is slowly getting easier. Find the people who support you and don’t judge you. You need a mom you can vent to and say all those horrible thoughts in your head out loud. Find them. They will save you from this heaviness and darkness. Motherhood is tough, but so are you! It can oftentimes be thankless, exhausting, and selfless. You will pour your heart, soul, and energy into these tiny humans and have nothing left for yourself—and most certainly not for your spouse. There will be days you will wonder if it is worth it. It is.
You are doing a great job.
I constantly remind myself that the days are long but the years are short. Motherhood is filled with such joy if you allow yourself to rise above the dark days and find it. Remember that during your dark moments. The clouds will part and the sun will come out again.