I’m Much More Appreciative Of My Second Child Because He Will Be My Last

mom with newbornMy daughter, who is now nine, was an “oopsie” baby. Come on. I know I’m not the only one who conceived while drunk. Anyway, now that I also have a newborn, after much thought and planning, it’s a whole different experience. I’ve come to realize that I appreciate my son much more than I did my daughter. This sounds sort of awful, but hear me out.

When I had my daughter, I had no idea what to expect, like all first time mothers. I really didn’t understand the sleep deprivation or how much a baby changes your life. Because I was ten years younger than I was now, I was still interested in having a social life and the fact that having a baby distanced me from some of my friends was hurtful. As was the constant noise, which I was not used to.

Mostly, what I can remember from having my daughter, is the sleepless nights, trying to get her asleep again once she woke up, and… um, that she had no hair. But this time around, having a baby almost a decade later, knowing that for sure this was going to be my last, I appreciate everything about him so much more. Even during pregnancy, I didn’t complain as much as I did the first time around. Yes, my back hurt. Yes, I had these awful leg cramps. And, yet, I couldn’t wait to meet the little man.

With my daughter, I can honestly say I wasn’t even interested in buying furniture or designing her room. Her father and I went to Pottery Barn, while I sat in a chair, and told the sales employee that we were having a girl and please just pick out everything we need. I was out of the Pottery Barn in an hour. Her room was decorated when I was in the hospital, by an interior decorator.

Don’t get me wrong. The second I saw her I burst out into tears, the good kind of tears, and that moment will always remain my favorite memory of all time. But ask me about any of her other milestones?

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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    • Sara

      Honestly, I don’t think the difference is that you know your son will be your last baby–I don’t think that’s why you appreciate him more. It sounds more like when you had your son, you were actually ready to be a mother, as opposed to when you had your daughter and weren’t ready yet.

      I do understand the shellshock of having a newborn for the first time. A lot of what you wrote about sounds familiar–my daughter (I just have the one, so far) is 13 months old now and I still remember the raw grittiness of sheer exhaustion, frustration with the endless crying and the horrifying suspicion that I was never going to take a long hot shower or sleep in again. (This turned out not to be true, of course; the colicky newborn phase doesn’t last forever and caring for a baby gets infinitely easier). But the thing is, as a first-time parent, YOU DON’T KNOW it’s going to get easier. I was so depressed and, yes, resentful those first couple of months because I assumed that this was now how my life would always be.

      And I was 30 years old, and my daughter was very much planned and hoped-for, and I STILL had all these issues. I can only imagine what it would be like to go through all of this and know that you didn’t even plan to get pregnant in the first place. It sounds like you’re just in a different emotional phase right now, one that’s more prepared for motherhood.

    • Angela

      I can relate! My first was very much planned and I was really excited to shop and prepare for a new baby, but after he was born I was so stressed. I was so focused on doing everything just right that I didn’t really sit back and enjoy him as much as I should have. With my second it’s so much more relaxed and enjoyable.

    • Rebecca

      I’m due in January with #3. My first two are 3+4 now. Even though I know this will be my last, this whole pregnancy has been a blur of the worst morning sickness I’ve ever experienced and near crippling hip pain. (I was recently diagnosed with RA and all I can say is “ouch”.) I seriously cannot get this kid out fast enough! Hopefully once I’m done with the pregnancy part I can slow down and enjoy the baby, but all I can think now is why did I think this was a good idea?!

    • chickadee

      I really hope you manage to keep your daughter from reading your columns for the next 20 years because some of the things that you say about her are more brutally honest than she may be prepared to deal with.