Being a new mom was a real shock to my system. I read Maria Guido‘s piece suggesting you remain childless if you’re on the fence about procreation and nodded at her every word. After motherhood cold-cocked me, I wasn’t sure I could get back in the ring again. But nature had a different plan for us.
Our second baby arrived 23 months after the first.Â Once again motherhood blew me away, but this time in a good way. Having two kids is far better than I could have imagined. The differences in the experience of being a mother for a second time started in pregnancy. I wouldnâ€™t necessarily say it was â€śeasierâ€ť because creating life is never easy.Â It wrecks havoc on your back and your bladder. As your belly grows, so does the insomnia.
But this time around, I was easier on myself. Having been through it before, I could maintain a better perspective. Too busy running after another child to worry about every little thing, the second time around was less stressful overall. I ate more cold cut sandwiches and didnâ€™t waste a single minute feeling guilty for not playing Mozart to the baby in utero. Iâ€™m sorry to admit that my second pregnancy lasted the entire 40 weeks, but this time I knew with certainty when I was in â€śrealâ€ť labor. After she was born, I didnâ€™t leave the hospital wishing one of the nurses would come home and help me figure out what the heck I was doing.
After gestation, the newborn phase was a breeze the second time around. I realized I had made the transition into new motherhood so much more complicated than necessary. By the time my first was born, I had spent nine months wholly focused on preparing for this child. I furiously researched baby gear, sleep issues, and nursing tips beginning the day the pregnancy test revealed two bright lines. With all that knowledge floating in my head, there was a whole lot of thinking, observing, probing, and questioning after he was born. Should he be looking so cross-eyed at this age?Â Do you think he is still hungry? Would you say that rash is bumpy or splotchy?
With the second child, I spend a lot more time doing rather than anticipating.Â Inconsequential issues were realized only in hindsight. Hey, when did she stop doing that weird thing with her mouth? I didnâ€™t rush to a reference book or doctorâ€™s office for every minor concern and instead I learned to trust my instincts without letting everyone else weigh in first.