The first 6 months of having two kids were the hardest of my life. In the two short years between my children, I’d forgotten how little sleep you can survive on. I’d forgotten what it felt like to be chained to a breast pump every three hours. I forgot how traumatizing childbirth is for your body. I’d conveniently forgotten how much equipment you need to leave the house just to run the smallest errand. I was really looking forward to seeing my oldest son as a big brother. I wondered how I could possibly love another baby as much as I loved him – but my heart grew another size the day I had my second son and I instantly had an abundance of love for both of them. Yet, I was shocked by how many of my other feelings shared equal time with that love.
I had a newborn that needed me around the clock. EXHAUSTION
I had a toddler who wasn’t used to sharing me. GUILT
I had a house that looked like a bomb had detonated in the middle of it. DISGUST
I missed my friends. LONELINESS
I kept comparing my post-baby body to people on the internet. SHAME
I missed the one-on-one time with my first baby. SADNESS
My sex drive had driven itself right over a cliff. FRUSTRATION
I kept wondering to myself, “Am I the only person that’s feeling all of this? I don’t remember any of my friends saying they struggled like this.” When we brought our second baby home and tried to settle into our new “normal,” I remember feeling like our perfect little family would never be the same. Sure, I assumed that having a second baby would be hard, but I was hoping for a little more Happy Days and a little less Game of Thrones.
I stayed in survival mode through the first few weeks. My husband was a huge help during the hours he was home from work but I was still completely overwhelmed. Right before I thought I was going to lose it for good, my baby started nursing more and didn’t have to eat as often. He started sleeping through his 2am feeding. My two year-old got the hang of potty training. One by one, things started getting a little easier.
Some time around the six-month mark, I started to feel like myself again. I had learned to balance the time between my kids a little better. I was getting sleep. I finally had a little bit of time to focus on losing some of my pregnancy weight. I could carve out nights here and there for book club meetings or dates.
I had survived the early days of having two kids. When I realized that my kids were doing well and my marriage hadn’t crumbled. I felt like Julie Andrews twirling through the Alps. I wanted to sing at the top of my lungs, “I did it!! We are going to make it!”
So, to you moms who are in the throes of a newly expanded family and it’s harder than you thought it would be, please know that you are normal. Your family will be okay. Things will get easier. It won’t always be this tough and YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB.