What to Actually Expect When You’re Expecting Two

Posted by in Travel Mom

Our good friend MotherInTheWild has just had her second, ten years apart from the first. New marriage, new baby, new ball of wax. She shares how she’s managed to keep her head up, while navigating two with grace

***

{Full Disclosure: This list is generated from a perspective (mine) that is coming from 10 years of singlemotherhood, continual attempts at blending families, my late-thirties, a miscarriage, and drenched in well-accepted mom-guilt. Maybe you have it made in the shade over there and you find me totally un-relatable; maybe you are pin-straight, met a stable, loyal man, got married, planned all of your pregnancies and had every one of your very wanted, very beautiful babies under 30. I do life sort of backwards, often visiting both extremes before landing somewhere safely in the gray. Take what you want or need or can from this and then peace me out if you must.}

Let’s get to it:

You’re pretty comfortable as a Mother-of-One before becoming a Mother-of-Two, right? I had been doing it religiously, every day and every night, for 10 solid years! I’d bonded with my firstborn the moment he entered my womb and when he arrived I was young, strong, brave and ambitious. I was certain that he was definitely the coolest and the wisest old soul that ever was. Together, we manifested a fun and fulfilling life for an entire decade! Then, one day, out of nowhere, I invited THE ONE into our world, a man who made my heart giggle in a way I’d never heard before, but it made my baby boy’s cry. Days after the official engagement we found ourselves procreating our infectious love and though I was eager to board, I had no idea what kind of rollercoaster I had strapped myself onto.

IMG_2765

Initially, after the shock wore off, I questioned if my body still knew how to do this ancient choreography. For practically nine months I had a difficult time trusting that indeed it did. I was convinced that I could suddenly and expertly read sonographic images and that my baby was gravely deformed because how could someone (me) get the chance to conceive and produce two perfect beings and enjoy doing it? It didn’t seem fair or logical. Also, how the hell was I supposed to know how to best help my original babe navigate through this inflicted transition?

This brings us to: Things They Don’t Tell You About Becoming a Mother-Of-Two

#1: Your heart grows and morphs and speaks it’s mind. Your brain and common sense barely have a fighting chance in the duel that keeps springing up when you least expect it. Welcome to the wonder-filled ride of becoming a Mother all over again. My husband (a first-timer) called it “hormones”. Whatever Dude. He may have had a point, but no idea how we, as mothers, must seemingly effortlessly create a new space that is as deep, as bold, as thrilling as the one that already exists and must remain protected. It mustn’t overshadow or be too dim. It must be the same, but different. Your heart will never ever EVER be the same. (nor will your boobs…but that’s for another day). You thought your heart changed when you first became a mother? Now it’s permanently linked to your brain in a weird entanglement because you have to hear both sides and make maternal decisions that don’t include just running away to the forest when things get strange. And your new heart-brain conspires almost against you, speaking in a dialect you haven’t even yet heard, no less understand. To recap #1a in the simplest of terms: GET A THERAPIST or a really patient and intelligent partner…You will go slightly crazy trying to keep your shit and your whole household’s shit from staining all the nice beige rugs.

#2: You will (momentarily) believe that your second baby is NOT as cute as your first one. This is a really tough one for mothers everywhere to admit…but most have to themselves, at least. Because I did not take my own advice and proceeded straight to #2 before doing #1a on this list, I relied on my closest cousins, and girlfriends and my own twisted thoughts to guide me. From the depths of my darkest days postpartum, when I found my newbaby v.2 whiney, ugly, and troublesome, I unflatteringly turned to my sister community and confessed my inner turmoils. I was floored when they didn’t gasp or pause, just cooly disclosed that it was “normal”. Um…come again? I get it…she looks different in photos, you don’t see what I see! I repeated my most embarrassing prenatal-fear-come-true and they simply said “yeah…I know…that happened with mine too…Don’t worry, it doesn’t last long.” And they were RIGHT! My second baby is so scrumptious and so nice and so happy…now…I actually like her.

IMG_7508

Part of it is feeling like you’re cheating on your first. Review #1 and the whole heart-morph thing. It’s REAL. If you don’t want a therapist, maybe swap our your beige for some grey rugs and a really good steam-cleaner. This shit shows when you least expect it.

#3: Speaking of buying good stuff: You don’t need all the newest baby gear. Trust your instincts. Invest or get brandnewsecondhand necessary quality items and keep it simple. Grab those rubber bins to store their future clothing in and have empty ones ready to pack away the outgrown stuff. Feed it when it’s hungry and let it sleep. **Disclaimer: This is NOT an article on sleep training, BUT if you didnt’t do it with your first, my suggestion is that now is the time to seriously reconsider that move. Guess what girl? It doesn’t matter how many years apart your two kids are or how great they are at napping anywhere. If one sleeps through the night, the other will need you at 3 AM. Murphy’s Mama Law. Give your children the great gift of being able to calmly get back to sleep independently so that you are as sane as possible come 5:30 AM, when shit gets real all over again.

#4 Make the damn baby book. Just do it. Every grown 2nd-child hardly has any keepsakes, yet their older sibling has a whole shipping crate full. Print your photos, glue them in. Record some firsts and funny memories.

#5 Take your firstborn on private dates. Simple. Make it happen. He’ll still need to know the Mama you once were.

IMG_1830

Pro tip: When you feel like you’re drowning…and you will…refer to #1a. Or get naked in a waterfall, a bath with candles or just by yourself on the shit-stained floor to stretch out. Write a letter to your future badass self and tell her how difficult it is at the moment and how proud you are of her for finding a way to DO ALL that she did. Order in food. Take the kids out for a walk…just a walk! And breathe. When you’re drowning you need air, right? Come up for all the air. Take long, slow sips of delicious, intoxicating air and let it swirl into your big brain-heart and your sore back and tired hands and heavy legs. While you’re doing this, notice your two shitrug-rats loving the fuck out of each other. Because it will happen. And your beautiful heart-brain will want to get on another round of rides. Just chill though…and breathe. This is truelove…just more of it.

Mother In The Wild is gearing up for her next trip to Costa Rica with her first born next month. You can watch her travels on Instagram @motherinthewild