When it came time for the birth of my second daughter I had the attitude of like “bring it on”, ok well more like “get this (sunny side up, 10 lb. ) fricken thing out of me”. I had seen the good, the bad and fricken awful the first time around so nothing could rattle my cage of calmness.
Ok so I didn’t have that much swagger, but I did have an inner knowing that I (my family, birth doula and friends) could make this one go a lot smoother. But I was different to the core, I had mom-confidence or coin Paula Spenser, I had momfidence! My momfidence was not about knowing everything will go perfect instead it was about knowing that I could handle whatever birth, breastfeeding, return to work sadness or weird kid thing the universe threw my way.
For comparison here is what I wanted with daughter #1: Get out of the hospital after giving birth early so I could get home. Daughter #2: Stay in the hospital as long as possible…they give you drugs and you get breakfast, lunch and dinner IN BED!
Here is why being second time mom is so much better than the first time around:
You can deal, way better. You can simply deal with stuff (oh, and there is plenty of maddening, emotional, joyful, crazy stuff) a whole more grace. You have the momfidence to say either “I’ve been through this” or “I’ve been through –THAT—so I can handle anything.” Your first one broke you in (literally and figuratively) so why not use it?!
You know more AND you know when to ask for help. This is a double whammy because you certainly didn’t read a single page of “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” this time around but you do have a better ability to tune into your body AND trust yourself. And that maternal wisdom merit badge takes level two of mamahood. Level three is knowing that you don’t know it all! First time around I felt lonely, ashamed and even hopeless when I didn’t know what to do with my boob or baby issues. Second time around I was like Sherlock Holmes on a case to find the answer. I had better resources like Kelly Mom and a strong mom tribe to help find answers.
You get to enjoy being a mom sooner! There is so much to enjoy with an infant on maternity leave. So much freedom to go and get out into the world. I still feel queasy when I think of the first time leaving my house alone with my daughter to go to a breastfeeding support group. Second time around I was a public breastfeeding ninja! I never realized to later that infants are actually easiest to travel with. Getting out and finding playdates are super necessary for your sanity, too. Use the MomCo app to find playdates and services for baby in your neck of the woods.
Everything will be ok. I had an attitude makeover the second time around. Since I’d been through the ringer the first time, I knew that crappy stuff arise but are only temporary. This is still an attitude I have today…and it helps me in all areas of my life.
Ok it is not all roses and snickerdoodles. Here is what is more difficult the second time around:
Divide and multiply your love. Can your heart grow larger to love ANOTHER child?! Oh yes, but it’s different. Now it’s about sharing the abundance of your love and attention.
Multitasking. Your skills will be put to the test. I remember I was breastfeeding while on the toilet while reading my toddler a book. You gotta do what you gotta do.
Learning new tricks. It’s too tempting to use the same techniques with baby #2 and expect the same results. Temperament, gender, latching skills, moon alignment and who knows what affect how your baby reacts! This new baby is a whole new ballgame so be open to learning new ways of mothering and parenting.
Connection with your man. Damn it, this one took me way longer to realize that he was just as spent this time around, especially because he had to deal solo with the oldest a lot more often. Staying connected through even more tiredness and physical distance has got to be a shared commitment. Communicate about what you need and above all remember the 3 ‘ations of a happy marriage. It’s true, trust me!
There are plenty of reasons why being a second-time mom is way better and way harder. Comment below with what you think is easier!