When you first think of having a second child, it’s a huge decision. You debate about timing and whether the first child will become jealous or not. If they’re ready for a little brother or sister. You talk finances and the enormity of doubling diapers, wipes, childcare expenses. You look back on the newborn stage of your first bundle of joy with ruby glasses: the sleepness nights didn’t seem so endless, the diaper blowouts weren’t so bad, and the physical challenge of actually bringing the child into the world somehow gets clouded and overshadowed by the joy of him finally being in your arms.
Those two lines show up on your test, the digital probe reads “Pregnant” and suddenly you’re second guessing everything, wondering “Holy shit, what were we thinking?!” And that’s just the beginning.
You spend the next 9 months becoming slower and slower as your body morphs into something vaguely resembling a small planet and your toddler gets faster and faster and begins testing his boundaries. Climbing the stairs becomes an Olympic workout that usually takes 20 minutes and requires full usage of the handrails, especially since said toddler acts as a 30lb weight attached to one of your legs laughing hysterically. The months fly by and before you know it you’re standing in the delivery room, freshly admitted and told on April Fool’s Day that you’re in fact in labor, 4cm dilated and having a baby. No fooling here.
And then it all comes crashing back. You still have to get this sweet, gigantic, loveable, alien out. 22 hours later he comes quickly into the world and your life begins as a family of four, ready or not.
Those sleepless nights lead to sleepless weeks as you now have to be up with a toddler at the crack of dawn, whether or not you’ve slept a wink the night before. You inhale any food that you can find, regardless of its expiration date, taste or consistency. You just need food, fast and preferably that can be eaten by shoving your face into it because you have a toddler attached to your right hip and a newborn attached to your left boob, both sitting precariously, threatening to drop at any moment. Showers consist of you lathering up the baby, toddler and whatever parts of yourself you can reach with one hand because you’re holding that adorable infant while the toddler drinks shower water off the floor that he just happily peed on, beaming with pride at pottying by himself. Outings are literal three ring circuses as you attempt to keep both kids clean, happy and fed without breaking anything while pushing a mammoth double stroller around aisles designed for half their size, hair sticking up in every direction, dark circles under your eyes, mismatched shoes, a half dressed toddler attempting to dismantle a manikin and an infant upchucking your freshly created breastmilk all over your last “clean” shirt. You don’t have time, much less, the energy to realize or care that your boob is still half exposed from nursing, your other boob is leaking and both children just took massive poops that are now cropdusting other shoppers.
But as crazy, chaotic and stressful life as a family of four often is, it is filled with so much love and joy. There is never a dull moment in our house and I mean that in the best possible way. There’s always the sound of running feet and laughing children, often amidst endless cartoons and the sound of those same feet escaping over the baby gate. When your kids aren’t threatening to kill one another, the infant pulling out the toddler’s hair that took him 2 entire years to grow or the toddler using the infant as a trampoline, they laugh and play. The love between siblings, even at this age is remarkable, it’s warming and it’s absolutely heart melting. You can see it in their eyes when they see one another. They light up! Their love and bond is deep and undeniable.
Before Andrew careened into our world I had no idea that I had the capacity to love another child like I loved Jackson. He was my first born, my baby, the little one who made me a mommy. But oh sweet second time mama-to-be’s, there is more room than you ever knew existed. There’s a love that is about to fill you that is greater than anything you could have imagined. And the love you had for your first born, hold on. It’s about to quadruple because watching that now big kid of yours transition from only child to big sibling is the icing on the metaphorical cake. Life couldn’t get sweeter. Unless they would coordinate naps. Or your infant learned to sleep through the night. Or one or both children magically began to wipe their own butts.
It’s a crazy ride. I’m the first to admit it. The time you thought was so nonexistent before is even more so. Sleep is even more of a fictitious term. Mom brain is a very real thing and coffee is an absolute necessity. But it’s worth it. Because in the midst of it all is this incredible little family that you and your partner have created, a siblings bond and lifelong friendship that will be tested but true, and more love and laughter than you could imagine. Your heart will explode with love that words can’t describe and your life will feel more complete than you knew possible.