How many kids do you have? How many do you want? Will they be close together in age, or far apart? These are questions you may have asked yourself, or are asking yourself currently! Sometimes we have control and get to choose these things, other times it seems the universe decides it for us! Either way, I want to share my experience with you!
My girls are 19 months apart. I knew having two kids, any age, would be difficult. Significantly more difficult than one child (obviously Jane) But I have always wanted two children, so that they will always have each other. They will always have a friend, hopefully a best friend. Someone who can understand the ins and outs of our family dynamic, so they have someone to talk to. They can share experiences (and clothes, and hopefully NOT boyfriends!)
I needed that when I was younger. I have two older sisters; we are all 3 years apart. I looked up to them both and wanted their approval and acceptance more than anything. We were not always close, in fact there were times that it was rather torturous! But when things got tough for me and for my family, nobody in my life could understand what I was going through like my sisters could. We were in it together. That’s family. (Okay but can we just admire our style for a second? #nailingit)
It was important to me that my daughter(s) had a sibling to share life with. I wanted them to be close in age, since I always felt like my sisters and I were in different life stages. Thankfully my partner Matt agreed, since he has a sister that is 8 years younger. It also seemed like a good idea to have a baby when our minds were still in “diaper mode,” so to speak. So, when Georgia was 10 months old, we decided to start trying for a second baby. We started trying pretty early, because we thought that it would take some time to get pregnant, but it didn’t! We were so lucky to get pregnant on our first try and we were thrilled.
Side note: I am incredibly fortunate and grateful to be very fertile. I do not take this lightly, as I know so many people struggle with this. My heart aches deeply for those people, I can only imagine the heartbreak and disappointment. I am so sorry. If you’re struggling, I am here to talk if you need a shoulder or someone to listen. I do not ever want to seem ungrateful for getting/being pregnant, please don’t take my experience personally. With that being said, I still want to be honest and open about the ups and downs I experienced.
I have to admit, pregnancy was a struggle for me, quite possibly one of the hardest things I have done. Some people love being pregnant. I am not one of those people! The one thing I really did enjoy was when I was able to feel them kick and move around. It is SO bizarre, but magical somehow. That’s about it though… everything else… I was NOT a big fan! The aches and pains. The insane weight gain (about 40-50 lbs with both kids, even when I worked out and watched my food!) The loss of sleep. The carpal tunnel in my wrists. The restless legs. The hormone changes which caused me to have intense anxiety and depression. So yeah, it was hard. But completely worth every second! Now, going through all that with a young child in tow… I have to say that most days were #struggletown. But, you get through it. And when you look back, it feels like it went by in a flash. That seems to be a common theme with kids #daysarelongandtheyearsarefast. I think that is the universe’s way of manipulating you into doing it again!
Get through all that torture and then comes the time to give birth (terrifying right?!) My birth story with my first daughter is a long one, so I will tell you briefly and perhaps share the details another time. My labour was induced at 35 weeks, it lasted 3.5 days. Then, I ended up having an emergency c-section. That’s right, after 3.5 DAYS of labour, I had to have a c-section. The world can be so cruel. So, when it came time to have my second baby, I opted for another c-section! I did NOT want to go through that again! Of course, c-sections come with their own difficulties. I had 6 weeks of recovery, which was pretty difficult if I’m honest. This time recovery was much harder, because now I had TWO kids to care for, at the same time!!
I had help, don’t get me wrong. I had Matt home with me for one week and then Grandparents came over to help me for 2 weeks after that. I don’t know what I would have done without the help. I remember how scared I was for my first day alone with them. It’s rather comical now, but at the time I was overwhelmed and so unsure of myself. It’s a huge adjustment adding another child into the mix and there were definitely times that I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I was scared. I realize now that it’s normal to doubt yourself sometimes, especially at the beginning. We all need some time to adjust, and once we’ve adjusted, we still have bad days! I am always reminding myself to be kind to ME and give myself grace, I hope you do the same.
Any new mama will tell you that the newborn stage is a whirlwind. It seems to drag on forever, but when you look back it seems like the blink of an eye. When you’re in it though, it is painful, exhausting, magical, overwhelming, lonely, full of love and full of sorrow. All at the same time. Your hormones and emotions are all over the place. Your boobs are insanely engorged for a while and breastfeeding is often way more painful and difficult than people tell you. I talking bleeding nipples and Pamela Anderson boobs people, not as cool as you may have thought in the 90's. You feel like a failure, often. At least that was always my experience, I hope yours was/is different! But if you had/have a similar experience, please know that you are not alone! Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. I am here to help, if you need it. Everything is much more overwhelming when you are sleep deprived. Your child feels the same way. If I can help you get your babies sleep figured out, I promise it will impact every aspect of your life.
The last time (for real last time because I don’t think I will be having any more children) I went through postpartum recovery, it was much more difficult. Even though I knew what to expect and what to do this time around, I had a hyper-active toddler to take care of as well. She couldn’t understand that Mama couldn’t pick her up or play with her like before. Or that this baby was here to stay and our time would now be shared with this beautiful little baby. I was lucky that Georgia, my oldest, took to liking her new sister right away. She loved being close and trying to play with Charlie (the new baby), she enjoyed trying to be helpful (keyword “trying” because it was rarely actually helpful!) These days, I can look back fondly on that time, and I actually miss it!
The newborn phase comes and goes so quickly, you really have to try to see the good aspects of it and not focus on what’s hard. Some days that will be much easier than others. In the moment, sometimes life can get overwhelming. I urge you to fight through those feelings and take life head on. You are strong and capable, and remember that this too shall pass. No matter how hard of a day you are facing, remember that you can do this, you can do anything!
Now fast forward to today and life is drastically different than those first few days, weeks, and months. Both my girls have grown and changed so much, Charlie just turn 1 (what!?) No matter how difficult some days were for us, we survived and are stronger for it. Today my girls are best friends. They play together all day, laughing and learning. Georgia takes so much pride in being a big sister and Charlie looks up to her, just like I do with my sisters. It’s incredible to watch and makes me so happy that we had them so close together. Don’t get me wrong, they have their moments! They fight over toys and don’t always want to play together, sometimes they knock each other over or want their own space. But while some days still have their challenges, that would be the case no matter what. Life is challenging, period. But that’s the best part. That’s when we grow and learn and become better people/parents.
So, if you’re thinking about having another baby and are unsure when to start trying, I wouldn’t overthink it! You can spend way too much time waiting for the perfect time. Or thinking about school drop offs, the toys you’ll need, is your car big enough for the car seats?! All these things are logistics, which is not what having a baby is all about. There are so many unknowns, you need to just trust yourself. No matter what happens, you will survive, adapt and come out stronger than before. You will also create little miracles that will love you unconditionally, no matter what. #yougotthismama