When you are about to become a parent for the first time, the types of worry and concern that you have is so different from the second time around. The first time I was pregnant, I wondered how I would:
1. and IF I would love the little one unconditionally (sounds crazy, I know). I had never done it before, so how did I know that I would fall in love immediately?! Everybody told me I would, but I wasn’t quite sure until the event happened. But the honest truth is that it wasn’t love at first sight. It took me a few weeks to get to know him and bond with him and fall hopelessly in love. I wish somebody had warned before hand that for some it takes a while to bond with their little one and come to love motherhood. It wasn’t the fairy tale love affair for us in the beginning, but I am happy to say that we worked through it and we are hopelessly in love now!
2. juggle my career and the baby. My work always came first and I was extremely competitive at work and the perfectionist in me couldn’t handle being anything but the best. How was I going to be the “best” mum and the “best” at work? It was a lot to be “best” at. But as mothers (whether stay at home or working), we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be perfect. I learned quickly that it was a futile exercise and I was never going to achieve the “perfect” that was in my head.
3. handle breastfeeding. I knew it was best for baby and doing formula wasn’t an option since breast is best. Again, this is something that I took for granted that I would do, but little did I know that I wouldn’t enjoy it very much.
As I am days away from the birth of my second child, I have three years of experience as a parent under my belt, but I worry none the less about the arrival of this little one, but the list of worries this time around are:
1. Do I have room to love them both equally and abundantly? Again, I have been told by more experienced friends (with 2 or more children) that you heart grows even bigger. My worry – what if I am different? What if I don’t?
2. How will my first son handle the arrival of his little brother? He is a sweet, kind, gentle hearted soul who doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. My worry is that my second will push my older son around! I can already tell that my 2nd is way different than my first, even in the womb. He is a lot more active and responsive. I am bracing myself for having the ‘hyperactive’ 2nd child, just because – what are the chances of having two perfectly well behaved boys? Could I get that lucky?
3. How am I going to juggle my own business and my boys? I am no longer in corporate America, but I do have a third child, which keeps me up at night – my business and how I am going to focus on it, while balancing the Stay At Home role as well.
4. How am I going to handle breastfeeding yet again? I wasn’t someone who took to breastfeeding easily. Though I had no trouble with my supply and my son latched on great, breastfeeding just wasn’t for me. I am not afraid to admit it and I am not ashamed of it. I have to come to accept the fact that it’s not for everyone and I will not pass judgement on myself or others because of this. As parents we have enough to worry about without having to pile on the guilt for one more thing.
5. I grieve over the fact that my first will no longer be the center of my world. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s inevitable that the amount of undivided attention and one on one time we have with him is going to be a lot less. This thought saddens me, because our relationship is forever going to shift and change; not better, not worse, but just different. He is no longer going to be the ‘baby’. At 3 he is already very mature and independent for his age.
6. I feel guilty all the time – I guess this never changes as a parent. I feel guilty for the fact that my son is going to through a transition period, the jealousy he is going to feel and I worry about whether he will feel less important or displaced in any way. I have a list of things to prepare him for a new sibling, but you know the storm is coming. Why is it that women are more plagued by guilt that men? I am pretty sure my better half doesn’t lay awake at night thinking about these issues. He just takes it in his stride. Me, on the other hand, as you can tell is a big jumbled bag of emotions.
The two things I am excited about, despite all of this, is getting to see my son be an older brother. He is so excited about being able to teach his baby brother all the life skills he is already mastered like rolling over, crawling, sitting up and walking. He has already picked out a gift he wants to give him and we have hung up a finger painting in the baby’s room which my son made for him as he wanted to contribute something to the nursery. I know he is going to be GREAT as a big brother. I look forward to seeing the relationship blossom between them.
The second thing that I am looking forward to is the fact that I now know a lot more about sleep and babies! One of the advantages of being a certified sleep consultant is you have information and knowledge on how to handle a baby’s sleep. I know I am going to be thoroughly sleep deprived and a zombie for the first few months, but I know how to lay down a good foundation from the beginning, so that the baby starts to sleep in longer stretches naturally when he is ready. This was a big gaping hole with my first son. We were just totally winging it and kept praying that we would be one of those lucky parents who would wake up one morning to find that he had slept all night – alas, that never happened to us!
Share what you went through when you were pregnant with your 1st, 2nd, 3rd……..I would love to hear it, so that I can reassure myself that I am not as crazy as I think I am!