From One To Two Babies – The Immediate Fallout

Your life goes through a rather dramatic change when you have a baby. It’s a change in a good way, naturally. But a bit of a bad way too. The whole world and life as you know it is forever uprooted. And there’s no going back…

There’s the awesome bit. The wild, primal love for your little person. Love and happiness. The total awe in what you just created. Your smiles alongside their drunken milk smiles. The sheer beauty of those teeny-tiny little toes and that kissable little tummy.

But then there’s the raw explosion of parenthood too. The delirium of sleep deprivation. The nappies…so so many nappies! The sore boobs. The crying. The sudden realization that you’re now in complete control of this small person’s wellbeing and happiness.

As time goes on, however, you come to learn your ways and your baby’s ways. Your new world soon becomes just your world. The new norm as the pieces all start to slot together. You find your parenting groove. Its fine and dandy.

Until you have another one!

Its fine, you’ve got this. You’ve done it all before of course. Of course?!

But what you didn’t have first time around was another child. A child that has been brought up, so far, at the centre of your little world. It’s a shock for them, and for you, as you come to understand the complexities of going from one to two babies, and the fallout that this brings.

Since Millie arrived a few weeks ago, we’ve been living in the eye of a storm. A storm in a good way, of course – the freshness and excitement of having a new little love in our life. But a scary storm too as we try to keep our heads above water while simultaneously keeping afloat these two very young and very vocal little humans.

This is our experience so far…

Absolute Adoration Of The New One

It’s no secret that I had my concerns that I wouldn’t – couldn’t possibly – love another child as much as my Zachy.

I really didn’t feel as bonded with little Millie while she was in my tummy, quite simply because my world as a mother revolved mainly around my firstborn. Keeping Zachy happy, fed, entertained, healthy – that has been my daily duty his whole life. Being pregnant while doing all of this meant there was little time to just lay down, relax, and enjoy the happy kicks of baby-girl from within!

From the day she was born, though, I have loved LOVED adored her. Your second child just explodes into your world and steals your heart. And as I was assured by friends, my capability to love just grew.

For a while, however, this love has the capability to outshine the love for all others in your life. I remember this happening with my firstborn. And this time around, my firstborn (as bad as it sounds) suddenly became ousted from the centre of my world. It’s only temporary, I know, but it’s had some repercussions…

Oh, The Tantrums

At the time of Millie’s birth, Zachy was 2 years 9 months old – a big-boy, but a baby still. And as with most 2-year-olds, he communicates mainly via a tantrum when his frustrations are rife.

We’re almost 4 weeks into Millie’s little life, and it has been 4 weeks of mediating explosive tantrums from Zachy. It’s getting better and easier for sure, but the attention-seeking behavior, back-chat, refusal to listen, and general renegade toddler behaviour has been a huge challenge.

Indeed having a newborn suddenly seems like the easy aspect…it’s the toddler that is causing all the worry. But that’s his goal – to fight and remain at the centre of our world even if it’s by demanding mine and his Daddy’s attention through anger and disobedience. This reaction is common apparently…and it works for sure!

Dislike Of Beloved Firstborn

I know this sounds awful (and I’m sure the perfect parenting police will be onto me for saying this), but there have been instances over these last few weeks where I have severely disliked my firstborn. Yes, yes, I love him to the moon and back of course, but there are times when he is acting like the devil, threatening to throw things or harm his baby-sister, that I just deeply dislike the little sod.

On many occasions it has felt like his demanding behavior has overshadowed the newborn days of bliss with Millie. Through his behaviour I have sometimes felt like he has taken away many of the perfect moments of calm I was able to enjoy with him as a newborn. I just can’t seem to sit and nurse or have lovely peaceful snuggles with my new baby without having to berate my big baby for something.

Toddlers throws things, they are rough, they endanger your sweet little newborn with their elephant-like agility. It’s really stressful. Add to that the fact you’re physically and emotionally tired after giving birth, your nipples are sore, and you’ve got a banging headache, it’s really no surprise that you snap, scream and yell at them. The problem is they snap, scream and yell back. It’s a vicious, escalating cycle unless you can find your calm place.

Overwhelming Guilt 

Despite all the tantrums, it’s the moments when my son is being sweet that brings me to tears. The moments when the tender baby in him comes through and he says things like “can you help me, mama?” while trying his best to be independent. The moments when he comes over and asks if he – “baby-rabbit” – can have a cuddle with “mummy rabbit”. The moments when he asks for his favourite story to be read when we’re waking up or going to sleep.

I’ve sat and cried at the fact that I am no longer the mummy he is used to. I don’t have all the time in the world for him anymore. I don’t have the patience. And right now, I really don’t have the energy to keep up with his energy. The fact that I’ve yelled and physically pushed him away in his crazier moments to keep his sister safe kills me.

He has had a rubbish deal in us welcoming his baby-sister, and the guilt can really get me, because I know he is trying his best to adjust, and despite what I said above, I am actually incredibly proud of him. His behaviour is completely warranted to be honest.

But the guilt is there for baby-girl too. She has been brought into a world of commotion. There is little calm, a lot of shouting, a lot of tears and very little rest. I don’t have all the time in the world for her like I did with her brother…and I am aware I never will.

But she is chilled and beautiful and lovely. My little baby-bird. I guess, ironically, she is the calm in the middle of the storm of her arrival.

Little Time To Recover

There was a bit of a cock-up at the hospital where I delivered Millie, and they almost discharged me a day early citing that my insurance didn’t cover two nights. I was upset, not because I so much felt like I needed to be in hospital physically, but because I really wanted that second night to rest my mind with my new baby in our happy peaceful bubble.

I really really needed this before heading home to the insanity of everyday life. I knew it would be hard to rest with a toddler at home. I knew because I had very little rest throughout my pregnancy…and Millie being on the outside was not going to make things any easier!

Luckily my insurance confirmed I had a second night and I took it. Luckily too, my parents came over to help out with Zachy, so I was able to slip in an afternoon nap most days for the first couple of weeks of Millie’s life.

But the long days and weeks of rest and recovery that I enjoyed with Zachy were gone. When Millie sleeps, I give attention to Zachy. When Zachy naps, Millie is usually awake (and wakes him early!) In between the naps and the breastfeeds, there are breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks to make. Oh and a house to keep moderately tidy (ok it’s impossible to keep tidy with a turbo-tot, it really is!)

At weekends when my husband is off, it’s still a case of “what to do to entertain the toddler”. I’ve been to Malls, softplay, the park, his toddler sensory class, lunch – all sorts. I sometimes sit and think – “Wow, I gave birth a few weeks ago, shouldn’t I be resting?!” The thing is, life pretty much HAS TO resume to normal when you’ve got more than one kid.

Our New “Norm”

Like welcoming our first baby with that strange period of “wow, this is our life now”, the same feeling prevails when welcoming a second. But having done all of this before, I know it’ll all fit together somehow. This is our “new norm” and it’ll constantly change and we’ll constantly adapt as the little ones grow.

Despite Zachy’s challenging behaviour, he is definitely settling down. My flashes of anger towards him are waning. And despite not having the same amount of quality time with him, my love and adoration of him remains – I love nothing more than snuggling up in those stolen moments and breathe him in.

The epicenter of my world has undergone a seismic shift with the arrival of Millie. But I know that as things settle, both she and Zachy will find the equal balance together at the centre of it all. Zachy is gradually accepting Millie as a permanent fixture in our lives – in fact he doesn’t particularly blink an eyelid when she is there in the morning anymore. The first thing he asked me when he woke the other day was “Is baby Millie ok?” – it was a small sentence, but it brought so much relief knowing that his kind and caring side is starting to come out. I know he’ll love her eventually, especially when she becomes more interactive and playful.

I guess to sum up then, yes, its been a hard few weeks. Hard but lovely with our new little darling. But it was never not going to be hard, and I kind of knew that. But I know too that it can only get better and only get easier as the dust settles. It has to, right?

Abbey x

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Happy?

Knackered, concerned, uprooted, stressed, yep.

And very happy too.

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14 thoughts on “From One To Two Babies – The Immediate Fallout

  1. I remember feeling exactly the same–worried that I wouldn’t love my second like I loved my first, then shocked to find that maybe I no longer loved the elder anymore at all! Talk about guilt!!! We got through it, I loved everyone (all toddlers can be hard to love at times), and though I felt bad that number two never got my undivided attention, she had something even better–a big sister to entertain her and to be her role model and idol. And number one eventually did get used to not being the center of the universe, and to be perfectly honest THAT was exactly why we had a second child. Who wants to raise someone who thinks they are the center of the universe?!?!!

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    1. Thanks Amy! You always reassure me that I am not the world’s most mean mother! 😊 Zachy definitely needs to NOT be the centre – he already has so much bravado that I don’t know what he’d become if he was an only child much longer lol! They’ll be great for each other (and for hubs and I…we hope!) x x

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  2. Hi Abbey, I had my 2nd on the same day as Millie. I just wanted to say thank you for articulating so wonderfully exactly how there last 4 weeks have been for me too. Even though my first is older than Zachy, it’s been trying to say the least. Just reading this made me feel so reassured and not alone in this journey. Keep it up – you’re doing an amazing job!

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  3. I am following you like a crazed pregnant mummy of a toddler who is also 2 years and 10 months and who sounds very similar to Zachy. I am trying to mentally prepare myself for what’s ahead and when Zachy has good days I think I breathe more. I have 1 week to go before number two arrives as I’m being induced so keep your stories coming. Congratulations for being so honest and open and best of luck for the challenging moments ahead. Your positive outlook will keep you going and it will get easier!!!! As you say… ‘it has too’ x x

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    1. Best of luck and sending you lots of love for the exciting days ahead! I definitely fall under the “crazed new mummy” category where you’re very welcome to join in the next couple of weeks hehe 😊

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  4. This is a gorgeous post and it was only 8 months ago that I felt all of this. Bigger age gap here but mostly the same. My Zach took it all out on me rather than Oscar- his frustrations he dealt with by being mean to me, by pushing me away. God there were years from me but after a few weeks it smoothes out and ever since, it’s been mostly ok. It does get easier and the love they have for each other is just divine!

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    1. It is so great to hear about their love for each other, you have no idea! The pushing away is heartbreaking – Zachy has really latched to his Daddy…but I imagine he feels exactly the same way x

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  5. Great post Abbey! This is all still so familiar to me even 3 years on, I think most second time mums go through most of these things both at the pregnancy stage and the new mum stage. It is hard and I remember so well how completely relentless it was, you are ALWAYS on duty with one or the other tag teaming for your attention. No lazy afternoon naps or milk drunk lie ins like the first time around. But I promise you, slowly but surely it does get easier, and once they are interacting and playing together there is really no better thing than to sit and watch them and feel your heart swell for love of each of them and even more for the love they have for each other, there is nothing like it! You are doing amazing mama xx

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    1. I can’t wait for Millie to simply start smiling and laughing at Zachy – I think he’ll get so much from it as he likes to be the joker 💕

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  6. Well it has taken me a few weeks to have the chance to catch up on your blog but omg how spot on you are(as usual)!

    I have felt awful, hating my eldest Eris (4 in July) and not feeling like to get the chance to connect properly with my new one – aria (11 weeks) Its been hard. I’ve put it down to utter lack of sleep and constantly trying to please my toddler, and trying to do every other job that needs doing. Finally the baby is starting to get a character and the smiles just make my day so we’re finally bonding. Eris my eldest well , that’s still a daily challenge but it’s a work in progress and well just say ‘breathe just breath’ along with the strength to try and stay calm – well its tough and I have so many homer/Bart Simpson moments its crazy.

    However when we’re all just out walking in an evening or sitting as a family on the sofa I just smile to myself and feel so very lucky. So here’s to challenges but lots of cuddles and laughter for us both! Xx Lisa

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