by Honest Mom contributor, Jeannette, blogger at Mommy Needs a Martini
Never in 400 million years did I ever think I’d have one kid, let alone two. I was raised a military brat with very little extended family around, so small is all I knew. When my niece and nephew were born I thought, for sure, that was plenty of little ones around me; especially since I could send them home when I was done being the cool Aunt.
Then I met my husband. Oy.
As the baby of seven – yes, seven natural births by the same woman – he quickly acquired a growing number of nieces and nephews, as did I in marrying him. The constant flow of children in and out of my house slowly softened my heart enough to want babies of my own.
It took nearly two years to conceive our first daughter with more obstacles than expected, but she was born healthy.
And VERY unhappy.
Her birth was traumatic for me, with medical complications, which led to mild postpartum depression. I felt like I was thrown to the wolves when they discharged me with this little person that I was suddenly responsible for.
Her first year was filled with feedings every hour and a half, colic, projectile vomit, reflux, explosive diapers, very little sleep for everyone and my near mental break. After Hell Year, as I affectionately call it now, I was completely satisfied with her being an only child. I was so satisfied, in fact, that I got rid of all things baby. I mean ALL of it. Well, except the crib since she was still sleeping in it. Otherwise, all of it. Gone.
When our supposed-to-be-an-only child was 18 months old, we bought our first house. As my grandmother inappropriately made known, “You know what they say: new house, new baby!” Ew, Nana. But that is essentially what happened – and ten months after moving in, our second daughter was born!
I was dreading another Hell Year, especially one occurring during the Terrible Twos. I obsessively planned ahead to help ease the upcoming onslaught of mental instability that I expected. I had diapers and formula stockpiled, I acquired most of the baby gear at secondhand stores or on Craigslist, hand-me-down clothing was washed and sorted, our toddler was on the road to being potty trained and she was moved into a toddler bed.
We were ready. And along came baby.
Her birth was a scheduled c-section, complication-free, and I was wearing jeans the next day. What a difference a calm, prepared Mama makes! This kid was sleeping 6-7 hours overnight by 5 weeks old and at 12 weeks old was sleeping 9 hours a night. Her feedings were every 3-4 hours from day one with consistent naps in between. She didn’t cry unless she was hungry. She spit up maybe 8 times in her first 3 months and didn’t come remotely close to the stomach emptying reflux her sister threw at me. Yay!
There was still that Terrible Two toddler in the mix. She really tried to help with the baby. And by “help,” I mean get in my way. But at least she tried to help with, and not maim, the baby. Her slight regressions were nowhere near as awful as I predicted they’d be so, ya know, there’s that. The temper tantrums, however, increased significantly. But, her little personality and great manners really started to show through.
The road to Motherhood was bumpy and emotional. The road to being a Mommy of Two was much less horrifying than I anticipated. But if the first three years on the road to raising little girls is any indication of the road ahead, well, then, I better buckle up.
My mantra: This too shall pass. It might feel like a kidney stone, but it will pass. Whatever it is.
Was your first baby really tough? Did he/she make you scared to have another – and did you have another?