by: Kimmie Johnson

This is for the moms getting ready to bring baby #2 into the world. How you doing, mama? Feeling nervous? Totally ready? Somewhere in between? Well, I’m here to tell you that wherever you are, it’s ALL GOOD. You’ve likely received a million tidbits of advice <read: warnings> about how much harder it’s going to be with two little ones in the mix. Not all that encouraging, right? And if you currently have a toddler? “Forget it. Good luck!” Well, I have a TRUTH BOMB and it’s coming in hot: those naysayers — they’re wrong. With two in the mix, will it be more work? Absolutely. Is it doable? Of course. Is it worth it? One million times over.

First things first, we are in the trust tree here: how did you feel when you saw the pink pair of lines for a second time? Had you been trying for a while or was this a huge surprise? I was in the latter camp. I’ve {with a thankful heart} never faced fertility issues, and while I do not take that for granted for a single second, we had never really “family planned” up to that point. So I remember exactly how I felt, and it was… conflicted. The initial feeling was pure elation: are we truly being blessed with TWO kids?! My dream come true, what a gift. But then, I started thinking through the reality of what two children would look like, and that’s when the fear crept in. How were we going to do this? How would I do this?

At the time we lived in Chicago in a 3rd floor walkup, (also with two dogs, mind you) so honestly — it was a logisical nightmare, and as a planner, I panicked. It sounded impossible. Sam was a busy 17-month old… quickly doing the math, realized we would have a busier 2-year old and a newborn. YMS was going gangbusters, my husband was traveling literally all the time, and we were 300 miles away from our closest family. I was terrified. So when that third test showed the words “pregnant” (you know you never trust just one, or the +/- for that matter) — I just sat and cried. And cried. From happy tears to “oh shit” tears. Scared but laughing tears. All the feels. But once that shook, those feelings of fear slowly started to fizzle and I’m happy to report we’re still here! So, I wanted to share some encouragement and truths from my experience of having two bambinos in our family with the hope that it will help you feel less nervous about adding a freshie to yours.

You will become a master of time management. You will quickly become the most efficient you’ve ever been with your time. There’s not an abundance of it, so you become incredibly protective over it. You learn that all of the things you are saying “yes” to, means you are inevitably saying no to something (or someone) else. Your yes’s become increasingly more personal and your tank in turn is refueling with each yes… and each no! As a business owner, mom of two, and someone who equally craves spending time with loved ones -and- time alone, this truth really threw me.

You will have enough energy to hold it down. Sometimes by a fraying thread, or the skin of your damn teeth, but you will do it. Because we’re moms and that’s what we do. Plus, the sleep deprivation isn’t AS much of a shock to the system the second time around. (It’s still insanity, don’t get me wrong, but you know you’ll get through it because you’ve already bossed it once before.) It’s amazing how when you’re in a tough season, you just put your head down and get through it. Often times it isn’t until you’re on the other side of that mountain that you lift your head and realize just how high you climbed. When the newborn fog lifts, you will have appreciation for what a badass you are and everything you just conquered, and you will feel very proud.

You will love your second as much as your first. Your love will not feel the same, but the intensity will. Your heart truly doubles… it’s inexplicable, but it just does. I wondered how I could ever love another child as much as I loved Sam. He was my ride-or-die, my main squeeze. And he still is, but she is, too. And most days, if I’m being really honest, they’re sidestepping me for each other… sooo….

They will be best friends. Maybe not at first, and maybe not forever, but there will be a period in time where they will be thick as theives and your mama heart will feel like it might literally combust into a million pieces. We found out on a Friday that we were being induced that following Monday. I remember rocking Sam to sleep on Sunday night, taking a little longer than usual. Humming a few extra songs, smelling his hot sleep-breath on my shoulder, soaking him in. Once he was finally sound asleep in his crib, the hubs and I just held each other watching over him. (Which sounds way creeper than it was, promise.) We couldn’t imagine how differently life was going to look for him when he woke up. Without us there, and with a sister he hadn’t yet met. And we couldn’t quite imagine how differently life was going to look for us when he wasn’t our one and only anymore. Fast forward to today, and I can’t even picture life without her… and neither can he, he knows no different. There is nothing in the world that brightens up my soul quite like hearing Sam yell “HEY QUINNNAYYY!!!” and her respond with an overzealous happy breakdance.

Your eldest will seemingly turn into a teenager overnight. This one really tripped me up. Do you ever have those mornings where your kiddo’s pajamas are a little smaller than the night before and you think: you literally grew over night?? Well, multiply that times infinity. Your oldest will get SO BIG in the time you’re away giving birth. Their vocabulary, energy levels, independence and just sheer size become so much more pronounced when compared to a tiny newborn. For me, this was shellshocking. Our start with baby #2 was a little different than most, and definitely not what we anticipated. Quinn was re-hospitalized for a week after being home for just 2 days, so for me this gap in time with Sam was glaring. He would come to visit us in the hospital every day, and each time I got to squeeze that little nugget, he seemed ten years older and like a totally new person. Once we were finally home together as a family of four, I felt like I barely knew this big boy. That both broke my heart and filled it back up at the exact same time — motherhood is funny like that.

Your relationship with your first might take a hit, but don’t worry, it will return. The normal divide and conquer is pretty obvious once you make the shift from zone defense to man-to-man: mom gets the baby, dad and whoever else is available tackle the big kid. With that arrangement, it’s normal for you to feel removed from your first baby. Creating special dates for just the two of you can help to reconnect. For us, once I was recovered, post-dinner park dates and ice cream on Thursdays were a Mom-and-Sam only thing. For you, it might be making sure you’re the one who drops off at school or singing only the song you sing at bedtime. Whatever it is, know that it doesn’t need to be extravagant to be important, and you will back to business as usual before you know it.

Just because you didn’t have PPD or PPA the first time around doesn’t mean you’re immune this time. Likewise, just because you experienced it the first time around, doesn’t mean you will this time. I had a healthy pregnancy and postpartum period with Sam, but fought some very tough, heavy postpartum battles with Quinn. I wasn’t expecting it, but I knew what to look out for which is what helped me keep my head above water. Keep an eye and be honest with yourself, and your partner. Since you’ve been through this period before, you might recognize if you feel differently. If anything feels off, please confide in someone. Always know, we are only a call away if you ever, ever need it.

Self-care has never been more important. We preach preach preach self care for all moms. You have GOT to make yourself a priority every once in a while. Put your mask on first. It’s easy to feel completely absorbed and consumed in this time, but you have to take time to do the things that make you feel like YOU. It’s a must. Non-negotiable. And if you need someone to kick your butt, we’re happy to do it. 🙂

Babywearing is life. Even if you didn’t wear your first baby, it will become one of your greatest survival tools the second time around. Having the option of both hands free while baby is safe and with you is everything. If you don’t have a carrier, now would be the time to get one. If you need help selecting, give us a shout or visit your local BabyWearing International chapter for more information. They have educators to assist in safe fit, the different types and styles, and often have a library where you can rent before you buy. Super wonderful resource!

You got this, Mama. We’re cheering for you!

XO,

Kimmie

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