Ok. I’m a newbie to this mummy game, and I’m the first to admit it. What I do know, is what it’s like to have two kids very close to each other – and to not intend to do this. Mine are 13.5 months apart – I know it’s no record, and people have had them closer than that, but fuck me, it’s intense. I doubt that comes as much of a surprise though, and I have mused on this previously so I won’t go on about that again…
I have two words to say right now (or maybe technically three, but who’s counting?)
When I had my second child, it all came around very very quickly. Despite the third trimester lasting approximately 300 years, nevertheless, I blinked and I had two. Baby boy 1 was barely walking so we still had (and have) many unique milestones to hit. Baby boy 2 eased into the world and has remained chilled out ever since.
When I had my first child, I – like many others I imagine – stepped on to the steepest learning curve of my entire life. I’ve had challenging jobs, I’ve trained for a marathon, but nothing – NOTHING – compared to the explosion of emotions – happiness, sadness, fear, worry, terror, joy, love, hate, misery, love, love, love, shock, amazement, angst…. coupled with body trauma, removal of personal privacy (where did that go?!); dissolving of pride, and the sheer fatigue of it all. Oh the tiredness.
We learned to care for a helpless human being – with all the 10,000 multifaceted responsibilities that encompasses. We made choices – asking each other what we should be doing, ‘what’s wrong with him?’ – a mildly irritated ‘how should I know!’ rings in my ears. We googled and googled – what’s normal? What’s not? Am I being irresponsible ignoring this, or is green poo something every parent sees?
The crazy induction into parenthood is like no other. No one guides you – but there are far too many opinions. And judgements galore. We (as in the parenting collective) seem to not be united in this parenting world – everyone has their own idea of what is the right way to raise a child-and that’s fine and normal – but we seem to struggle to live and let live. I find it quite sad really.
Parenthood for me, has been a catalogue of firsts – nappies, wobbly heads, prams, nappy bags, no sleeping, bassinets, smiling, rolling over, moving to cots, weaning… the list is endless, and it needs to be completed and ticked off very quickly. Imagine going into a practical exam when you’ve never even had chance to practice anything, even once and this is the real thing. They wouldn’t send a fire-fighter into a real life emergency fire without at least some training first? Ah, parenthood – the real baptism of fire on acid.
And then baby boy 2 appears. And we’ve done it all before (rather recently too). There is no major panic (just occasional minor ones), there is less worry. Of course bringing another helpless little being into our world is scary – especially when we weren’t exactly planning it so soon. I confess, I was shitting myself. But there were so many things we had DONE BEFORE. Experience is priceless – why don’t they pin more of that on jobs than qualifications? There is no better demonstration of ability than having done something before. I have enjoyed this little joy bundle so much more so far – I think that’s my standout feeling from having had two children. He’s benefiting from my experience with kidlet number 1. I am more relaxed with him – and as a result he’s more relaxed with me. I remember panicking about naps. WHY wouldn’t kidlet 1 sleep more than 45 mins? Probably because I spent too much time looking at him and marvelling at the fact he was asleep – nothing quite like someone staring at you while you’re sleeping… CREEPY.
There’s a reason they say dogs are like their owners.
So now I get to my reason for writing this. When I had baby boy 2, I categorically said ‘NO MORE’. We were about to embark on the most intense period of our lives so far and it was a terrifying prospect. My body had been traumatised twice, and I felt like I’d been pregnant for two years. Why would I go back there? Why would I look to try to have a third or more? Well we’re 4 months into baby boy 2’s life now and I think I know why. I clawed my way up the terrifyingly steep learning curve of baby boy 1. I’m now a ‘fitter’ parent and enjoying a slightly easier climb with number 2. The most poignant feeling I have now though, is that with each centimetre he grows, each nappy size we go up, outfit he grows out of, and each milestone he hits, I feel like I’m grieving the loss of never having that moment again.
It took me until number 2 to really be able to appreciate these precious little beings and the incredibly short time they are tiny and equally short time they are just small. So now I know. That’s not to say I will try for another though, there’s ruling with one’s heart and equally ruling with one’s head – time will tell.