I remember thinking that moms of multiples must have it all figured out. I envied their wisdom and experience and couldn’t wait to overcome that initial learning curve marked by being a first-time mom.
But here I am, mustering what little energy I have to spare to get through the first trimester all over again, with as many nerves as I had the first time around. “I’m growing a human, again, and I have to push one out, again?! Holy crap.”
I thought being pregnant the second time around would be easier simply by way of knowing what to expect. This is true, but it’s only so calming to some extent. Every pregnancy, every birth, every baby is its own miraculous journey filled with highs and lows. And, in those areas where I’m more confident this time around, there are new things unique to two under two that bring me back to square one as a mother.
The first thing that weighed on me after celebrating news of number two was guilt. I used to hear moms of multiples talk about this all the time, but I never understood it until now. There’s this silly guilt you experience when you know your only child will no longer be an only child. It’s the kind of guilt that’s not based on logic, just pure emotion. How can you divide your attention without dividing your love? Even though you know you shouldn’t give this guilt any merit, there’s an inevitable period of mourning the relationship you currently have with your first born in order to make room for the love you will soon share with both.
And as I glance at our future, I can’t help but admire how people manage two under two. Ours will be a year-and-a-half apart, which means I’ll soon be responsible for a newborn and a boundary-pushing toddler day in and day out. Any system my husband and I have currently mastered will have to be shut down and re-booted. There’s no sugar-coating; it’s going to be hard.
My whole perception of what it means to be an experienced mama has changed. I think there’s a tendency to overlook moms of multiples under the assumption that “they’ve got it,” when in reality, moms of multiples still need support and encouragement. Going through it before doesn’t make it any less hard to go through again. What me and my baby have now is going to look so different than what I will have with my next baby. There’s no clear-cut roadmap from the first to the next; just instinct and more caffeine.
So, here’s to admittedly being a new mom all over again. I may not need help mapping out a birth plan or picking out baby gear and diapers this time, but I would be naive to think that this means I’m somehow equipped to go it alone. As a friend once said, your first born will always be the one who made you a mother. Your second born will be the one who makes you a better mother.
What makes me a better mother is when I lean in and share this motherhood journey. When I admit what I don’t know and what I have learned. When I surrender control of what I think motherhood should look like and allow myself to experience motherhood as it is meant to be.
Being a second-time mom doesn’t make me experienced, but it is going to push me harder than I thought possible to be the best mother I can be.