I found new stressors to overthink when I became pregnant with my second. Two under two is challenging, hands down, but it has also turned the page to a beautiful chapter in my motherhood journey. If I could go back in time, here’s how I would have answered my biggest questions.
How will I manage double the work?
By not creating double the work. We are still one family and I still only have two hands. Many of the things that I do for my oldest just come naturally with my youngest. It’s not twice the work more than it is doubling down on the work that I am already doing. And, since there’s no learning curve, much time on the front end is actually saved.
What if my second born is completely opposite of my first?
As first timers, we spend so much energy asking for advice and reading whatever baby books are thrown our way that we are shocked when our babies don’t match up with all that external input. We abruptly learn to stop planning and to start trusting. Having this ability to think free of expectations is precisely what prepares us for all kinds of curveballs that baby No. 2 may throw at us.
What if my first born has a hard time adjusting?
It’s not if, it’s when. My first born had a hard time right upon meeting his sister and is still having a hard time three months later, but he also has a hard time with just about anything and everything in his rapidly-expanding world … because he’s a toddler. Dealing with his big emotions is something that we are enduring regardless, so it’s really just another life lesson to add to the books.
How will I handle it when both babies want or need me at the same time?
Remember that feeling when you had to strap your baby into the car seat for the first time, and it felt so scary simply because it was all new? Then over time, you could toss that baby in his or her seat while blindfolded, juggling a cup of coffee and swirling dogs around your ankles – Yeah, same concept. Of course it will be insanity the first times you are dealt double the tears, but you quickly adjust per the hierarchy of needs, and soon you become an expert at both preventing fires and putting them out.
How will we juggle more kids with our marriage?
Going from dual-earning newlyweds to single-earning parents was an enormous leap, and our first born put our marriage in the spotlight. We had to make a philosophical decision: will we put our roles as mom and dad first or husband and wife first? We chose to keep our marriage first, believing that the best way for us to teach our littles about a healthy relationship is to model a healthy relationship. As it turns out, adding more babies to the mix doesn’t really change anything so long as we continue to choose each other, over and over again.
But will I ever sleep again?
Yes. Navigating sleep with baby no.1 is particularly daunting because we don’t know all the things yet. And if you’re me, and you really start from scratch, you don’t know there are different approaches within the sometimes controversial world of sleep training vs. co-sleeping. With baby no.2, you’ve already navigated the highs and lows of this massive learning curve and have much more realistic expectations in place. As soon as we welcomed our second baby home, we got to dive right into what works for us. It was actually refreshing to experience bedtime free of stress, even if we were up at the wee hours.
As I once again leave the infamous fourth trimester behind, I realize that there’s a lot to love about joining the two under two club.