Many of my friends and cousins have begun their transition into second time moms, and they often question me on how it was when I had my second baby girl. It is difficult to put it into words without going into a full on essay. But I must say, the more moms who are having their second children, the happier I become knowing that soon they will know how much more challenging motherhood is when you have two little ones. The game changes completely and here’s why…
My transition to becoming a second-time mom took me by surprise, as my eldest Ridha had just turned 17 months. I was just getting the hang of taking care of a toddler, when God gifted me another baby girl. I remember that I would imagine what it would be like when I welcomed my second baby. It’s funny how we do that isn’t it? We start to put together a movie-like, dream-like, rosy picture of how smooth and simple everything will be. And then when it actually happens, we realize how different reality is.
In the months leading up to my second delivery, I had set up a new big girl bedroom for Ridha. Oh yes..I had nesting, however it was for the wrong kid. And thus began my second child’s second child syndrome. I picked out artwork and canvases, framed twelve individual photos of Ridha’s first year, arranged decals and linens to match her beautiful butterfly room. It was a way for Ridha to get used to the idea of sleeping in her bed…without me. Across the hall, I set up Rabab’s nursery in my room, with a bassinet and crib.
For me, the transition happened when the delivery happened. It was instantaneous and just sort of fell on us, without anyone being prepared for it. Everything sort of changed in those two days that I was off in the hospital, and when I returned home, nothing would ever be the same. Looking back on it now, it doesn’t seem so bad. But at the time, it was painful and joyous.
Considering that Ridha was only a year and a half, she simply had no care, no idea and no interest in a new sister. And that’s perfectly normal, I get it. But she also had no inclination to come to me in the hospital. It could be because there was a newborn in my arms the first time she saw me, but the days following the delivery, there was a distance that grew between us, which I was not prepared for. I ached to have her close to me, but she kept a distance. And I was no longer a part of our special night time routine, because she only wanted her Baba.
For about six months before Rabab was born, I made it a mission to spend quality one-on-one time with Ridha. Taking her out and doing activities with her, as much as I possibly could. And always putting her to bed. That was our thing.
In the months that followed my delivery, I tried to revive those things with her, but it took time. After I was back on my feet and the baby was more in a routine, I was able to start taking turns putting her to bed [bribing her sometimes, because she still preferred Baba] and that helped a lot.
I think that it was a learning experience for all of us. Ridha learning what Rabab is to her. Myself, learning that I can love and care for both, by meeting their needs the best I could. And with time, our relationship evolved and now 1.5 years later, everything has changed again. My girls are now entering a phase of friendship and conversation. I now feel like I have a handle on how to best care for them without being overwhelmed.
It took time for me to feel comfortable enough to take them both out in our massive double stroller, because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get the thing into doors in public places. And I have STRUGGLED with getting through doors with it, there’s just no mastering it.
I now feel confident enough to take them out despite the possibility of a meltdown, because I’ve seen several strangers’ go through it and I never once judged them for it. It happens to all of us.
The thing is that each time I felt that something would be challenging because I had two kids, I just thought well what if I had three or four…it doesn’t get any easier. I think we just learn how best to handle it.
What are some challenges you faced when becoming a second-time mom and how did you get through them? What fears do you have about becoming a second-time mom? Share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂