Baby two and blue

4 comments

It’s been eight weeks since I became a mom of two, and I have a not-very-surprising confession:

Baby number two has been really hard.

Not that I thought it would be easy, but I figured the experience and perspective I gained with my first would somehow make me better at this newborn thing.  As it turns out, I AM better at diapers and baths, pumping and milk storage.  I am less paranoid about milestones, percentiles, and every little grunt and cry.

BUT.

Being an experienced mom has NOT made me less anxious, given me better self-esteem, improved my baby telepathy powers, or made me tolerate sleep deprivation with any more grace.  Plus, I now have an older child to worry about; I never anticipated all the guilt around meeting her needs now.  Honestly, things have gotten pretty ugly at times.  I don’t know how else to say it.  Better now than the first month but still rocky.

Baby blues are supposed to last two weeks – I’m going on eight.  Maybe I have postpartum depression.  Or maybe I’m just still adjusting to one of the biggest life transitions I will ever experience.  I have a hard time getting over a bad haircut or a hole in a favorite shirt in two weeks.  I get two weeks to adjust to adding a whole new family member??  It’s hard to imagine that a new mom wouldn’t continue to feel a little blue after so little time.

The good news is that I’m not doing this totally on my own.  If there are two things motherhood has bestowed upon me (besides my kids, of course), they are humility and resourcefulness.  So I’ve been talking and researching and joining and doing.  I am actively working on figuring this all out.

No makeup, no filter, sleep deprived, honest new mom selfie. Photo cred: E Gonzalez
No makeup, no filter, sleep deprived, honest new mom selfie.
Photo cred: E Gonzalez

A few important supports to mention:

-My husband and parents have all but taken over caring for my two-year-old, have kept my house in livable shape, provided endless emotional support, and kept us all fed.  On many occasions I have had to swallow my pride and say those dreaded words: “I need…”, and they find a way to make it happen.

-I hired a lactation consultant to help us work through the early days of breastfeeding.  Things still aren’t perfect, but she had a very non-judgmental approach and really helped us get off to a good start.

-My healthcare professionals aren’t always the most sensitive, but I give them credit for being concerned about me from day one and checking up on me consistently.  (I’m a little annoyed that, after flags came up on my postpartum depression screen, they gave me the homework of finding a way to get more sleep before making any other recommendations, but that’s probably a topic for another day.)

-I joined a facilitated moms’ support group, which is something that I didn’t even know existed in the world until recently.  We have only met twice so far, but it’s been beyond great to have a dedicated time and place to talk about some of the things I’ve been going through with people who are also living it.

-I have met and been socializing with some other moms of babies in my neighborhood.  Putting myself out there and actively pursuing these types of relationships is sometimes hard for me, but I’m so glad I have had the guts to go outside my comfort zone.  I’ve met some really great people.

So that’s my update.  I know that it will get better, she’ll eventually sleep longer, and I’ll start to feel more like myself, probably sooner rather than later.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that being a mom to a new baby is hard whether you’re on number one or number five.  Babies are just hard, and I find myself guiltily wishing these days away.  For now, I’m just taking it one day at a time.

4 comments on “Baby two and blue”

  1. Emily, I do not know you but the fact that you have the self awareness to express what you are feeling and what you are going through is amazing. You are not alone. You are an awesome mother of multiple even if you don’t feel it right now. I have an 8yo, 2.5yo, and 1yo (surprise third). I feel that guilt you talk about, I felt down, sleep deprivation is horrible and holds your brain hostage. I had to get depression meds almost immediately after baby 3. It helped! Then the sleep came as he got older and things are looking up. This month I feel way more positive than this time last year and I stopped the meds months ago. I share only to give you hope. Listen to your body and take care of yourself.

  2. Hi Emily. I can so relate to what you are going through. My second son is now two weeks old and one of my biggest struggles is the guilt I feel towards not being able to give my older one the attention I feel like he needs. Quite honestly, he wants nothing to do with me these days. It breaks my heart every time he screams “No! Daddy!” at me when I try to do anything with him. Just know you are doing the absolute best that you can. I know you are. And it’s okay to be sad and blue. Remember our bodies are still in the post-partum stage for weeks and weeks after little one arrives. I’m always here for you if you need support. It’s amazing you have found support through other mamas, because we can really start to feel so alone and like we are the only ones going through this. Great job being you!!

  3. I had lots of anxiety after my second baby too. Definitely find a healthcare professional who is supportive and will recommend a good therapist for you. Medication really does help. I waited a year to seek help after my first and didn’t want to make that same mistake the second time around. You can do it. Your kids will thrive. This too shall pass and we are here for you.

  4. Emily I am so grateful you shared this. I had a very hard time during the baby stages with my daughter as well. This community is here for you and I’m so glad you’re reaching out to other folks more local to you. Sending you love and support.

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