Hi, how are ya?
Yeah that’s me, right front and center, with my 2nd baby strapped in the front.
This picture perfectly captures how I feel about motherhood this time around: exhausted, happy, confident, and incredibly stable.
It’s been about 3 months since my baby girl, A, was born.
I felt the need to give an update on my status as a second time mom, because GURL it’s a DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE ALTOGETHER.
[And I think I am suffering from brain-rot because mommying at this stage is more physically demanding than intellectually challenging, so here I am forcing myself to use my brain to at least write something that is hopefully intellectually stimulating. Well, at this point, writing down anything is intellectually stimulating, so EXCUSE ME.]
Life isn’t really that bad after all
It’s true! UNDENIABLY TRUE! I am not sure if it’s because I’ve become an overall confident person or this is my second rodeo, but daaamn, I am handling this baby (and myself more importantly) a lot better than what I did with the first one. And as I look back I only wish I had felt this calm, confident, and level-headed with the first one, but I guess anything that you do the first time will always be filled with anxiety.
So, let me make a list or more like a comparison of what I did with my first one and how I changed my style overtime with the second one. This only covers the first few months of my second daughter’s life.
DISCLAIMER: As we are in the midst of the triggered and everything-offends-me era, let me preface this section as this: It’s my opinion, I am just a mom figuring out the appropriate and effective parenting style that works for MY kids, it may not work for you, you do you boo, but it worked so far for me. I trust that you as a parent should know what is right for you and your child-raising needs.
Phew! Now since that is out of the way, on with the show.
The stupidest, dumbest thing I ever did in my 30 years living on this wonderful planet. Self-denial or sacrificing yourself, your sanity, physical and mental health to raise a baby. Yes, I know, at the beginning it feels like you have to go down that path, survival mode, when the baby gives you sleep deprivation, zaps your energy due to all the crying, diaper changing and feeding and just the overall anxiety of the unknown, but can I tell you that you shouldn’t do that. Moms (or even women’s innate ability) is to care for someone to a point where they deny or sacrifice themselves, it’s an admirable quality that either was taught or passed down through our genes and I am not saying you should throw it out. I am saying, the moment you cannot go to bathroom, cannot get dressed, cannot even eat – that is where an intervention is needed. You have the right to take a break, a happy mom is a happy baby. Take time for yourself, be kind to yourself, ask for help, step outside and walk around the block.
Hormones are scary AF, they need to take the backseat
I am sorry, but be wary of hormones. I posted about postpartum depression, that I had a variation of it that luckily did not resort me to harming myself or my first child, but I can tell you from experience that hormones can also be pretty scary when they are mixed with self-doubt, lack of confidence, any form of personal baggage (mine was predominantly remorse for not finishing college like I was supposed to), then also lovely self-denial, lack of help and lack of support.
Now with my second one, I feel more confident in myself, I am 30 and not 23 therefore more calm and steady. I have the support that I need (or more like I’ve grown stronger and more independent) and I am able to some degree discern valid, credible emotional grievances versus hormonally jacked up emotions. I am not here to vilify hormones, they are essential and great for many things in life, but when there is an imbalance and it makes you think and do things that is out-of-character, talk to someone or seek help. So, all I am saying, question and question your feelings and emotions without being totally dismissive of them (yes, at the beginning even throughout motherhood you will be overwhelmed, express it if you have to, being a mom the first time around is overwhelming, daunting,etc), but try to discern what you believe is legit and not. Talk to your doctor, partner, mother, friend, anyone that is rational and not in your head, an outside perspective is always important.
I was pathetically weak. I made the mistake of succumbing to my emotions, believing that one should dwell in it after having a baby, which clearly was an invitation for Postpartum depression to feel at home on my couch for almost a year after my 1st daughter’s birth. With my second one however, Postpartum depression hasn’t even appeared on my door step at all. I have made the conscious decision since I got pregnant not to repeat this mistake, yes I will have down days, yes I will have emotional outbursts, I am human after all, but I will never let it dominate any second or minute spent with my newborn.
Do something, anything
Pick up your hobby that you’ve neglected and work on it. If you can’t, force yourself to find something to keep you busy. Use the technology you have at hand. Reading, listening to audiobooks, watch YouTube videos, etc. Yes, you are a mom, but you are also you, Mom is just another beautifully intricate gold and diamond encrusted key chain added to your other key chains of your life. With my first child, I stopped writing, stop creating, and it destroyed me. This ties back to self-denial, please don’t do that. Keep your passions and hobbies alive. While I was pregnant with my second one I firmly told myself I should keep busy otherwise I will fall into mental decay [hence the blogging lol] and that mindset has helped me persist through some of biggest hormonal waves so far.
Surround yourself with supportive people
Mommy friends, your friends, your siblings, your parents, talk to them, hang out with them. Talk and be with people who empower you, motivate or inspire you. Yes you are a mom, but not only that, you’re more than that. If that isn’t option, there are tons of support groups catered to new moms.
GTFOH – Get the f*** out of your house
Seriously! Get out! Take the baby with you on errands or have relatives watch the baby, get out of the environment, avoid the stagnant life yo, get some stimulation outside, SPRING IS FINALLY HERE PRAISE THE LAWD, don’t stay at home, kids.
Other than accepting that your body will not revert entirely to its pre-pregnancy shape, that your boobs will hang, stretch marks will cover parts of your body, your hips won’t fit in your ol’ favorite jeans anymore – don’t take it to heart. Accept change. Accept that you are a mom. Accept that you have new responsibilities and accept that your free time has been temporarily cut short. The faster you accept the change and remain positive about it, the better it is for you in the long run. Yes, you can’t go out willy-nilly without taking your baby’s needs into consideration or you can’t go to the theater at night or mall at night without hiring a babysitter, and you don’t have the time to spend with your partner like you used to. BUT, in time that free time will slowly and seamlessly trickle back into your life and you will realize how much you have grown as an individual when you’ve gone through this drastic change as a mother.
Step by step, Just do your best
Recognize your achievements. Keeping a baby alive is the greatest achievement yet. To recognize that they’ve turned into a chunky monkey all because you’ve fed them well, going out with the baby without an incident, putting make up on, dressing up – all that deserves an award. Be kind to yourself mama. Nobody said it was easy and it’s impossible to be perfect.
Babies will cry
This may be controversial for some parents, but here I go. Sometimes babies will cry about anything and after you’ve covered the list of possible triggers and to no avail, it is okay to set the baby down and let it cry (unless it is in major distress). You can put some headphones on, listen to some music or watch something to unwind just for a little bit, your sanity is important and then come back to your baby. Sometimes babies just need to cry.
Now I can sort of decode the second one’s cries, I am not gonna lie that depending on the days and how much sleep I got, I will get stressed out about the crying, but not as much as before where everything sounded like the baby was dying. My second one is a little drama queen and will amp up the cry, other than that life has gotten so much more manageable.
Don’t be perfect and lower your expectations
Please don’t be, it’s impossible. Raising a child is a helluva roller coaster ride, one minute you are coasting along just fine and next at the slightest bump or bend your passenger projectile vomits and shits and pisses everywhere. Then the roller coaster goes for a loop the passenger giggles or cries while the car gathers extreme speed as it races down and up until it comes to a gentle cruising speed where the passenger is either asleep or cooing.
It will take time to find a routine, don’t expect much from a baby, a child or even yourself, lower your expectations and you will find yourself enjoying more of those precious moments in their adorable lives.
Ultimately, you are not alone on this wonderfully tricky journey called motherhood. What you are going through, many moms have gone through, don’t isolate yourself. You would be surprised how parents in different stages of their life have an instant connection with those who just started that journey. They will smile at you, they will encourage and cheer you on, they will offer carrying your groceries, because they can ABSOLUTELY RELATE to your struggles and your pains. I am sure when they see you they are immediately overcome with bitter-sweet nostalgia, they are reliving before their eyes the old times where they held their babies in their arms.
Humans are just amazing, we can all connect to each other regardless of national or cultural barriers by the power of parenthood.
I have never felt more part of humanity after joining parenthood.
If you have survived reading this post until now, I thank you and I will see you in the next post, tooodles ❤