What is it like going from one child to two?
Lean in close, I am about to let you in on a little secret:
it was way easier than I thought it would be.
Not to say that it was easy. Babies are never easy, per se. If you are in the newborn period with a new babe, you know what I’m talking about. There were many sleepless nights. There were tantrums from our toddler. There were days when the overwhelm from juggling the two of them got to me.
But, before I had my second baby, Eloise, I wondered if the transition would be easier or harder than going form 0 to 1 kids. I really struggled the year after I had my firstborn: I was sleep deprived, lonely, and lost. I was so nervous about having another newborn, and losing myself for a year again. But I was really surprised to find out that, for me, the transition from 1 to 2 kids was a lot easier than I had expected.
Why are two kids easier than one?
I’ve been thinking about the why? Why are two kids easier than one? By all accounts, it doesn’t make much sense. Here is what I’ve come up with:
+ My second baby was a pretty easy baby. She slept 6-7 hour stretches when she was only two weeks old (I NEVER thought I would have a baby who did that, it was shocking)! So while I was prepared for intense sleep deprivation for months (years) like we experienced with Gid, it just wasn’t the case (thank you sweet Eloise).
+ I was already firmly in work-at-home mom mode. When I had my firstborn, I abruptly switched from having no kids and working several jobs outside the home, to having a baby and becoming a stay-at-home mom. It was hard, and I was lonely! This time around, my life didn’t change that drastically.
+I prioritized rest. When Eloise was a newborn, Saia would sit out in the living room with her in the evenings, and I would go to bed with Gideon for a few hours. Then when Eloise was ready to go to sleep, Saia would wake me up. This helped immensely! Highly recommend!
+ The toddler can entertain the baby. It is SO nice not to be the only entertainment in the house. Eloise watches Gid constantly, and there have been several times when she’s started to fuss, and I’ve asked Gideon to play with her. He is so good at getting her to laugh, and it really helps me out!
+ A baby seems easier now that we have a toddler. When we had Gid, it felt like babies were so tough! Then Gid grew into a two-year-old, and honestly a newborn felt a lot easier in some ways!
+ We were already in kid mode. We already have a house equipped for kids, and our schedule already revolves around nap time. We didn’t have to overhaul anything to have a second baby, she just fit right into our daily life.
+ I knew what to expect. Before I had Gid, I imagined having a baby to look like this: me peacefully typing away on my computer while my baby snoozed in a beautiful Moses basket at my feet. Ha ha ha! This time around, I knew that I would be wearing that baby for the first three to six months of his/her life. I knew how much work a baby was, and I knew that life would return to normal again at some point.
+ I accepted help. When Gid was born, I turned away a lot of help. This time, I decided my default answer was: yes. Someone would ask if they could drop by food, I would say yes. Someone would ask if they could bring a latte, I would say yes. Someone asked if they could come wash all my dishes, I would cringe at the thought of them seeing my filthy kitchen, and say yes. This is the advice I give to new mamas: just say yes to help!
+ The second baby often crawls sooner. Gid was almost nine months old before he was crawling, so I carried him and entertained him for months and months! Eloise started scooting around at five months old, and now at eight months old is cruising around furniture. She has been way more mobile than Gid was, partly because she wants to keep up with him!
+Breastfeeding was about a MILLION times easier. With Gid, it was excruciatingly painful for the first two weeks. With Eloise, it was easy from the very first day. SO grateful.
What would I tell a mama thinking about the transition from 1 to 2 kids?
Don’t be afraid.
I had so many fears going into my second delivery. I was afraid that I would end up with a second C-section. Afraid of how my toddler would react to a baby. Afraid that I didn’t have enough love to give a second one. I was afraid the newborn phase would plunge me into another dark year.
I am so glad I didn’t let these fears keep us from having our second baby.
It was SO much easier than I could’ve imagined it would be, and while there were, of course, struggles, she is such a light in our household. She is everything I dreamed of, and more! And what they say is true: your heart really does double in size.
Don’t worry, mama. There are some good times ahead!
What about three kids?
Now that I’ve got the two kid thing figured out, I have been wondering what the transition from 2 to 3 kids looks like! I’ve heard from many moms that having three little kids is the hardest, and once you have three you might as well have a dozen, ha ha! I am nervous about having three, because they will outnumber us, they won’t all fit in my double stroller (sob!), and…did I mention they will outnumber us?
So, I guess, check back in a couple years to discover what I think about the transition from 2 to 3. I’ll report back.
Which transition was the most difficult for you?