It’s Charlotte here for this evening. There are a few families in my classes expecting their second child this year. Having a baby is always lifechanging but having a second child was not what we’d expected at all. With the first child there is time to prepare and rest and worry and imagine and wonder. When we had our second our first was 18 months old and being pregnant was a whirlwind of returning to work when he turned one, the usual scans and anxieties, broken nights, going to Jolly Babies and, also of hope, joy, worry and the whole spectrum of other feelings that go along with expecting a baby.
When she arrived we were very lucky, it was all straightforward and we were all well but nothing prepared us for the enormous transition from having one to having two! For the last 18 months we had gradually got used to being parents, being able to take a break every now and then as we could take turns, but with two it all suddenly felt relentless. Nights felt like life times, the demands were constant and juggling the needs of everyone else and your own needs can feel like a losing battle. Stick with it though (well there’s no choice), there is a lot to be learned from having two.
The way they interact with each other, their individuality and their similarities are to be marvelled at. I wasn’t sure what I expected when she was born but I was amazed at how she was immediately, and continues to be, her own person, as does my eldest. After having one baby, you can fool yourself into thinking you have it sussed (or at least some of it) but the second baby demands that you get to know them as an individual, just as you did the first.
They are both training me all the time and I am doing my best to learn on the job, when I have really felt like I wasn’t sure what to do next I found a few good books to turn to (my favourite being Calm Parents, Happy Siblings by Dr Laura Markham, there are others offering similar advice). Actively teaching them how to get along and negotiate with each other pays off and they are developing their own lovely and supportive relationship. It isn’t always that way but when it is it’s magical to watch.
I have been pushed to the limits of my patience, and then further still, but I have managed things I never thought I could. Don’t shy away from asking for help and support, especially in the early days. It does get easier. Enjoy what you can and don’t feel guilty about the rest, tomorrow is another day.
Having two feels like more than double the work, at times it feels like you need 16 versions of yourself just to get through the day (and night) but it does also multiply the magic and sense of family, particularly as they grow. Take each day as it comes, try to be present and you’ll get there in the end.
Charlotte x x x