Transitioning from 1 to 2 Kids – My Postpartum Journal Pt. 4
Since the birth of my daughter in late November 2020, I’ve been trying to take a few minutes every few days (or at least once a week) to journal and write out what I’m feeling. When I became a mom for the first time with my son two plus years ago, it was imperative and so helpful for me to read other mothers’ postpartum journeys and feel like I wasn’t so alone. My goal in sharing my thoughts and feelings during this period is to hopefully do the same thing for other new mamas. Below is an excerpt that I wrote down last week. Thanks for reading and please share with any new moms that may need to hear they aren’t alone!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the transition from 1-2 kids lately – as my second child Scottie was born just this past November and my son Shepard is going to be three next month. I had a very challenging time going from 0 -1 kid – mostly because I had postpartum anxiety (can read about that here) and I wasn’t able to get out of that fog for well over a year. Along with the PPA, I also had to come to terms with becoming a completely new version of myself – which I wasn’t prepared for. Going from 0-1 child for me meant going from selfish to selfless, rested to exhausted, being semi-put together in general to hot mess express. My time was no longer my own, I had different priorities, different fears, and different goals. This isn’t a bad thing – in the beginning I fought it, fought it, fought it, and then eventually I decided to lean in and was rewarded ten fold. I would almost compare it to being in the military – where they say they break you down to build you up into a new person – that’s how I felt becoming a mother. I was stripped down to my bare self and then built back up into the mom I was meant to become. I wouldn’t change it for anything and I am so fulfilled – but those were the challenges I had back then.
I anticipated and hoped that going from 1-2 kids would not be as great of a challenge for me mentally – since I was prepared for it, knew what to expect, and had already transitioned into this new “mom” life I have. So far, I feel 1,000 times better mentally and am not suffering from PPA, which makes a huge difference. That being said, other challenges have presented themselves – mostly in the physical sense.
I’m exhausted at all times. My left eye has a constant twitch. I am getting pretty good sleep for having a newborn, but there are zero breaks throughout the day when you have two. The minute one goes down for a nap, the other needs my full attention. Once I get that one settled and have a chance to sit down, the baby wakes up from her nap, and it’s time to focus on her again (all the while making sure the toddler is occupied and safe.)
Something I wasn’t prepared for going from 1-2 was just how much of a mind F it is with parenting the older one. The baby I can handle – she either needs to eat, sleep, or get her diaper changed. Instead of thinking or worrying about her, my mind is usually filled with concern for my toddler – is he getting enough attention and 1:1 time? Does he feel as much love as he felt before we had the baby? Is he jealous? Is he sad? How is COVID and not seeing many other kids or family members affecting him? Is he learning enough here at home? Constant loop on those things. Then I start feeling bad that I’m not focusing that energy on the baby. Oh, mom brain!
Yesterday I felt like a total failure on this front. Shep was with Scottie and I in my bed and I was letting him watch his favorite show so that I could focus on feeding her. Everything was fine and dandy, he was even being pretty sweet to her – patting her belly, talking to her in a baby voice (he’ll say “oh hi scottie girl…” in the softest voice and it is the cutest thing in the world) and then all hell broke loose. Out of nowhere, he started getting hyper, kicking and flailing, jumping on top of me, and all I can do in those moments is try to get him to calm down while also being a human shield in front of the baby. It’s weird being the referee between your two kids – and it’s a lose / lose situation because one of them is going to wind up in tears and feeling like you took the other’s side. Well, Scottie’s a baby so she gets first priority from a safety standpoint and I was growing more and more angry with Shep as a couple of minutes went on. Scottie was also needing more milk than what I could produce and was getting frustrated at me trying to nurse her… It got to a breaking point when Shep jumped on my head, rolled over me and in turn pulled my hair, and then went for Scottie. Scottie started screaming and I wasn’t sure if she was pissed about the milk or if he had made contact with her. I yelled “SHEPARD, ENOUGH, STOP IT!” and then I burst into tears. It was all I could do to get up off the bed with Scottie in hand and try to get out of there before I really lost my cool. Eric had heard this whole thing go down from our office and was already on his way in to assist by the time I got to our bedroom door. “I can’t!” I yelled as I rushed the baby and I down stairs and shut the door to the basement behind us. I just needed a minute.
I could hear Shep starting to cry for me within minutes. My anger towards him began to fade and the guilt came crashing in. In my head I’m now thinking – “It’s not his fault…he’s only two…he’s cooped up and we can’t go outside because of the blizzard…he’s bored of this house and his toys and looking at the same four walls and people every day….etc. etc. etc.” I remembered all the reasons why I shouldn’t be mad at my own kid and then I felt like a real asshole. Why couldn’t I be better at parenting them both at the same time? Why do I struggle so badly when I’m by myself with them? Why was it that I could be a good parent when I just had one kid, but now that I have two, I feel like I suck at it? Will I ever get the hang of this?
I posted on my Instagram Stories after I had some time to cool off – and got a ton of responses from our community saying that you’ve been through the same thing. It instantly made me feel better and not like a total lunatic terrible parent. I need to try and remember to give myself as much advice and understanding as I do my other mom friends and this community – why are we so hard on ourselves? The reality is I don’t suck at being a parent – sometimes it’s just hard, and it’s certainly not made easier by being isolated in a pandemic. This is not a normal situation. But – such is the beauty of life and even though it’s not all sunshine and rainbows – the love I have for these kids and my family runs deep and I wouldn’t change it for anything. It is what it is, and finally, after almost three years of being a mom so far, I’m figuring out that I’ll probably never feel like I have the hang of this, and that’s okay.
Motherhood for Me is here to create a better motherhood community. A place without judgement, mom-shaming, or condescending articles telling you what to do. We are a place for you to come as you are, read about what other mamas are going through, share your own stories (if you want,) and provide opportunities for you to find camaraderie with other mothers. Please check out our other mama submitted stories, sign up to receive email alerts when we publish a new one, and spread the word to all your mama friends. We truly appreciate your support and you being here. Thank you!
Transitioning from 1 to 2 Kids – My Postpartum Journal Pt. 4