Now that I have your attention, my question is: Can you truly prepare yourself for your second baby? Not just worrying about room sharing or what to register for this time around. I mean mentally and emotionally, can you prepare yourself? Amidst the excitement of my oldest daughter becoming a big sister, thats exactly what I was thinking.
I thought (and maybe even hoped a little) that having two babies 15 months apart would be a breeze because I would already be in a routine! And you know what, that is what I was led to believe, too! At every doctor’s appointment, my sweet nurses would gush about how I would totally had it made because I just brought home a new baby the year prior.
I will tell you here and now that my first baby girl, E, did not prepare me for my second little girl. I take that back, she made me a champion at changing diapers in the middle of the night and half asleep. She taught my bare feet how to strategically avoid painful toys in the dark. E taught me the signs of an oncoming ear infection. She taught me that breastfeeding is a lot harder than it is often expressed to be. Other than that, not much transferred to my littlest one.
E, my oldest, is calm (unless watching her favorite Disney princess movies, in which case she acts them out, sings the songs, and dances along). She can sit for hours with me reading books. She can stay so focused on one activity and is a very fast and curious learner. She loves meeting new people and is kind and compassionate to everyone she meets. She is a creature of habit and knows exactly what she wants and has no trouble asking for it. I could have gotten away with no baby proofing with her. She slept in her crib until I took her out purely because she had outgrown it.
My youngest, C, however, was a whole new adventure. I knew I was in trouble when she could roll over, both ways, at two and a half weeks old. And she did it when I wasn’t looking, So for days I legitimately thought I was crazy and didn’t remember putting her on her stomach or vice versa. She was mobile by 6 months old, walking at just over 9 months, and very quickly more and more baby proofing products were added to our house. And even those only slow her down. ( Click here to see my FAVORITE baby proofing products)
One day I was doing dishes and she was sitting behind me playing on the floor like normal. When I finished, I turned around and she was gone. I walked around the house quicker and quicker as I realized I couldn’t find her. I was beginning to panic when I saw the tupperware cabinet door flutter. I opened it up and sure enough, 14 month old C had released the child lock and taken up residence in the cabinet. All day she runs around screaming with joy, but the moment she wants to play hide-and-seek has this incredible ability to be as silent and undetectable as a submarine. Her climbing capabilities are comparable to those of Spider-Man and when she gets caught she squints her eyes and gives us the funniest, toothiest grin we have ever seen. She is wild, she is daring, and never has a baby made me laugh so hard!
So to answer the burning question:
How DO you mentally prepare for your second baby?
I would say the exact same way you prepared for your first. Children are all unique and different and that is one of the coolest things about being a parent. It amazes me daily how different two little girls, close in age, living in the same home, in the same room even, can be! And not only that, but it is incredible how soon we can start to see their personalities coming out. We don’t know what to expect, we can’t “prepare” for what is to come and that is what makes this parenting journey exhausting, exciting, and so incredibly rewarding.
I remember thinking when my first daughter was born that I could have never been prepared. I’m not talking about diapers, car seats, and cribs (my mom aka Super Woman was in town so all of that was covered). I mean how I felt. The instant connection the moment I looked into her eyes. The deep love I had never experienced before, that I didn’t even realize existed in this world, that I felt in the hospital on her very first day of life. My love for her daddy growing on that day. Knowing those emotions, I worried that my heart couldn’t possibly explode with much more love. I wondered if I would feel the same, or if I wouldn’t feel that same connection as my first.
I wondered a lot of things.
There is no way I could have been prepared for what was to come. The day C was born was unreal. I could feel my heart growing from the first time I saw her. She was an emergency C-section. I was exhausted, sick, and just couldn’t stop staring at her. This time, I got to watch my oldest daughter, E meet her baby sister and nothing could have possibly prepared me for that. They are just 15 months apart but this look right here says it all. She took to her immediately.
(I wish the photo was a little better quality, but it was taken during a precious moment and the emotion was still captured perfectly)
There are so many ways that your first cannot prepare you. Bringing home your second baby is different. You are bringing home a new baby, a new life, a new personality. You are bringing home MORE. More love, more laughs, more cries, (more mess), more LIFE.