I am not sure what the magic number is, but I was just far enough away from vivid memories of a newborn and those daily struggles as a new mother to be open to the possibility of trying for baby #2. I’d see others having babies and it made me miss those tiny fingers and toes. I wanted to smell that new baby smell and relive that bond that only a mom and baby can experience.
We were fortunate to get pregnant again within a reasonable time frame…and here I am, 29 weeks later feeling a bit terrified of this tiny life growing inside me. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to meet our baby girl in May. It is what I wanted. But as the final trimester is now in play…things are starting to feel a lot more real. Unlike my first pregnancy where I spent my time imagining what was in store for me – now, I don’t have to imagine. I know. I think that is why I am pretty much terrified of what’s next. I think back to the first few months with Daxton and I remember it was hard. It was beautiful and perfect and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. How in the world will I survive that same experience on top of having a 3 year old?
I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head about my ability to be the type of mom I want to be to both my kids. I think about being the type of wife I want to be when I have 2 kids. And I think about the type of daughter, sister, aunt and friend I want to be when my life takes this new twist in just a few months. Man, it feels overwhelming.
Then I reflect for a moment. I take a few deep breaths and I realize I forgot to think about someone pretty important in all this thinking. Me. How will I be good and kind to myself when I have 2 kids? I forgot to ask myself this really important question in the midst of preparing for meeting my first child. And I’ve spent the last 3 years not figuring it out totally, and that makes me sad. It makes my husband sad.
So i’m going to try to be mindful this time. I’m going to be nicer to myself. I’m going to be more willing to ask for help and believe it’s not a sign of weakness on my side. I’m not going to torture myself if breastfeeding doesn’t work out like I want it to. I am going to make time for myself to do things I enjoy and love – like seeing my friends and making plans even if it’s a little inconvenient or hard to get ready for with 2 kids. I’m going to rely on my husband to take care of things when I can’t and trust that someone else can be in charge of washing the bottles correctly or pairing the tiny socks and finding the right drawers to put away the laundry correctly.
I realize the hardest part of being a mom for me is tangled up in my need to love my family fiercely and my inability to extend that same type of love and compassion to myself. And that makes everything harder. Self created hardship, I know. So my goal is to keep loving fiercely and add myself to the list of people I want to be thoughtful of during this next season of my life.
Being a mom is about being willing to put someone else before your own needs. I don’t expect anything different this time around, I know my life, my hopes, my dreams will all be wrapped around a tiny little finger. I know my daughter will be the next love of my life and my heart may burst. But I must make more room, my heart has to grow even bigger this time – because I have to find room for me again despite how hard it will be.
Sometimes we forget that there is a “me” in mother. Maybe it’s just coincidence, but I choose to believe it is because we need that reminder. Because I’m not “the best me” when I’m not extending the same kindess and love to myself that I am offering everyone else. To be a better mother (and all of those other things I want to do be good at), I’m not overlooking me this time.
I have to believe my kids will thank me one day. My kids will always come first, I think that is in the DNA of being a mother…but I have decided I deserve a place on the list, too. This new chapter of my life is going to be really hard. I’m going to be really tired. But it will be full of love, and it’s not just going to be about loving my children but remembering to love me, too.