Looking at this photos, you would have never have guessed that my biggest motherhood challenge was the transition from being a mother of one to being a mother of two. We love being a family of four now, but it didn't start off this way.
Ok, let me first start off this blog post by saying, I am not trying to scare anyone off from having more kids. But I just want to share my experience, to let others know that if you too are struggling with this, that you are not alone, and it will get better!
(And Jasper, if you are reading this in the future, please know mummy & daddy loves you very much. This is by no mean a reflection of how we feel now.)
Being an only child, I have ALWAYS wanted two kids. Yes me, not my husband, he actually only wanted one. But I didn’t realise how hard it was going to be, especially with such a small age gap between the two.
I grew up hearing people saying having two kids is not that much different than having one, but that is SO NOT my experience. It is definitely a VERY DIFFERENT experience. From pregnancy to the first year of Jasper’s life, nothing was the same, and the struggle was definitely harder than expected.
But if you ask me if I can go back in time would I change a thing? No, definitely not. Now that I am on the other side, I know having two was the right choice and I love both my boys with all my heart and soul, just that my journey getting to this point wasn’t an easy one.
Gosh! Where do I even begin! Let’s start right from the beginning, the pregnancy.
When I found out I was pregnant with Jasper. It was so unexpected. I didn’t even know I was pregnant until I was 6 weeks in! We were just considering about trying for the second one, because it took us so long to conceive the first time, we thought it would take us another 3 years for the second. But life has it’s own plans, and bang, I was pregnant after the first try.
I still remember my first ultrasound and when my OBGYN confirmed I was pregnant, I wasn’t sure how I felt. As everyone was congratulating me, in my head I was thinking “FUCK! Am I ready for this?” Mentally, my brain didn’t really register the pregnancy until I felt Jasper kick. (At least it didn’t me as long as my husband. Mentally he didn’t register we were having a second child until my FINAL ultrasound! He was pretty much in utter denial for majority of the pregnancy - no joke.)
My second struggle, and probably my biggest, was letting go of my eldest, so I can concentrate on my second. With Joshua (my eldest) before Jasper was born, I spent every waking minute with him. My world pretty much revolved around him. I didn’t want the transition for him to be too much of a shock. So nearer to the delivery date, I started palming off a lot of duties to my helper and my husband. So I let my helper do more of the meal times, and let her take him out for a walk without me. It worked really well for Josh, as he adapted having a baby brother really quickly. What was completely unexpected was how hard it was for me!
I always knew having two kids I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with Joshua. But I found it a lot harder than expected. I felt like I was losing him, and he doesn’t want me as much any more. Looking back now, I know my pregnancy and postpartum hormones played a big part. As I had mood swings like a yo-yo, and I was going through baby blues. But not being able to spend time with Joshua was a big trigger for my baby blues.
My third struggle was the change in the family dynamics. With one child, at least one of the parents can rest when they want to. But with two, we are constantly playing one-on-one and no one gets to rest! Which put a lot of strain on my marriage, simply because we had no time for each other. It was tough, because we so desperately wanted to spend time together, but our schedules were day and night, so we were like passing ships in the night. We barely saw each other because we were barely awake at the same time.
After my confinement was over it was better. As we made more of an effort to spend time together. Those lunch dates really saved our marriage. It was just so nice to spend one-on-one time with my husband so we can talk. So we feel connected to the other person again. It was much needed.
My forth struggle was bonding with Jasper. It took awhile for me to bond with Jasper, it definitely didn’t come from day one, mostly because I was going through really tough baby blues. It was a vicious cycle really, because I was suffering from baby blues, I was crying a lot and in a general down mood, which made it very hard to bond with Jasper. But at the same time, the harder I found bonding with Jasper, the more it contributed to my baby blues. I still remember I was crying for majority of the first few weeks after giving birth.
My fifth struggle was that Jasper and I have very different love languages. Jasper is not the most cuddly baby, physical touch is definitely not his primary love language, while as it is mine. So I felt rejected by Jasper a lot of the time, because he wasn’t the type of baby that just wants to be cuddled all the time. He was actually better when he was a newborn, but as he got older, we soon discovered that he is a very independent baby. He doesn’t want to hold my hands when we go out and he doesn’t want me to do things for him.
Basically both my primary love languages, physical touch and Act of service is not his. Making it much harder to bond with Jasper too, because I constantly feel rejected even though I know that is not the case. At the moment I am still trying to figure out what his love language is. I just know it is not the same as mine.
My final struggle with becoming a family of four was the lack of time I have for myself. Trying to find time for myself was even harder than before. I wasn’t able to spend as much time on my work was a big adjustment. And partly the reason why it took so long for me to feel normal again, because only recently I feel like I can work again, and my life have a bit more of a balance. Before that, it just felt like I am losing myself to motherhood. Now I feel like I have found myself again in Motherhood.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
The good news is, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I do feel the hardest adjustment period of being a family of 3 to a family of 4 is this first year and a half, but I do know a lot of mothers adjust much quicker than I did.
My first hurdle was 3 months. After the first 3 months, life start to feel a bit more settled. At 6 months, we started to get a bit more of a rhythm of our new routine. At 9 months, because Jasper stopped breastfeeding, I feel a bit more like my old self. At 13 months, Jasper decided to drop down to one nap, so the boys schedule start to synch a bit more. At 15 months, Jasper started to be more affectionate and wants a cuddle and a kiss. (This was HUGE for me, because I felt so much closer to him.) And now at 18 months, it is the best!
Jasper is more robust now so I worry less when the boys play too rough together. The boys love & adore each other. Jasper is a lot more expressive and affectionate and do the funniest things. Best part, now that when we go out together as a family, it feel less like we have to play one-on-one with the kids. So we feel more like a unit than 2 separate parties.
So if you are going through a hard time adjusting. Don’t worry it does get better. You just need to give yourself time and grace to get through the tough part, and you will come out stronger for it.
I hope this honest unfiltered blog post was helpful to you and didn’t scare you off. As I said, it is not meant to. It is just so you have a more realistic and different perspective to those who makes motherhood look easy.
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Sending you love & happy thoughts,