February 6, 2018
How It Feels to Have a Newborn Again (baby blues part 2)

“How has it been—having a newborn again?” I’ve been asked that a lot since Rosie was born, especially since I opened up about having a bit of the baby blues after having Watson. I received

“How has it been—having a newborn again?” I’ve been asked that a lot since Rosie was born, especially since I opened up about having a bit of the baby blues after having Watson. I received a lot of feedback after that post… so many of you felt the exact same way I did. Some of you shared your experiences after having that second baby. Some said it was so much easier and some said having a second child knocked the wind out of your sails even more than it did after your first baby. And then there were some of you who, like me, said you were afraid to take the plunge in having a second baby due to the experience you had the first time around. So, I definitely want to share with y’all how it’s going this time. My experience has been a lot different and it’s my hope to share some positivity and confidence to those of you who felt the same as I did after that first baby!

As we awaited Rosie’s arrival, I was blissfully excited, but I felt vulnerable at the same time—and that terrified me. I worried about how I’d handle having a newborn again. The thought of having her and snapping back to that dark place I was in for a little while after having Watson made me afraid. I feared losing myself again in the midst of a sea of newborn cries and having that feeling of sadness that I couldn’t nail down. And on top of that, I knew that this time, it would be no easier with an almost two year old running around needing me and with me trying to work at the same time. (The big downside to being self-employed is that work never ends. It’s around the clock and doesn’t include any maternity leave!)

One of the things I shared in that blog post about life with Watson as a newborn was that I envied all of the women who posted photos of their newborns and shared captions about that “newborn high” and how they couldn’t get enough of their new baby. I mean, I  felt the same way after I had Watson… From the moment I laid eyes on that sweet boy, I loved him more than anything else in the world and was incredibly grateful. But there was something going on in my body that I couldn’t help… and those feelings of love and joy were often overshadowed by the sadness I felt. And I didn’t even know where the sadness was coming from! I wanted to be happy like I expected to be and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t.

To brace myself for that feeling this time, I really had my dukes up. I knew what to expect based on my experience last time and tried hard to mentally prepare myself for it. (The truth is, though, that you can’t ever fully be prepared.)

But then something unexpected happened after she was born. The new baby bliss that you have in the hospital while snuggling your baby never went away after I got home and had a few nights with a crying baby. It didn’t go away after the first week and it didn’t go away after the second week. And now, Rosie turned five weeks old yesterday and I still hasn’t gone away.

This time, my emotions are letting me feel the way I want to feel. Happy. Incredibly happy.

A friend recently asked me if I felt redemption in having Rosie. So, to answer that question directly: Yes, she has totally restored my viewpoint on life with a newborn and I’m a better mother to both of my babies because of it because it made me appreciate those early days in a totally different way.

I know I’m barely 5 weeks postpartum and I don’t want to speak too soon, but the only part that has been emotionally tough on me has been that I miss the individual attention I could give to Watson at any time, but I’ve found that balancing out more and more as time passes. And the only sadness I feel is that the weeks are going by too quickly. When we brought Rosie home from the hospital, I realized just how big Watson is compared to her and that made me sad. I feel anxious about them growing up! I want to savor each moment as much as possible—seeing Rosie and Watson together makes me want five more children!

So what has the difference been this time? Well, for one, our house is not under renovation this time, so we feel totally settled at home. That’s a huge one. The next big one is that we already have a child, so our life didn’t make nearly as much of a change this time. Another reason for my happy experience is that I gained far less weight during this pregnancy and because of that, I’m fitting in my normal clothes now, rather than having only 3 sweaters + two pairs of leggings to pick from as I did after having Watson. (Didn’t realize how much of a difference this could make emotionally, but it has! I’ll do a post on postpartum weight loss and exercise soon.) And lastly, I think having clear expectations of what having a brand new baby entails has helped because I haven’t been surprised by anything. All of the body changes, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, and other life changes are now just little hurdles I’ve already crossed before, so it’s no big deal this time. Since I’ve done all this before, I’m more relaxed and I feel much more confident in motherhood. Plus, I now know that the newborn phase passes so quickly and my life won’t forever be spent waking up through the night to feed a crying baby. (Although Rosie is already dropping those feedings quickly!) I now know that those days have an expiration date. And this time, instead of hoping that date comes soon, I find myself soaking up every moment while I’ve got it—no matter how loud the cries and no matter how tired my eyes are. I want the days and weeks to pass slowly this time.

How has Watson been with having a new baby in the house? He absolutely loves his sissy, or “hithssy,” as he says. He gives her kisses all day long. Brings her blankets, pacis, burp cloths, diapers—anything he can find that might be helpful. We can ask him, “Where’s Rosie?” and he’ll point to her, but he hasn’t tried to say her actual name yet. She’s just sissy to him. He’s a super busy child, so the only time I’ve noticed any sort of frustration (occasionally) is when I’m nursing her and can’t tend to his needs at the same time.

It feels so good to follow up with y’all on a happy note this time. I’m sharing this to give hope to anyone who felt the baby blues after their first child and, like I did, feel fear of going through that again. Of course everyone is different, but I hope that all of you who fit that category will have an experience the second time around like I have. A happy one. Because we all deserve that… total redemption.