Dear Second-time Mom, here are some things to remember...

[photo snapped a couple of weeks ago in the NICU]
Dear Emily,

It's your second time to do this "mom" thing, and although you've been through this before, there are a few things in particular that are worth remembering during this season...

Currently, you feel like you've been hit by a freight train.  Praise the Lord for hormones and adrenaline, because it's the only thing keeping you running between feedings and short two hour stretches of sleep. I know it's hard.  These may be the most difficult weeks of the whole first year but know they will come to an end.  Hang on and believe that a full-night's sleep IS in your future.  Not only will you sleep through the night, but you will again go to the shopping mall, the coffee shop, and the grocery store without meticulously planning around feedings.  You will go on dates with your husband, and feel like a normal person soon.

Speaking of being "normal", your stomach looks less than normal, in fact, you still look pregnant.  This is distressing, because you were fairly confident that slipping into something that isn't labeled "maternity" was going to happen soon.  You're still wearing those maternity jeans and hanging around in oversized sweatshirts that hide your belly, and it's okay.  Even though you came back from the hospital significantly lighter, it will take months to lose the rest of the weight.  This will be a difficult task because producing breast milk will make you just as hungry as you were in your third trimester.  Hang in there, try to eat healthy, and when you feel up to it, start exercising again.  With a little bit of patience, your old jeans have hope of making it back into your closet.

Although the infant stage takes a lot from you physically, there are rewards too (and you know exactly what I'm referring to).  In the midst of sleepless nights and a flabby belly, you get to hold a miracle in your arms and it's wonderful.  There is nothing like cuddling your very own bundle of joy and being intricately involved with the details of a little person's life.  Your nurturing instincts are kicking into high gear right now...this might feel like crazy person hormones sometimes though, so make sure that you remember to be reasonable.  When you feel super crabby and start snapping at people (especially your husband), excuse yourself and take a nap.

Incase you are too tired and delirious to remember at the moment, I will let you know that this stage goes by so quickly.  One minute you are rocking a swaddled infant to sleep, and the next you are locking your cabinets and chasing a toddler around the house.  Your baby will grow up.  It happens so fast.

Each little season will hold different treasures and different challenges.  Embrace them.  Don't always wish you were on to the next thing, assuming it's easier.  In some ways it will be, and in other ways you will wish you had an immobile little infant again (even with the added crying).  Be content where your child is right now, and soak up every minute.

Eventually you will forget what it felt like to be pregnant.  The memories of nausea and aching hips will wear off.  You will feel like yourself.  Eventually you will forget what it felt like to labor all day and deliver.  Eventually you will look back on those first 12 weeks and have blurry memories of how you got through it.  It won't seem that bad, and it will feel totally worth it.

Second-time mommy, hang in there...this too shall pass.

Sincerely,
Your less-sleep deprived self
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