Monday, September 11, 2006

SECOND TIME ROUND

I am worried. And anxious. And excited. And energised. And tired. And I haven’t even begun yet.

It is no less daunting embarking on motherhood for the second time as it is for the first time. There isn’t the naivety of right and wrong or careful planning you have first time round. There is the absolute knowledge of everything which lies before you, and all the knowledge you still have yet to gain. Everything will change, and nothing will change. I feel the burden of becoming a family – as opposed to becoming a mother. With one child you can still think of yourself as a chic couple who happen to have a child. With two children, you are a family.

Who will I become as a family? Will I become a Mother? Will I still maintain my Self. Will my first child retain their place within our family structure, retain his uniqueness and his joy at being with us. Will the second child be as important, have an equal place, and their own sense of individuality. Will my husband and I still be us, and still need each other as much as we do, and still be the powerful union which we are.

I struggle through each day, riding the waves of emotion which carry me through my waking hours. The euphoria of impending labour sometime in the next month. The anxiety of wanting desperately to not repeat situations, circumstances, outcomes, or decisions from 3 years ago, and the struggle of knowing so much is out of my control. The depression of tiredness setting in, physical incapabilities, and how I will really cope this time. The shock of realising I need to learn to be a full time mother again having rediscovered the joy of my career. And the sheer happiness and excitement of finally, soon, being able to meet the wriggling mass which hangs around my belly.

It is all true. And real. And important.

4 Comments:

Blogger Violet & Rose said...

I have just read both of your posts and you are both just so eloquent! As the mother of two, my birthing experiences were extremely similar in that my body did pretty much the same things it did first time round, second time. Except the first time, I vomited violently, the second time I didn't. Perhaps the first time was sheer terror? The second time, I coped much better. I knew the drill, I knew what to ask for and when. Yes, it is okay to ask for an epidural now. Suffer no longer! Get that anaethetist out of bed! And I knew to treasure each and every single little moment in hospital with my baby even more than I did the first time. We were bonding, getting to know each other. Precious.
My two children are very different and I often have to put on different hats to deal with them. One was incredibly shy, clung, observed and slowly, cautiously, would wander to join in. The other is robust, strong, fearless, yet gives me the biggest, longest, best cuddles you could ever imagine.
I wish both of you the very, very best with all of your new ventures. Your babies and your joint blog. I am looking forward to hearing much more about all of the above!

5:43 pm  
Anonymous Claire Gee said...

It truly is a leap of faith to have another child.

I remember well the fervent hope I had that I would cope, that it would be easier the second time around.
It was.
I was just as nervous going back for number three. Number three has just turned 1.

The past year has been quite a juggle, and it IS hard to eek out time for myself, to be me. Why did I get back on the rollercoaster 2 more times, it certainly was not because I needed a tiny baby in my life. It was always because I imagined our family a few years down the track, and there was alway 3 kids in that family.

One thing I kept in mind as I took that leap of faith, was that I knew that the really hard days in that first year or two turn into easier days as the kids gain independance. I WILL get more time for me. My 6 and 4 year olds do not need every minute of my time while they are awake, in the same way that my newest baby does. I am fervently hanging onto the idea that I will have more time to create, and nourish my identity and be me.

While I hang onto that hope and keep juggling, I marvel at the luck I have to have been given 3 beautiful children. I continue to be amazed by just how excited my 6 and 4 year olds are when the baby masters a new trick - a new baby brings joy to everyone in the family.

I leave you with this piece of advice - lower your housekeeping standards, in favour of time with your kids, and small creative projects where possible (obviously after the very early days). Otherwise your days can bleed into each other in thier sameness, your sanity is important !

Good luck and congratulations on the new blog. I particularily like the name. A while ago I decided that when I finally have time to have a blog I will call it Matching Pegs.

11:21 pm  
Anonymous Gudrun said...

How did I get here? Actually it was through soozs blog...I live at the other end of the world so English is not my mother tongue but my husband is an expat Australian from Melbourne. We have two daughters being 5 and 3,5 years old and I also have another daughter from my first marriage turning twenty this year.
After having my first daughter I returned to my job being in my midst twenties and I had lots of energy. And we felt exactly like the couple you mentioned. On the way through life the marriage broke up.
I found someone new but I still cannot remember what made me want to start the journey all over again. Being pregnant after 14 years was giving me a strange feeling. Some peoeple looked very funny at me who had just turned forty. But Ellen was born without a problem, and at her first birthday I knew I was on the rollercoaster again. This time everything was different, I was just thinking, oh no, not again. I was tired, fed up right from the beginning and stayed throughout the whole pregnancy. The baby did not want to turn, so there was the choice to get a caserean of to try a breech birth. I did the breech thing which turned out to be easy but...
then the real rollercoaster started. Emma turned out to be a severely handicapped child due to an absolutely rare chromosome disorder (only 50 children known worldwide. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine such a thing (who does?). Having a 20 months baby and the new one being a permanent baby just gaining weight and nothing else.
We learnt to deal with it but I felt like some person in a pc game reaching a level I never wanted to reach.
I have little time for myself but I manage. I have lowered my standards and accepted some help from outside. Furthermore I returned to work (at lest a little bit). So after more than three years I can honestly say that I am back to be myself.

I will continue to read your blog because I can remember lots of things I felt the same way. I hope you excuse my not-so-perfect English!

10:51 pm  
Anonymous shael said...

It is scary and comforting at the same time how similar your feelings are to my own. I am still at the first child, only 8 months old but I think about what it will be like to go through all that again and if my body will be willing or able. My husband is very keen on having a second and I just don't know if I have the energy to do it again... I think I know deep down that I will be able to muster the energy, from that place that mothers keep that amazing strength. Everyone keeps telling me I have lots of time and not to be in such a hurry but I almost feel like I want to get it over with so I can start to fully heal and find me again. Does that makes sense?
I love this collaboration - I'll be back!

7:22 am  

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