Well, here you are. In exactly the same position I was this time three years ago, because you seem to have a thing for having babies in April. Except you are wiser now. You’ve now been through this insane circus of bringing a child into the world. So there are some things you should remember and others maybe you should try to forget (like your 18-hour labor and how physically painful it got at the end—no need to go there until you’re there). Here is my counsel to you as you prepare to bring a second little life into the world any day now:
- Don’t beat yourself up if breastfeeding doesn’t work out. You have a perfectly healthy, bright, happy almost three-year-old (tomorrow!) who was given mostly formula to attest to the fact that it’s all fine as long as your baby is fed, period.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. It took me a bit to get down with that one three years ago. But it will save your sanity. Forget about social media, what’s going on in the world or returning texts and emails. Restore your mind and body in the spaces of time, however brief, when your daughter is at rest.
- Don’t obsess over the baby weight. Maybe you will shed it in three months, maybe it will take almost a year as it did the first time. You will get back to some semblance of pre-baby “you,” but don’t beat yourself up over how long it takes.
- Be patient with your son. Finn is figuring out his new role as Big Brother and your new role as Mommy to someone other than him. He will be loving, angry, sad, confused, regressive—maybe all in one day. Continue to let him know how special he is to you and carve out time for just the two of you, even if it is just five minutes.
- Be patient with your husband. Brendan will need time to figure out how he fits into the equation of this new family. He will lose sleep like you do, get frustrated like you do, wonder who his wife will be now that she has two little ones to take care of. Be kind and take the advice of Pink when she was a first-time mom with Cary Hart: “Don’t take anything to heart that’s said before 10 am.” The same applies this go-around.
- Know you are bringing this baby into the world under different personal circumstances than your first. You and Brendan were still newcomers to New York back then, grieving the loss of your mother-in-law and missing Australia. You now have a support system, social circle and three years of experience being parents in the city on which to lean.
- Remember that people will try to tell you how you should take care of your daughter. Some of the advice will be sound, other bits you will want to ignore. Everyone does things their own way. As long as your girl is safe, fed, healthy and loved, you are doing your best.
- You will be lost for a while. You will not know who you are and, the truth is, you will be someone different after you come through this second post-partum haze. It will take you a bit to get your groove back, but in that time, you will develop more resilience, wisdom, insight, capacity to love and the ability to get shit done than ever before. Ride the wave, love yourself, love your family and take stock of how amazing it is that life can transform us in these ways.