SLIDER

Our Newest Love & Ten Things He's Taught Me

Photo by Michele Zakeri Photography

Our second sweet boy was born in February, the longed for and loved answer to so many prayers. His birth was relatively easy, aside from the fact that my epidural didn't really work. That was... an experience I didn't anticipate. He entered the world quickly and safely, immediately making his presence known and changing our family forever. Even though we spent months planning for his arrival, nothing could have truly prepared me for it.

Though I had a better idea of what to expect from childbirth and postpartum recovery than I did the first time around, I knew that every baby and birth story was different. I love the similarities and differences between his and his brother's – the cherished moments in each that I will retell for the boys on their respective birthdays. While I won't be posting his story here, I have been meaning to write a little bit about what life looks like lately.

He was born about a month before the stay-at-home orders existed. Our time in the hospital was remarkably normal – the virus wasn't even on our radar. Once discharged, our families visited us at home. He went to the doctor, out to lunch, had newborn photos taken, and even visited Target a time or two. But, as you know, everything changed in mid-March. It's been an adjustment, to say the least. Now, every day looks practically the same – but it's always different, too, as the baby grows and changes. Since I talked about what I was learning before he was born, I decided to share what he's taught me in his first four months of life:

1. You really can love another baby as much as your first.
While I knew in my head this would be the case, it still felt like an impossibility. Love sometimes seems measurable, until I remember that it isn't a finite resource that you split between people. I fell in love with Nick because of who he is as a person, but it will always amaze me how you can love a baby unconditionally from the moment they arrive. I don't know what this new baby's personality and interests will be, but I can't wait to find out.

2. There's nothing sweeter than seeing your big boy hold his baby brother.
Nick and I couldn't wait for our big boy to have a sibling and become a big brother. Once I was pregnant, however, the last few months felt bittersweet. But in every moment that I wondered if our big boy would be sad about the changes to come, I forgot that he, too, would get to experience a new kind of love. For a while, he started every day by saying, "Good morning, baby! Welcome to the world. This is your family, and I'm your big brother!" My heart.

3. I feel more confident in myself the second time around...
With my first, I remember a lot of Google searches that led me to hundreds of articles (that felt like they contradicted each other) and message boards filled with anecdotal stories about what did and didn't work for other moms. And while I still turn to the Internet with questions, I'm more confident in the decisions I'm making. With the exception of the coronavirus, I've felt less anxious about the day-to-day of raising a baby.

4. ... but still realize how much I don't know, every single day.
All that being said, I don't always know what I'm doing. Every baby is different, and having a second definitely proved that point. In some ways, everything feels new. We're learning how he wants to be soothed, what makes him happy or sad, what products he likes, and more. There's a temptation to compare the two boys in regards to reaching milestones, but I remind myself that this baby is his own person who will do things in his own time.

5. With big change comes big feelings.
Nick and I talked with our big boy often about what life would look like with a baby. We've been amazed at how wonderfully he's handled the transition! But on the days we can tell he's craving our attention, we remind ourselves of this truth. It doesn't just apply to the littles, either. I consider myself a pretty steady person, but my emotions get the best of me sometimes, too. My favorite cures: a cold Diet Coke, a warm bath, a good book, and time alone.

6. "I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection."
This quote from Emily Ley isn't new to me. I had a print of it framed in my office back when I was working! However, it feels particularly relevant to me now and has taken on a whole new meaning. I like doing things perfectly, but that isn't how parenting works. When I feel guilty over what I accomplished in a day, I'm trying to choose grace. I like having routines and meeting goals, but rest is important, too. It's okay to let the laundry wait.

7. Parenting during a pandemic is hard. I need my people!
Months ago, I told Nick that I was looking forward to having a normal postpartum experience. Right after my first was born, I found out I had thyroid cancer. I grieved having so much anxiety and uncertainty during such a special season of life. Hmm... sound familiar? So many of the things I felt then are so applicable today.  The hardest thing now is being more isolated. I really miss being around my family and having them get to know my baby!

8. Don't spend one season of life wishing for the next.
There are wonderful things about being home as we adjust to life as a family of four. From backyard camping to porch picnics, we've enjoyed the outdoors more than ever before. We've embraced our four-year-old's preferred uniform of pajamas all day. But as we wonder and worry over the future, I'm trying not to wish away this time in our boys' lives. I want this to be over but don't want to lose perspective on how quickly these baby days will pass.

9. You can have a second baby and still make time for the things you love.
After my first baby, I shared six things I was learning in 2016. On my list? If I love something, I'll find the time to do it. I wrote more about the concept when I shared five ways to find time to read. Well, I'm happy to report that that advice still applies with a second! Making time for the things I love – whether it's reading, blogging, or just taking a bath – helps me feel like myself. I can love and serve my family and practice some self-care, too.  

10. Give yourself the gift of sleep.
I'd heard about the sleepless nights and sheer exhaustion of the newborn period, but it never hit me too hard with my first. Welp... it sure did this time around. I have a much deeper appreciation for the restorative powers of sleep! I'm so thankful for all the wonderful resources online that have helped us establish a healthy foundation of sleep habits for our baby. From wake windows to a bedtime routine, I feel empowered by the things I've learned.

Bonus: It's reassuring to know you're not alone.
I was thrilled when I found out my favorite cousin was having a baby, too! She's only a few months older than me, and we've been close even though she was in Arkansas (and then later moved to Germany). It was so fun being pregnant at the same time, and her little boy was born two weeks after mine. Having someone going through all the same things, at the same time, has been the sweetest blessing. We text all the time, and I love it!

What have you been learning lately?

3 comments

  1. Congrats on the birth of your son!

    When I was pregnant with my second we went through an unprecedented flood loosing ours house and most of belongings. Almost 4 years later I still look back and mourn that I wasn’t able to have a “normal” pregnancy and birth. But I guess that’s life sometimes where you never really know what to expect and make the best of it. I will also say that with my sons birth and everything else going on, I barely read anything. One nice thing about being at home all the time is how much I’ve been able to read. By far the most since before he was born.

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  2. Congrats on the new little one! These are such lovely lessons. While I myself don't have any children yet. I very much can gain a lot of wisdom in my life as well as for when I have children of my own.

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