I’m scared as hell.
Our son burst into our quiet life like a bomb.…A really cute, completely beloved bomb who sprayed screams for shrapnel. Owl was not what some people would call an “easy baby”, if indeed such a mythical creature does exist.
He had a bad latch and caused me a lot of pain when he nursed. Once he got the hang of it, he never let go. In fact, over two years later, he still nurses like he thinks it will be the last drink he will ever receive.
My baby books said that newborns slept most of the time, but he didn’t sleep. From early afternoon until nearly midnight, he would be awake and screaming, often for six or even eight hours in a row with no naps.
He only began sleeping through the night reliably in the last six months or so.
My husband doesn’t remember much of that first year. All he can recall is a haze of frustration and sleep deprivation.
I loved that first year, despite it all. I loved having a baby, loved being on maternity leave, and I knew, as I held him to my breast, that I wanted to do this all again.
But lately I haven’t been quite so sure.
Owl has grown into a cheerful, chatty, and positively wonderful toddler. We can take him anywhere, he rarely tantrums, and his little speeches make me laugh. But he is still highly demanding.
He can’t play independently. He always needs feedback on everything he does. My friends have remarked how, rather than playing on the floor with toys like their children do, he follows people around and asks them questions.
In many ways, I had more time when he was a baby, because I could stick him on a breast and sit down to read or blog. Now it’s puzzles and ball games imaginary shopping excursions and never any time to myself.
When I think about trying to fill his constant need for play and interaction while holding another screaming infant, I am filled with a sense of the impossibility of it all.
It doesn’t help that I am an only child. I never had to share my parents’ attention. I never had someone to play with. I never had someone to fight with. I don’t know how any of those dynamics work. So I don’t know how someone juggles two children with different needs at once. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to cope.
My husband, on the other hand, is getting increasingly antsy to get going on our second child. He hates the baby stage – it took him a long time to admit it, but now he is comfortable with saying it. He hates not knowing what they want, he hates the sound of the crying, and he hates not knowing how to fix it.
But he wants more than one child, and he knows that in order to get a second child, first he has to survive a second baby. He figures that the sooner he gets that over with, the happier he will be.
We also notice that things are actually much easier when we are babysitting a friend’s toddler. Not a baby – that’s no help at all – but someone Owl can play with. Then peace descends.
So we figure Owl needs a sibling to play with. In other words, we both wish we could just spawn a second toddler right away, rather than go through the trouble of having to deal with another year of waking up every two hours in the night and walking the floor for eight hours in the day.
We’re both terrified of trying to do both of those things while dealing with Owl’s bottomless pit of need for play. But we’re hoping, some day, that we will be able to sit down and talk to each other about our day while the children play in the next room. We’re hoping for Owl to have someone to go on kiddie rides with, and play Candyland with, and kick a ball around with.
And if we want all those things, we need to have another baby.
In fact, we’re worried that we may have waited too long. You never know how long it will take you to get pregnant, and even if I get pregnant immediately Owl will be three years old by the time the second comes along. What if he’s three and a half, or even four? What if the age difference is too great? Have I waited too long?
So we took out my IUD and we’re getting ready to take the plunge.
I’m scared, but lately, I have caught myself looking forward to being pregnant again. So that’s a step in the right direction.
But I’m REALLY scared.
Have you gone through a subsequent pregnancy? How have you handled more than one child?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog from mother of one, Carol @IfByYes.
Photo credit to the author.