Seven(ish) weeks ago we had our second child.
We were totally geared up for another 9ish months of being awake every hour, on the hour (or more often if it was a ‘leap week’ or a tooth was coming through). We invested in more swaddles, a better breast pump, a better baby carrier, a gorgeous new pram/capsule combo, and I stocked the cupboards with food I could make one-handed.
Then he arrived, and he slept.
We spent the first couple of days in the hospital wondering if he was just exhausted from the birth; our first was already making an impression by this age.
Then we came home, and he slept.
I was able to have a shower, and eat. At three days old our first literally let me get as far as putting shampoo in my hair before he demanded my return.
He napped long enough for me to cuddle my darling 2 year old, and in the last 7 weeks, not much has changed.
When my 2 year old was a baby, he needed me; a lot. He napped chest to chest, and fell asleep on the boob. If we dared put him down before he was well and truly out, he would fully wake. I had so many strangers smile at this beautiful boy in my arms, and tell me ‘this is the best age; they get so much harder as they grow!’ and it was all I could do not to bawl my eyes out. If this was the easy stage, I was not going to survive.
Now, people keep telling me that #2 is so relaxed because I’m more relaxed/I had a calmer pregnancy/I’m more experienced.
I want to scream at them.
They are just two different people.
Lets be honest: I’m not calmer now; I have a miniature dictator running around the house screaming at me because he wants his toast in ‘triangle squares’. My pregnancy was exhausting, especially when I had to physically stop my toddler from doing things like throwing his scooter into the duck ponds, and I was petrified that I wouldn’t cope with the hourly feedings after a day full of tantrums.
I want to go back in time and tell myself that I’m not doing anything wrong, that I can stop meticulously writing down my baby’s awake times and the duration of his feeds. I want to reassure myself that my one cup of coffee a day is not preventing my baby from sleeping, ever, and that it’s okay to take him for long walks every day if that’s what lulls him to sleep. I want to give my exhausted self a hug, and to let her know that she will behave the same way with her next baby and he will sleep, blissfully, because that’s what he wants to do.