I have two kids. Two. We have started saying strange things like “the boys” and “our kids” instead of just Joseph constantly. Routines have changed. Priorities have transformed. It’s a weird mix of happy and sad.
I really struggled with lots of anxiety and possibly depression with Joe that I hid pretty well. Well, maybe? I might have been more transparent to the outside world, but I never truly know.
Joe was/is a tough cookie mixed with a very healthy serving of new mom syndrome. It honestly took until recently that I was able to calm down about being a mom, worrying about my son, and trusting my own decisions. That shit is so hard to get under control.
I am very happy and little scared to say that I haven’t suffered from any baby blues or anxiety since having Noah. (Knock on every single wooden piece of furniture in the house.) Except for the first two nights after we came home. And those two nights made me feel like FUCK, these next few months are gonna be rough. What have I done?
We came home with Noah just a day after I had him. It was noonish on a Sunday as we drove the comically short trek home from the hospital that seemed like forever with a newborn. It’s funny how driving with a brand new baby turns you into an 80-year-old driver with radar vision.
My biggest fear about having Noah was how Joe was going to react. It’s not always about Joe, I promise. But for a long, long time it really was. He was the center of our universe and now we were gonna have to share that space in our lives. Or at the very least, figure out how to split time and love between the two of them. It didn’t seem possible.
We came into the house and I made sure Pat was holding Noah because I knew Joe would come running to me. And he did.
But the kid who ran up to me was not Joe. It was this strange monster baby who seemed to have grown 6 inches since I left. He had never looked more like a toddler and less like a baby. I was shocked at how old he looked. Overnight, he had transformed into a person and not a baby and I know Noah had everything to do with that transformation.
We hugged and I brought him over to Noah. He did a cute smile and point. Looked at him for a solid 60 seconds and directed me outside to play. I’m pretty sure he thought he was a doll.
Ten minutes later, Noah was crying for boob as newborns constantly do and then Joe had to share me. He did ok with seeing another baby take up my lap for a bit. He sat by me and inspected. Shortly after inspection, he tried to sit on my lap on top of him. When I said no, he cried. He tried to rip him off of my lap and he continued to cry.
This didn’t break my heart so much. I could adjust to Joe needing to sit beside me instead of on top of me. He could adjust to that eventually as well.
As the day went on, he did better than I thought he would. He played with Pat most of the afternoon. We watched a movie that night and he laid next to me. Everything seemed alright.
I parked my butt on the couch at night for the first 2 weeks to handle the constant nursing. I hate nights with a newborn. Hate them. They are the loneliest hours of my day. I dread going to bed even though I’m so exhausted. There’s something about being the only one awake in your house through the night that is isolating and somewhat scary.
Like a true addict, I look at my phone to alleviate some those feelings. That first night, I, of course, couldn’t stop looking at pictures that I had recently taken of Joe. Those pictures were the most painful things to look at, but I couldn’t stop. They seemed from a different lifetime.
So much had changed in ONE day of our lives. I knew in a very real way that those pictures represented a time that I was never going to get back ever again. Pictures of Joe and I at the park or messing around at the house from a few days ago looked and felt like they were from 20 years ago. I felt like that time period had died; dissipated. We looked like ghosts in those pictures. I was mourning the loss of my Joe and he was in the next room sleeping with his dad.
Every finger scroll made me cry. He looked so different now. He wasn’t my baby. That Joe was gone and I was so, so very sad about it. I needed more time. How do I get that time back?
You don’t and I knew it was gone. My baby Joe is gone. My constant one-on-one time with Joe had vanished.
I always kind of loathe when people say, “It goes by so fast” because I genuinely don’t think it goes by that fast. (Mom Confession: I believe this is mainly because I don’t fully enjoy stacking blocks, reading the same book 40 times, or playing hide-and-seek.) The days usually seem long, but for me, the time instantly disappears from underneath your feet. It feels as though I have all this time, it vanishes with a blink of an eye, and I’m left dealing with a brand new world that is very foreign and very scary. It’s like waking up in a different house in a completely different city, but you still have to do everything you always did before. You feel lost. Where was I?
The next day I struggled with crying off and on whenever Joe couldn’t have me or just at the fact that Pat was quickly becoming the favorite. I knew that the changing of the guard was probably necessary for the time being and it was reassuring to see that it was happening. Also, it was good to see Joe was ok with it and happy for the most part.
That second night was my roughest night. Like an idiot, I looked at those pictures and cried my eyes out. I was truly in mourning. I (admittedly) resented Noah a little bit for dismantling my universe so severely. But, somehow the next day the feeling was less. And the next day the feeling was even less. Thankfully, it has continued to subside with each day.
Joe still has tantrums when I can’t do something with him right at that moment, but it doesn’t break my heart like it did those first two days. I know he has to grow up and share time and love. Everyone in life has to learn these things, but I hated when people kept telling me, “It’ll be good for him.” But now I agree that eventually he will be less bratty because he’s learning to share and regulate his emotions. (We are NOT handling emotions very well at the moment. Ha, but with the help of Daniel Tiger we just might get there.)
My biggest fear about having a second child did essentially come true, but it also exited pretty damn quickly. Joe will adjust and we will still get one-on-one time when I don’t have to change my pad every hour or whip out a boob every ten minutes. It’s gonna be awhile, but we will get there.
I came to this odd and stupidly simple realization that everyone’s going to be ok and that has made me feel calm for possibly the first time since I became a mom. The center of our universe has shifted, but “our boys” are still my world. *insert Lifetime Movie music*