The Sweetness of the Second
I am so honored to share a guest post today from the very talented Megan from Sorta Crunchy. Read more about Megan at the end of this post!
It has been four years since our second daughter was born, and as it seems to happen all too easily, so many of the details of that second whirlwind of pink and ribbons and bows have lost their sharp focus in my mind, blending and smudging together into one big hazy memory.
There is one thing, though, that I still remember perfectly; one memory of that moment in time that is precise and vivid in my fond recollections, a magical First with my second baby. For the first time as a new mama, I treasured and even looked forward to nighttime feedings with her.
With my first baby, nighttime wakings and feedings and time spent with her in the rocking chair were anything but sweet and idyllic. I spent most of her earliest months of life consumed with her “sleep problems.” Why wouldn’t she nap for more than 45 minutes at a time? Why was she waking up so much at night? I was following our schedule perfectly. Why were we up so much at night?
I grew bitter and resentful of those nighttime feedings, just sure that it was a symptom of a bigger problem – either an abnormal baby or a failing mother.
Months later, I happened to stumble across an article by Dr. Sears and soon discovered the concept of nighttime parenting. Wow. What a difference! I was able to let go of unrealistic expectations and finally felt empowered to nurture my child through the night, just as I would during the daytime hours.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t go back and change the early months of tears and anger and desperation that marked my first months as Mama. My second child, though, she offered to me the power of redemption.
Those are the moments I can recall with crystal clarity. She would awaken and together we would slip out of the darkness in our room and into the dimly lit living room. My husband is a terribly light sleeper who was under a lot of stress at work during this time, and our wee babe was the nosiest eater you’ve ever heard, so we would settle into our nursing nest on the loveseat several times each night.
Goodness, I loved those times with her. I was completely free to enjoy her without a smidgen of guilt over not giving my oldest my full attention. I thought I was prepared for the emotions of mothering more than one child, but I don’t think I realized how tense I was during the day until those blissful moments alone with my new baby at night.
I can still picture it now: the soft glow of the kitchen light gently illuminating her sweet little face, the flicker of the TV screen, the gulps and slurps followed by the contented sighs of a milk-drunk baby. Common sense told me to hurry us both back to bed, but so often I didn’t. Alone in the dark in the middle of the night, those were the moments I really got to know my second child.
Those first babies do the hard work of breaking us in and smoothing off the rough edges of who we thought we would be as mothers. The babies that come after owe an enormous gift of gratitude to those first-borns, I think, because they weather our anxieties, worries, and insecurities. With the babies that follow, we know better than to waste time with worry. Once we get a taste of how fleeting the baby days are, we learn the importance of savoring each moment, drinking in the sweetness of the second.
For over five years, Megan Tietz has written about faith, family, and natural living at SortaCrunchy. She and her husband and two daughers live on the windy plains of Oklahoma where she spends her days engaged in the fine (and messy) art of mothering.
Stop by and check out some of my recent favorite posts from Megan: In Defense of Scuffed Shoes, Lunchboxes and Love Notes (sniff), and her Pinterest tutorials – one for beginners, and one with more tips and tricks and FAQ.
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"The Sweetness of the Second"
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