It’s been a little over three weeks since we welcomed little Ellery and after my first week solo parenting (Jacob is back to work) I thought it’d be a good time to reflect on what it is like to have two little ones: reality vs what I had imagined.
When I was pregnant with Ellery I tried to imagine what it would be like to have another little one. I was so beyond excited to see Asher step into the big brother role and I couldn’t wait to see how our little family of three would change when she arrived. I worried endlessly about how I could make sure Asher felt loved and attended to once Ellery arrived. I also worried what having two kids would mean for me as a mom. Would I be ‘enough’? Would I be able to provide enough time and attention to them both? I was excited, terrified, nervous, and elated to be adding baby Ellery to our family!
Since bringing Ellery home some things have gone better than I could have ever imaged and some have, well, not! The great things and the things that make the rough days worth it include how amazingly perfect Ellery fits into our family. She is just like a missing puzzle piece and from day one I have felt so much fulfillment in my life having her with us. Watching her and Asher together makes me so indescribably happy! I am just amazed at how well he took to her! He is so good with her and even though she is little she is in love with him too. I have loved watching Jacob with Ellery. He always said he wanted all boys but his big daddy heart melts when he’s got his little girl.
As with all things in life though, there have been some unexpectedly difficult things with round two. For starters healing from a c-section is no joke! I would take my 48 hours of hard labor a million times over before having another c-section because it is hard work healing from major abdominal surgery. And throw in a needy toddler and a newborn and you’ve got a recipe for meltdowns.
Because the c-section delivery was no where near being on my radar I was NOT mentally or emotionally prepared for the physical limitations I’d have and how greatly they would affect me emotionally. I had expected to be up and moving around pretty quickly like I had been with Asher (because I had planned another vaginal birth) but with a c-section your movement is mostly hunched hobbles and slow ups and downs from couches for quite a few days and for me even weeks! For the first two weeks I couldn’t lift more than Ellery and getting up or down took twice as long and sometimes required assistance from Jacob. Coughing, sneezing, laughing…it all makes you feel like your insides are going to fall into your lap. The hardest part was that I had hoped to be able to jump back into parenting Asher again but instead I have been sidelined quite a bit. I can’t pick him up to snuggle him, I can’t walk him around to put him to sleep, I can’t play in the rough and tumble toddler-way he likes, and I can’t lay in his bed with him at night (he has a Montessori inspired floor bed so getting up from the floor is painful). Because of my limitations Asher has bonded more with Jacob as Jacob has taken on the role of primary caregiver for him for now. I love watching the relationship between Asher and Jacob grow deeper but it has been very difficult to feel like I can’t provide for my baby boy. This has been, hands down, the hardest part of this post-partum period.
Another unexpectedly difficult thing has been finding time to give Asher the attention he needs. I knew there would be a learning curve when it came to parenting two little ones so I am trying to be forgiving of myself and learn as each day passes. But there have been days that I have cried because the mom-guilt becomes overwhelming and I feel like I have failed Asher. Most of my day is spent nursing or caring for Ellery and with a toddler that wants to move at a million miles an hour (and a mom who can barely move at one mile an hour) it has been rough sometimes trying to juggle them both. What I have found to help is to focus on the things I CAN do right now and leave the high energy things for when Jacob gets home. We do lots of crafts: painting, coloring, cutting and pasting and I try to go on short walks around the block with Ellery in the ring sling and Asher on his scooter or bike. We do a lot of digging in his sand and/or rice bins because it means I can sit. I have also tried to provide as much physical contact as possible through snuggling on the couch, holding hands when we walk, and having Jacob put him in my lap when we read books at night. And earlier this week I ventured out with both kids (for the first time) to a local library event. It included a petting zoo, fire truck tour, and play time at the park. It was physically very tiring for me and Elley wasn’t a fan of the car ride but Asher LOVED it and that made it all worth it. I am hoping that as I continue to heal, we will be able to venture out and enjoy other fun things.