Let me start off by saying: You are a wonderful Dad. I wouldn’t have survived our first pregnancy or raising our beautiful first child without you. Thank you.
There are a few things I need you to know, though. And I am raging with hormones at the moment, so I’d rather do it in a letter.
Having a second child is easier
We’ve held them and handled them and loved them hard and the good news is, they haven’t died. We will be calmer and generally stress a lot less than with the first, because A) We’ve been there and B) We have another child, so we physically don’t have enough time to worry as much about the second one and C) We don’t have to figure out how to use that dreadful mucus-sucking thingy.
Having a second child is harder
Yeah, I told you- raging hormones. It’s harder because I now have another little body to love and to give my everything to. And if you do the Maths, I have very little left. So either I give more to the most vulnerable new little one and leave the older child out, or the other way around and guess what: that is not an option because we have a new baby, who needs our “everything” to live and thrive.
So I feel guilty most of the time. I grieve, most of the time. I grieve for the undivided attention the older child had, that the baby won’t have and I mourn for the time the older child had and now won’t have, because most days it feels as if I have to tear my heart and my body in two messy, uneven pieces.
And guess what, I don’t mean to, but I also watch you very carefully to make sure you are doing the same for the new little one that you did for the older child. And I project my guilt and my hormones on you because I don’t want either of them to feel left out. So I get angry when you don’t pay as much attention to the little blob as you do to the one who can finally catch a ball. And I’m sorry about that.
What can you do?
Please don’t have me committed to a Psych ward. Other Moms feel the same (we talk). Just be there. Try your best not to say things like: “Motherhood is a joy, you should be happy,” when I am a blubbering mess. No matter how “together” I seem, still offer help and help. And don’t start coming home later at night. Your home-time is the only thing I look forward to most days.
Hold me when I get teary. Take Child 1 (and even Child 2) out for a couple hours so that I can brush my teeth and maybe eat. Don’t ask what I did all day, please?
We can do this. They are both going to survive. So are we. Except if you don’t listen to the above advice. People have got off scot-free for murder for far less than pregnancy or post-birth hormones.
Ladies (and gents), what other advice would you give to second-time Dads or which advice do you wish someone gave your husband?
Please would you leave a comment below?
(PS. I tried to find a picture for this post of a “Tired Mother” and neither Morguefile or Pixabay had any 😉 It’s a conspiracy!)