The day after giving birth to my second baby, I was sitting up in my hospital bed breastfeeding my newborn when a nurse came into my room to check on me. As she walked over to me, routinely asking if I needed any help with getting the baby to latch, I saw her face relax into a smile as she said, “Oh, well, you’ve got this covered. You must have done this before!” She was right.
The noticeable contrast between how she first approached me, in anticipation of the hurdles she thought she would need to help me navigate, versus her calmness and delight at seeing that I had it under control, was similar to the contrast I felt between my first and second baby. With my first, I timidly and self-consciously asked for help to try to nurse. With my second baby, I eagerly scooped him up on my own and confidently helped him to latch for the first time. I was so much more confident in myself, and that gave me great joy.
Second baby, more confidence.
My second baby gave me the chance to experience all of the firsts I had all over again in a different light. Being his mom showed me how much I could get through, grow, and learn even from situations that feel challenging to me. They say practice makes perfect. Well, I wouldn’t say I am a perfect mom. But certainly, the practice made me better. Seeing myself going through those motions the second time in a stronger way and from a stronger place made me a better mom.
The first time around, I was riddled with so much self-doubt and fear. My second baby healed that trauma. Having had practice with my first, going through it for a second time filled me with confidence and strength that built me into a much sturdier version of myself. This gave me the chance to step into my power as a mother. Now I could give so much more to my children.
As a first time mom . . .
I held my new daughter hesitantly and fearfully, treating her like a porcelain doll. My second baby gave me the chance to truly enjoy those first moments holding a newborn and hungrily kissing and cuddling him.
I was petrified of making mistakes. My second baby taught me that the things I did “wrong” would still turn out alright.
I felt so disconnected from myself, unsure of who I was anymore. But my second baby helped root me back to who I am, providing me the space to feel sure again of myself as a woman and now as a mother.
I didn’t trust myself and my inner knowing. But my second baby helped plug me so strongly into my mommy intuition.
When I was asked questions about my first baby, my answers were uncertain, and sounded like I was returning the question with a question. My second baby showed me that I had all of the answers inside of me.
I doubted myself a lot, but my second baby helped me begin to believe in myself as a mom.
I wanted everything to be perfect, and I had the time to make sure it was. Having two babies meant that I didn’t have the time to make sure everything was perfect any longer. Realizing that perfection is not the goal made me a better mother.
After I had my second baby, everything changed.
My second baby made me calmer. My second baby showed me that I was doing a pretty good job with my first one. And that I could and should relax and enjoy both of them more. My second baby showed me that the challenges I had with my first weren’t unique to her or me. I realized that many babies and mothers go through those same challenges. Every child gets sick, falls down, doesn’t like certain foods, has a different personality. Somehow seeing it happen a second time around helped me to relax.
So much of what I went through and did the first time around made me worry, fearful, and have self-doubt. Getting the opportunity to go through those same motions for a second time, but this time with confidence, was healing. So, to my second baby, I thank you. You made me a better mom.