Thank you so much for being patient with me over the last couple of months. I know so many of you are Moms - and Dads who help Moms through these tough times - and know firsthand what it's like to survive that first trimester. We've made it through, and I'm so happy to tell you that I think the worst of it has passed, and I am already making sawdust again!
I really thought Grace would be my only child.
The two years that followed the birth of my daughter Grace were the most difficult of my life. We had one of those babies, you know the ones who don't sleep, don't take a bottle or pacifier; scream in their car seats, scream when anyone but mamma holds them, scream all night? That was our Gracie.
I don't recall a single moment when my baby sat on my lap and was just content. I nursed her for 8-10 hours a day, anything to make the crying stop. And in the hours I ran out of milk, I walked her in circles, distracting her by bouncing her, showing her pictures, taking her outside. I wore the straps right off a brand new baby backpack before she out grew it.
I felt hopeless and helpless. Doctors just shrugged their shoulders and told me that some babies are just "that way" and to do my best.
Even now, just writing about those two years, I find myself feeling anxious and stressed. And as this new baby grows bigger each day, I have more fear than excitement about it arrival.
Yes, I am scared. I am terrified. What if I just can't do it again?
This fear is what has kept me for seven years from having another child. As much as I love my daughter, I have lost my confidence in myself that I am capable of bringing another baby home and caring for it. I am not capable.
So what has changed?
A few months back, my daughter, who now is a happy, content child, and I were driving home from my sister's house. And little Gracie asked me, "Mom, when I grow up and have kids, who's going to be their Auntie?"
I didn't know what to say. I have one of those relationships with my sister where we can hang out at each other's house all day and where are kids are all treated as our own.
"Mom, when I grow up, who's house am I going to bring my kids to and hang out?"
I just told her I didn't know, and changed the subject. But that conversation haunted me. Siblings are so important in my own life, and my siblings are even more important in my daughter's life. I felt sad for my daughter, resented myself for not having the courage to give her a sibling.
And as I looked at my daughter, I realized something else.
No matter how difficult those first two years were, no matter how long every endless night was, no matter how hopeless and helpless I felt, one thing I am absolutely certain of.
It was worth it.
And I'd gladly go through it all over again than to not have Gracie in my life. I'd gladly spend the rest of my life not sleeping with a screaming baby on my back, than to not have my daughter.
Our new baby comes in December. As fearful as I am of having a newborn again, I know it will be worth it.
Our children are our greatest projects of all.
I'm so happy for all of you! It's such wonderful news. I have no idea why some kids just aren't "easy" babies (nor do I pretend to) but out of commiseration my Charlie was also a "difficult" baby. I think she's just the sort who doesn't need much sleep, which is tough since I really do! Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy journey, and no one will blame you for taking it easy for a while ;)
I have been following you on FB and your blog on the momplex since the start! wishing you all the best through the rest of your pregnancy!
So happy for your family. I too had a baby like Grace. Thankfully he was my third and final. Every moment is worth it and I love them all the same, as will you.
It is absolutely worth it! I was content with my first-born son being an only child, but I wanted him to have the relationship with a sibling that I was blessed to have. Watching my son and daughter evolve in their relationship with each other is such a beautiful thing to witness. Blessings to you and your family. Enjoy the journey!
As a mother of 4 (and grandma to 3) I have to tell you that every baby is so different. My first and third were so like your Grace, but number 2 and 4 were such laid back happy baby's....especially #4, who hardly ever fussed at all. They did, however come with a slightly different set of challenges, ha ha.
Now that oldest is a beautiful, competent caring single mother of a 4 year old girl and I couldn't be more proud of the woman she has become. And I couldn't imagine what my life would have been without any of them.
Congratulations to you all!
I am so happy for you! That is great news! I hope your newest little one that is coming is a happy content baby! I don't blame you for being scared that is so draining and hard, but you are so right it is worth it! I wish you and your family all the best, you deserve it!
Congrats, Ana!!!! My son was very similar to Grace, and while I also wouldn't trade him for anything, I sympathize completely with anyone who hesitates to have another (or decides not to have any more at all).
Looking forward to your baby updates!
What a blessing. Thank you for sharing your story, parenting is certainly a faith journey.
Hi Ana! You will do a great job raising another sweet child, of that I have no doubt. How do I know this? It's because you are asking yourself all the right questions, and recognizing the answers in your daughter's eyes. Congratulations on your courage! Val (mom for 33 years).
I wanted siblings for our daughter too. As an only child, I just didn't want her to experience going it alone in the world. I'm thankful that she has a sister and hopefully a brother here late next fall. They'll have a childhood of memories and a great support system when they become adults. No one will understand their crazy parents better than each other will. There's always that.
The baby stage is always so short. Just remember the big picture. You are creating a legacy for generations to come!
Oh, Ana! Congratulations!
I just wanted to share that I also have struggled the past 2 years with my son (21 months, really). I think he's currently teething so the past 2 weeks have been a reminder that things have gotten better (because he's pretty unbearable right now ;)
My husband has declared "one & done". I'm not ready to make that decision but I'm also turning 40 this year (yikes!)
Anyway, this is all to say that I think you will do a wonderful job. You have a different perspective than a brand new mom, a developed set of skills and you have endured what you didn't think you could. You are ready and will do a great job!
I know as an expectant mom you get a ton of unsolicited advice from others but I wanted to share a resource that saved my sanity (and restored all of our sleep). I highly recommend The Sleep Lady (check her out on the web and FB) and her book "Good Night, Sleep Tight". I kept implementing and re-reading and being persistent and now wake-ups, nap times and bed times are a breeze for us. Wow, never thought I would say that!
All the best to you and your family!
Congratulations Ana! It is so exciting and terrifying to be bringing a new life into the world. I totally understand, I am currently pregnant with our fourth "surprise" child (my next youngest is only 16 months old....) due in October and it is so tiring....
I have not had a child quite as high needs as Grace sounds. But each of my babies have been different, and my 16 month old was a very mellow baby and slept well after the first few weeks. But now she wakes me up at least once a night and needs to be walked back to sleep. Everyone is different as so is every baby and you're a different Mom this time around too!
Hoping it's easier for you this time around!
I know you'll do great (as will The Ram and Gracie)! Each baby is so different and each new time being a mom is also like a brand new adventure. I love that you have put a lot of thought into your decision and I think you guys will be just fine.
Thank you for taking us along on this new part of your journey!
My third baby was a screamer. She would scream herself into a light sleep and within no more than two hours she'd be awake and screaming again. She wasn't drinking as much milk as I was producing so I got mastitis three times in the 13 months that she nursed. Someone suggested that maybe the onions and garlic that I regularly ate were passing through my milk to her and giving her gas, so I eliminated those things from my diet, but it didn't make a lick of a difference. She wasn't colicky but she was very gassy and had bowel problems from the get-go.
Fast forward to 25 years later when she finally discovered that if she eats gluten-free she no longer has horrible stomach aches and horrendous gas!
There has been a lot of new information that has come out since Gracie was born about food sensitivities. And you are eating healthier and smarter these days. So hopefully this new baby will be a peaceful, content child and you'll get to enjoy those first couple of years more.
And if Baby #2 is just a fussy as Gracie was, then you can tell yourself repeatedly that you survived the first time and you can survive it again this time. Hang in there and try not to worry too much about what will be.
Hi Ana! I remember you posting about your difficulties last time and you not wanting any more children, so I was surprised when I read the news. Surprised but very happy for you. Only children seem to want siblings. I was blessed to have five! You have more experience, probably more patience, and a wonderful little helper at your side. I know you will do wonderfully and here's praying that this time around will go smoother! Many blessings.........
Congratulations Ana. I was quite surprised when I read the news as I remember you posting about your trials last time and your wishes not to have anymore. However, I am so happy for you. You have more experience, are probably more patient and have a wonderful little helper by your side. I am sure you will do beautifully! Here's praying this time goes smoother! All the best!
p.s. Does this mean you will be building an addition on the house? ;)
I know what you mean; I have a four month old who has so far been a very easy baby (I am so lucky!) but I'm already wondering if I'd be able to handle another baby; my pregnancy was very easy, the newborn stage has been very easy, but it might be much worse next time (and I'd have a toddler in addition next time!). Before I got pregnant I only wanted one; during my pregnancy I definitely wanted another; now I'm not sure either way. I'm an only child, so I don't really know what it's like to have siblings.
I hope that the pregnancy goes well and the first two years are much easier this time around!
Thank you everyone for so much love and support! Truly, so many of you have inspired me to just try one more time, and I feel so much more confident knowing I've got lots of other Mom friends to turn to for encouragement and support.
I should have added to this post that I do think there may have been food intolerance/allergies with Gracie in hindsight - and we'll definitely be on the look out for that with the new baby.
Reading your post brought back all the emotions after our first was born. We would do it again also but man, those were some hard days (and long nights). Being a first time mother didn't help because I felt so inadequate and several women made comments saying as much.
I would look at other content and happy babies and wonder what I was doing wrong. Doctors all said colic but she was not a typical colic baby. She screamed all the time and rarely slept. She didn't sleep well until she was four years old.
My husband and I had serious conversations about having any more children. We just didn't have the strength to endure it again. Our dilema: do we have an only child or do we face that challenge again? In the end, we decided a sibling was more important.
That next pregnancy was terrifying! We were terrified. The entire time. In our case, our next daughter was a normal baby (we had a bad week when she was 1 week old and were both scared out of our minds but it was just that, a bad week). It was such a different experience. So peaceful comparatively. In fact, my first blog post ever was a short post about a small experience that compared our two babies. http://marcusandbritt.blogspot.com/2007/12/my-angel-baby.html
We now have four kids and are so glad we took the plunge. I can't imagine life any differently.
I love your sight, have for years. I love that family is important to you. I love that your projects turn into years:) just like ours. I have given up reading blogs, purely because I just don't have the time, but still hang on to this site. Thanks!
Awww, Ana. You are so right. It is totally worth it. Congratulations! I am so happy for you and your family!
Your post about a second pregnancy and how difficulties with your daughter made you reluctant to have a second child brought years to my eyes. While I cannot comensurate with having a difficult baby, we too are torn with deciding on giving Lucy a little brother or sister. Our finances are not where I would like it to be but at my age, if we want to, we had best do it sooner vs. later. The thought of Lucy not having any siblings is tough considering I came from a large family and I am close to my sisters. My two other sisters with children have two apiece and I love the interactions my nieces and nephew have with one another. She smiles a great deal when she sees her cousins as well. Congratulations on your pregnancy. I'm sure your daughter will be an excellent big sister.
I lucked out and my second is the one making me say "never again"!! But, like you, in the end, I wouldn't trade either of my girls for anything in the world. Congratulations, and here's hoping you get a happy baby that sleeps through the night early on and keeps it up! (My baby slept until 4 months... and hasn't slept since. Thus assuring she will always be the baby of the family!)
P.S. - The world of babywearing has come a long way in the last 7 years. :)
Your relationship with your family is amazing. It made me cry this time because that is how I feel and it makes me so sad when I hear people don't even like their families.
I had a similar experience with my first. Granted it was only a few weeks till we "figured it out". But two really threw me a loop. And three has been easiest of all. I think we grow and have no idea what we are capable of. And then one day we look back and can't believe we did it. We would never trade a minute of it. I am so happy for you and there is no doubt in ANY of our minds that you are and will be again a fantastic mother.
Really brilliant news, so happy for you all as a family and for you as a mum. Parenthood brings some trials and tribulations that no one can prepare us for . If we knew all the ups and downs, we may never plunge ourselves into the often dark, unsure days, but then we never get to experience the amazing days. No one can ever put value on the love a child has for us, espically as mothers. But saying that, being a mum is one of the hardest jobs. often people bring children into this world without questions, the fact that you even questioned the idea shows how much you want to do it right. One never knows what is intended for us when we are put on this earth, so your blessing right now is what was meant to be. I am one of 5, and I always said I would like 3 children. Well I only have one. I am the mum to a 13 old boy who is the most loving son and who I am proud of every day. My son also has autism. I had a miscarriage before my pregnancy with Ben, and never had more children, So hence the only having 1. So that's what was meant for me, and although it has been a fairly rough ride at times, I am a happy proud lucky mum to my son.
So weather the storm, and someday soon, you will look back and say it is all good. That day may come sooner that you think.
Big Hugs from Andrea in Ireland.
I have 2 girls, age 1 and nearly 5. While they look like clones (we need to label all of their pictures because we'll never know who's who when they're older) they are COMPLETELY different. My first daughter was so easy that we never childproofed. She would stop crying if you told her "there's no crying." My second... if I think back to how my other daughter would have reacted to a situation and plan for the opposite, I'm all set.
The one thing that always calms the baby is her older sister. I can try to get her to stop flipping out for hours and as soon as her sister walks in the room, she's done. I think having Gracie will be such a huge help. And she'll have a sibling! I hope this one is easier.
One of my babies was the same way. We joke now that he never slept for the first 3 years and his goal in life was to keep anyone else from sleeping too! But my other baby was easy-peasy. Chances are that baby #2 will be completely different than #1.
Now that my "babies" are teens it has flip-flopped. The hard baby is my easy laid-back teen and the easy baby is the one who keeps me on my toes!
Congrats to your whole family! This second baby will surprise you, it's going to be the easiest ever!
I am having my first grandbaby in December also. This one will be easier, you have Gracie to help you. And thank you thank you thank you, for all your lovely plans. I'm not so sure my son is so thankful, since I find the plans, buy the materials and have him build them. LOL. Congrats again!
I had two that were like that. I also realized that giving them what they needed then was going to give them security when they were older. It has worked out so far. My children and I have a good relationship. They are for the most part confident and secure. My philosophy is you can spend the time helping them feel secure when they are little (when it's easier) or you can spend their teen and young adult life paying the price for not doing it when they are younger. Just know you are doing the right thing by giving Gracie what she needed and desired. There is plenty of time to teach independence as they become vocal and can understand their world better.
As a mum of 4 I truly understand your worry. The second baby is full of questions based on the experience of the first. I know advice is prevalent, but please take this to heart. I have 3 friends who had screamers and they all have discovered the wonder of acid-reflux medication. It made a HUGE difference for them! As their close friend and unbiased observer I saw a definite difference. Their doctors told them that what has thought to have been colic historically is now thought to be undiagnosed acid reflux. Hard to diagnose a simple thing like heartburn in a baby. But within a week or two of starting the medication a HUGE difference was seen. I'm from Alberta. We have a great health care system here and lots of money to treat everything. This isn't voodoo magic. It really makes a difference :) My friend had her second baby just recently and put him on the medication within two weeks. TRANSFORMED baby. I hope that might help!
My second child Alice slept all nights ( now who don't sleep it's me because she is 17 and always out with friends) But I was prepared to everything (due to the first born Francesco!!). So it could be not worst than the first time and maybe better.....In my experience what changes is the mother....just prepared! You will feel more comfortable and you will appreciate maybe more the ecperience to be mum. (sorry for writing mistakes)
My niece was exactly like Grace when she was an infant. The doctors tried to tell them it was "just colic", but my sister-in-law demanded that they try something more for them, because life was absolutely intolerable. They put my niece on acid reflux meds and like the commenter above, the world righted itself again. We have food intolerances in our family tree, and I think that played a part, but they didn't explore that angle.
I do think that food intolerances/allergies play a big part in acid reflux, and I know that from personal experience (myself). I am so glad that you are open and aware of the many ways food intolerances can manifest. I think you will have a much different experience this time around because of your new knowledge and the way that you feed yourself and your family now. Not that it will be easy (parenting is never easy!) but having a content baby makes all the hard stuff easier ;)
Blessings to all of you! Such exciting news!
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