How long do you think it takes to start getting used to the sound of things like, “my kids,” or “my girls?” Apparently, a lot longer than three weeks. Every time those words escape my mouth, I can’t believe it’s our reality. We have two kids! We’ve only been married for three years! That is just wild to me.
There were so many things I was worried about around making the transition from just having our two year old to suddenly having two little girls at home with me every day. And like anything else, I decided to ease my fears by over-educating myself – I watched every vlog, read every article, and followed every child behavior specialist on Instagram. I did the same thing when it came to labor, and it worked like a charm. Going into labor feeling educated and empowered was definitely the best choice I made for myself. But, much like labor, things don’t always go as planned, and you end up rolling with the punches and making adjustments as you go.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that was the only possible approach I could take to survive this transition. Because I didn’t just want to survive it – I wanted to be present and confident and just… good.
Getting Ready For Baby #2 & The Possibility of Postpartum Depression
Brief storytime: I suffered a great deal from postpartum depression with Annie. In the throws of it, I wasn’t really sure what was happening. But months into my symptoms, I started to really understand that I needed to make a change. I was scaring Tanner, and I was starting to scare myself. Thankfully, a friend who really loves me intervened and forced me to face facts and reach out for help before it was too late.
Unfortunately, the help I received didn’t fix my problem. It wasn’t the fault of my medical team – I was offered a variety of methods and nothing really worked for me. Some of the antidepressants I took made everything even worse. I was suffering from severe bouts of rage, paranoia, and manic episodes. After spending hundreds of dollars on doctor’s visits and medication that ultimately did not work for me, I made it out on the other side. We ended our breast feeding journey, my hormones leveled out, and I was able to look back on everything with a more clear perspective. Next time, I would do things differently.
Fast forward to a year later and “next time” was suddenly on its way. We were expecting baby number two, and I wanted to prepare myself to avoid this whole mess. Full disclosure: I am only three weeks postpartum. So, this won’t be a blog post on how I avoided postpartum depression with baby #2. I am definitely not out of the woods. But I feel much more prepared this time around because I have a better understanding of how my mind and body react to postpartum life, and what my triggers are.
How To Transition From One to Two Children: Erase Your Expectations (Both Positive and Negative)
I did my best to go into motherhood the first time around with as few expectations as possible. It’s easier said than done, because the second Annie was here, I felt fiercely protective over her. I especially wanted to guard her home environment and her routine. Nap time required absolute silence, not because she demanded it, but because I demanded it for her. The smallest amount of noise could send me into a tailspin – “You’re going to wake the baby!!!”
Letting go of the expectation that I needed to provide the perfect, most ideal environment for my newborn was a big part of the process for preparing for baby #2. But I also needed to let go of my negative expectations.
My sweet genius friend Leanne Lopez Mosley (AKA the Productivity Queen) gave me a much-needed dose of reality on one of our FaceTime chats before baby. I was worried about balancing my time with Annie and with this newborn baby girl, on top of my household responsibilities and running my business and trying to bring in more money. I said, “I know it’s going to be hard. I know it’s going to suck. But…”
And she didn’t let me go on another minute. She told me it didn’t have to be hard, that I was making it that way. I was forcing myself to believe that this transition was going to be rough rather than letting it be the joyous transition that it should be.
X Things I Did To Prepare For Baby #2
- I let go of all of my expectations, positive and negative. No more ideal sleep situations, no more perfectionism, no more buying ALL the gimmicks and supplies I found on the internet. I didn’t even finish her nursery. Not even close. We came home with just the bare essentials, I let her sleep to the sound of toddler screams and the dog barking, and I keep reminding myself that she is happy, healthy, and growing, even without the perfect nursery with soothing essential oils and sound machines going.
- I got my business in order. I set up processes to generate more passive income and stopped taking on new projects for the time being. I worked hard in the months leading up to her birth, and then I gave myself permission to slow down, if not make a full stop, after she was born. And low and behold, I didn’t lose all my clients! In fact, they were very supportive.
- I took a new medical approach. I worked with a doula in my third trimester to learn more about my options for handling postpartum depression. At her recommendation, I decided to encapsulate my placenta to regulate my hormones. I’m working on putting together a blog post with all of the studies and theories about placenta dehydration, plus my experience, but I’m going to wait until I’m six months postpartum to share so you get the full picture of how it worked for me.