When I tell people I have two children under one who are not twins.. I get one of two reactions.
I get the "Well you must be busy.." mixed with this "You're crazy lady" expression, or I get the longing sigh and "You're so lucky..."
I have never once gotten another reaction. Reaction number one far outweighs reaction two.
But people seem so misinformed about this topic, and new moms certainly don't get any info about spacing their children close together. So I'm here to talk about my experiences and the pros and cons of this stage of my life.
I'm gonna talk about the cons first, and then get you into the good stuff.
My body didn't have time to recover
My hips are still out of whack three months after Miahs birth because they never really had a chance to recover after Elsie. Miahs pregnancy was harder on me for things like walking and climbing stairs for this same reason. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be at all.
We had a hard time bonding at first
This one was hard on me. I remember looking at Josh at 3 weeks with Miah screaming to nurse and Elsie screaming cause she wanted to be cuddled and saying "I'm a horrible mom, I don't love him. It's like he's not even mine, I don't even know him!"
I remember feeling such guilt that I didn't bond instantly with him like I did with Elsie. With Elsie I spent every minute of my pregnancy bonding with her. By the time she came out, I already knew her. I didn't have the time to focus on Miah with his pregnancy. I was to busy chasing around my newly walking toddler.
When he was born... I loved him... but I was also pretty resentful, because I wanted to spend time with Elsie, but this little baby wanted to nurse and it hurt(we struggled with a bad latch), and I was so tired, and I didn't know this little baby like I knew Elsie.
I actually remember the first time I looked at him and honestly said "Mommy loves you." I cried for almost an hour after I realized I honestly meant it. That was around 2 months. I called Josh and he said "You've meant it the entire time... you were just really overwhelmed."
You will struggle with Mommy-guilt like never before.
I still struggle with this. Toddlers take up a lot of time. So do newborns. You will not have enough time. One of them will always need you, often times both will need you. Your house will always be a mess, your dinners will always feel slapped together, and you will always be exhausted from lack of sleep. That's just par for the course. What people don't tell you is the mommy-guilt will get you.
"Do I hold him enough?" "Does she know I still love her?" "Does he need to nurse more often?" "I held her all the time and he spends so much time in his swing..." "Am I stimulating them enough?" "He's a little behind in milestones... is it my fault?"
You'll think these things all the time. And really, there's no way to answer them. You're doing the best you can and if they are alive at the end of the day... GO YOU!
Your older one might struggle with Jealousy and even violent outbursts.
For a couple months we dealt with Elsie hitting Miah whenever he was nursing or crying and I had to pick him up, just from sheer jealousy. I really had to be careful to play with her and snuggle her and tell her Miah was "Her baby." She struggled a bit with the protective sister instinct and the "I want my parents." jealousy... but now she's mostly fine, gives him a soother and bottles and rocks him and holds him. But be prepared for some fights along the way, maybe even a couple meltdowns.
Now... I know, it seems like "Well then why would you ever do that?" because the pros are so great.
They play together.
My children are so interested in each other. Elsie is completely fascinated by Miah, and Miah loves Elsie. He always gives her these adorable little smiles. Elsie sings to him and dances with him, and when he gets up in the morning, she's super excited. They play together really well, and something tells me this will only get better as they get older.
Nursing was easier.
I was already used to nursing after Elsie, so nursing Miah was no biggie at all. I also knew what to expect, so I wasn't so discouraged when those first couple days were hard.
Pregnancy and Labour were easier.
Remember how my hips didn't go back and it causes my problems now? Well, it didn't in labour. It was amazing in labour with my pain level and speed of labour. Pregnancy also rocked in some ways, because first off, I didn't have time to think about being pregnant while chasing around Elsie. I didn't struggle with the severe hip pain and back pain I did with Elsie, because my hips and back were already where they needed to be. Overall, the entire experience of the pregnancy itself was easier.
You already have all that baby stuff out.
I hate sorting away my baby stuff. Because I know I'm just going to have to drag it out later anyways. When I got pregnant again, I was so excited that I didn't have to put away the crib or the bouncy chair or the high chair, or the ridiculous amount of baby toys we have around.. it was all going to be used again right away.
You're already sleep deprived.
I kid you not. This I think made those first couple months easier. We were already sleep deprived. Elsie was already getting up at night and crying while she teethed, so adding a nursing baby didn't really make a difference in our ability to function. We never really got back in the habit of sleeping through the night anyways.
We have such fun.
When you space out your kids... you get used to doing big kids things, like going to the park... and then you realize that you have a little baby now and those things are a lot harder. It can be a resentful moment. I didn't have this with Miah. We were already playing baby games, it was already hard to get out of the door. My kids are so happy and I have learned to love peek a boo and pat a cake.
I can totally see why someone who choose to space out their children. I totally get it. But I think having them close is also awesome, and I think I'm gonna do it again, not this next one, but the one after that. Because it really is an adventure, and it's a lot of fun.