Are you insane? Those were the now immortal words said to me when telling a friend that I was pregnant with baby number two. Admittedly baby 1 was only four months old at the time, but still – it’s a far cry from congratulations. In fact, congratulations were few and far between with baby 2.
I think I could count on one hand the number of people who uttered that allusive C-word my way.
With both my pregnancies we kept it as our little secret for a good 4 months. It helped that I didn’t even really look pregnant until I was about 6 months and even then I could pass for having just eaten all the pies.
I really did enjoy the privacy of no one knowing I was harbouring a little baby but truth be told with baby 2 I just couldn’t face the insane comments and the looks you get when telling people you are expecting when your first is still so small.
The judgement was all over their face, the pity, the relief it wasn’t them and with most, it didn’t stop at looks. People had no qualms in proclaiming how insane we were, how hard life was going to be and boy were we in for a shock. OK we get it but come on I was still growing life, we were still expanding our family and believe it or not, despite it being earlier than intended we were excited about the new arrival, would it hurt for others to revel in the positives instead of pointing out the negatives of which we were so painfully aware – trust me!
Anyway, we are now some 7 months into our newly sized family and yes it has been hard, at times so bloody hard, It was complicated by baby 2s arrival being 2 months early and requiring a 5-week hospital stay, plus several readmissions and general poor health but all in all it is not as hard as I thought it would be, and let’s face it going from no baby to one baby is the hardest transition!
The best way I think I can describe having two babies with 11 months between them is the good the bad and the ugly so here goes…
I think I’ll start on a positive note. Baby 1 at her tiny 18 months adores her little brother and it appears mutual. She makes him giggle, she loves him, cuddles him, kisses him and makes sure we all give him attention. It is a heart melter. I am also told by just about everyone, they will grow up together and be best of friends, I really do hope this is true as I can’t imagine anything better than having a sibling for a best friend.
Further, whilst we are at times, in sleep deprivation hell the silver lining for me is that this is it, this is as hard as it gets. They are so close in age that the phase will, for the most part, be experienced together and at once. The night feeds/wake-ups, the nappies, the tantrums the general reliance on their parents for just about everything, is now, for them both – does it make it twice as hard? I don’t know, maybe, but I don’t know it any other way now and when it’s over it will be over. We don’t intend to welcome another little newborn into the fold to throw us back into this phase so, for us, there is a light we are just creeping slowly toward it.
Of course, there are some insane bad times and I’m not one to shy away from that. For example, the hardest thing of late has been the dreaded sleep or lack thereof. By the time baby 2 came along baby 1 was sleeping through the night and I’m talking 7.30 – 8.30/9.30 sometimes even 10 – I know I am sorry, please do hate me (if it helps, she had me up every hour for the first 12 weeks of her life and every couple thereafter until about 10 months). But for the last couple of months, both babies seem to have been on speed. Baby 2 would wake for a feed I would just get him back off to hear baby 1 start to grumble followed by an almighty scream. I’d then spend the next 2 hours getting her to sleep, just in time for baby 1 to wake for the next feed.
FML. An average of 4 hours of broken sleep over a prolonged period is the insane work of the devil, as we all know.
Simply put this is me. I’m not talking about the physical sense here although there is no eye cream good enough to counteract the night feed lines I have developed. But the person I once was does seem to be a thing of the past.
I was once a good friend, I could have a two-way conversation and I did have a functioning and occasionally intellectual brain. Now I fear I have become so wrapped up in my baby busyness I have let this fall by the wayside. Friends get their birthday presents late, I am engaged in conversation but am part watching 2 babies, part thinking about everything that needs to be done and part asleep.
As for my brainpower, well I get through the day and I don’t feel I can ask for much more at the minute. So for all my friends out there, old and new, I am sorry if I am only half there or not at all sometimes. I don’t love you any less, in fact, more than ever, I think (hope) I’m just stuck inside a bubble of the incomprehensible and all-consuming baby take over that will one day ease up and be over…simultaneously.
So yes 2 babies in 11 months are hard but 1 baby or 2 babies at any time is hard. That being said, with it comes so much good, happiness and love that I couldn’t give two shits if there was 11 months or 11 years between them. I love them the way they are and enjoy every day I have with them (most of it anyway). Although before the sound of chirping birds takes over, I must confess, I wrote this post after baby 1 spent the day being sick and baby 2s insane attention-seeking ways drove me to open a bottle of wine …