The Difference is This

It's weird to feel ready for a baby. Emotionally, I mean. I didn't feel that way with Archer at all. I felt confused. Excited but confused. Lost. Unprepared for a changed life. Unsure of myself as a mother, woman, human being. I felt like a child. I was a child. I had no idea what was coming but I knew it was huge and I waited, my heart in my throat, for my whole world to flipped off its axis. For everything to change.

I knew I was in for the emotional makeover of my life. Everyone, including myself, was telling me so.

All pregnancies are different, and I'm not just talking about weight gain. Becoming a mother is for many women, the time most matured. I aged ten years when Archer was born. Suddenly the things that should have always mattered, did. And the things that once consumed me blew away like red balloons.

"Growing up fast," I soon found, had nothing to do with High School girls wearing halter tops and piercing their belly buttons. Growing up fast is what happens when you have a baby, no matter your age. I have a feeling that had I waited until my 30's or even my 40's to have kids, I would have felt the same holy-shit-I'm-a-woman-now-shock that I did at twenty-three.

Hal, Archer and I: 2005

This pregnancy, quite contrary to my first has been one with few questions, less doubts and perhaps, most shockingly: no fear.

People ask me every day, "are you ready?" and the truth is: I kind of am. Something I don't know if I should admit. Because shouldn't I feel frantic, right now? Scared? Nervous?

God, I sure was with Archer.

There is nothing like a first pregnancy. Nothing like the unknown. The first dive into the pool... But there is nothing like a second pregnancy, either. Jumping into the water, semi-used to the temperature. I feel like I can swim so much faster now that I'm not shivering. I feel like I can swim all types of strokes.

Archer may have made me a mother but this new baby has made me a fearless one. And that is something just as special.

I'm not a little girl this time. I'm a confident, ambitious grown-up who has, in the past three plus years surrounded herself with people I highly respect. A million miles from where I was at this point in my last pregnancy. Utterly friendless and afraid that everyone was right when they told me that motherhood would exhaust me of every dream -- the opposite of the truth, I soon learned.

Of course, there's a good chance that I don't have the faintest idea what is about to happen (Clearly I don't, because who does?)

There's a good chance that I won't be able to work much these next few months. That my goals to turn in a script by Christmas and a book by next summer are unrealistic. That personally shopping a pilot with a newborn baby strapped to my chest is highly unlikely.

People spend a lot of effort trying to tell others how "impossible" it is to everything. I don't believe that's very helpful. Or true. What is possible is up to me. Up to all of us. That being, said, I am clueless as to how I will cope. Change. Learn. Fail. Succeed. I do know that right now, It's a huge relief not to feel afraid. Of labor. Of having two children-- another person for me to love more than myself. It's a huge relief to know that I am capable. That growing my family means growing my fire, my heart, myself.

I'm ready for this new person. This new life. Even if it means working harder, sleeping less... I can't wait to do it all. To struggle and fight and learn and love and grow and push harder. I'm ready to make new messes and find new ways to clean them up. I'm ready to bleed all over myself in a thousand different ways. I'm ready to catch fire and run full-speed to the nearest lake. I'm ready to admit to myself and everyone who asks, that yes, I am ready for this baby. I'm ready for all of it.

Bring it on.

GGC

40 comments:

LG | 5:36 PM

That was really powerful.
It almost made me reconsider my "no more babies" stance.

Almost. ;-)

Misfit Hausfrau | 5:56 PM

It sounds like you are in a really good place! Isn't that such a great feeling?

So, is Archer ready?

the dalai mama | 5:56 PM

There is something that is so special about the second child. Having just brought our second child home 3 months ago, I finally feel like I am adjusting and coming out of the fog. I won't lie, the transition from one to two has been hard. I can't imagine anything harder in terms of adjusting to parenthood. I have had many friends say that the adjustment from two to three is hard. I just can't picture it being harder than going from one to two.

Where I use to be able to carve out minutes for myself with only one, it has become nearly impossible with two. I use to shower with one, again not as easy with two. But you certainly can have it all. Maybe not at the same time--but really who does?

I love your honesty and clarity of thought. It will serve you well during this transition. Archer is older than my first (he's only 29 months) and is in school, which will help you get some time to yourself to sleep and work. I think you are like me and happiest when you have many irons in the fire. You'll do awesome the second time around because you certainly have rocked this mothering thing the first time around.

I'm Mrs. Schwartz. | 6:04 PM

Awesome post. I am so happy for you, Hal and Archer. When are you due? I missed it if you've mentioned it before.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 6:07 PM

Archer's doing incredibly well. We have the carseat installed and the bassinet out and Archer kisses "the baby" every night before bed and blows kisses to her carseat on the way to school. He also goes to her drawers and says "this is for baby. this is for archer." ... He's very into pointing out what is his and what is hers which KILLS me. Oh and at school last week? He made a "mask" with a paper plate and popsicle sticks and when I asked what he made he said "this is my sister."

I die.

He's also really into singing her "Daisy, Daisy... give me an answer do..." But he substitutes "Daisy" with her name. And then he makes farting sounds on my belly and cracks up like its the funniest thing ever.

Susan | 8:29 PM

Thank you for posting this! My husband and I are trying to conceive and/but I alternate between excitement and fear over becoming a parent hopefully soon. This post helps so much. Your words always inspire me.

mothergoosemouse | 8:44 PM

Bec, I love this post because this is how I felt with CJ, my second child. Even though I was thirty and had been married five years when I had Tacy, I wasn't ready in the same way that I was the second time around.

I know you will love her. But I also know that you will *enjoy* her, right from the start.

Windy | 8:56 PM

I felt so overwhelmed with my first I literally cried in the shower at the thought of being alone with her for the first time. What if she needed something I couldn't give her? what if I didn't know what she was crying for? My husband thought I was crazy. He said "What could she possibly need besides you?" I have none of these fears the second time around but I also feel so much freer than I did the first time. I now KNOW, "What could he possibly need besides me? Can't wait to see the new little one. Great Post!

Linda | 10:11 PM

Oh Bec. You are ready! You are as ready as you ever will be, because now you have an idea of how life changing a baby is. And the second is easier. A mama is more relaxed-not necessarily less tired. You will do fine, and Archer will do fine. Hal-not so much!!
HA HA HA

kittenpie | 11:38 PM

I have to say I'm impressed, because my not freaking out over the second was largely because I wasn't thinking much about it. Srsly, I was kinda shocked to to hear a baby gurgle all of a sudden when he came out. So hey, here's to your amazing maturity as a woman now, and hopes that you can make happen what you really want to or be happy with the adjustment that you decide need to be made.

It's funny, I'm not a religious person at all, but found myself today with that prayer about having the serenity to accept things we cannot change, the strength to change what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. However those things come, I wish them for all of us moms in these early days!

Carlin | 12:16 AM

Thank you so much for your honesty and willingness to share your feelings. My husband and I are talking about having a second, and I am torn between wanting to love my first exclusively, and wanting to love another equally. I hope that when the time comes, I am as comfortable and confident as you.

gabes_mom | 4:52 AM

It's kind of ironic, because I found out I was pregnant about a week after you did. I should be about to pop and gushing over your post, but I am not - I had my second miscarriage in February just a week after I found out....

I just found out a couple weeks ago that I am pregnant again, 5 weeks, and I am so empowered by this. Last time I was constantly worrying that the same thing would happen again... this time around I am feeling great and totally ready for what is to come...

Like you this is my second child, and although a little confused as to what it will be like to take care of someone else I am totally psyched to see how my son reacts to the baby and how the baby changes our lives.

Thanks for your post, it was so very sweet.

angie | 6:36 AM

Perfectly written

The Mommy | 7:38 AM

I was quite the opposite. I wasn't scared about the first. What I was scared about was the second. Scared about how it would she would impact my first, how I would find time for both of them, how I would do it all again. Sixteen months later I have two well adjusted kids who love each other to pieces.

Congrats on baby F. Can't wait for the world to meet her.

Mommy Melee | 7:56 AM

I love having a concrete idea of what I've gotten into. But this time having a toddler in the house introduces such an unknown that I'm a little scared again. Scared for him? Scared for us?

But I'm much more excited to meet this little man and smell him and kiss him and hold him. I have a feeling he's going to be spoiled like crazy because now I know how much it hurts when they grow.

Tracey | 8:09 AM

That's AWESOME. Be ready. Be excited. Be confident! You CAN do this because you Have DONE this! Yes, I'm sure expectations won't be met on some things, but that is true with every new experience. Being flexible is what makes life easier to live. Hoping for an easy, healthy, beautiful baby for you...

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 8:28 AM

Thanks, ladies. And Mrs. Schwartz? I'm due the 12th of October.

Wendy | 9:21 AM

It is a great feeling. I didn't get that until the 3rd one, and it was mixed in with terror of having 3 kids. It's only as hard as you think it is, so stay positive.

(That shot of Hal, Archer, and you kinda reminded me of Micheal Jackson with his kids. And the clown in Poltergeist. Maybe I shouldn't have drank so much coffee)

Binky | 9:21 AM

Say it, sister!

And, not for nothing, but I found it easier to write with a newborn than to write while pregnant (the second time around, anyway). Like I mentioned earlier, my creative energies during pregnancy were more geared toward background research than production. But once I birthed that baby, that creative part of me needed an outlet, too.

Maybe you'll be able to turn in that script and maybe you won't. Maybe you'll finish that book come summer or maybe you won't. But either way I know you'll have a lot to write about--and a new and inspired way to write it.

JuJu | 9:29 AM

I'm all verklempt over here. Can I chalk it up to postpartum hormones?! Okay, probably not.

Personally? I can totally see you shopping a pilot with BabyGirlF strapped to your chest.

Totally.

Sarah Myers | 9:43 AM

That was beautifully written! Your love and ambition to struggle and push through to new heights is simply contagious :)

bmctriedtodoitallonceuponatime | 9:52 AM

you put the new one in a side pocket of your giant louis vuitton, hang onto the hand of the one who came before her; you pack up your computer and your coffee mug, and you keep on walking in your manolos to the park before the gym and the coffee shop/office. just like you did last time, only easier.

shit. it's not that hard. it's just exhausting. deep and conditionless love is exhausting.

now. xanex and coffee (a.k.a. fearlessness and energy) -- a steady diet of equal parts of both makes it all possible. the "doing it all" and the thinking that just because you *can* you should. that's just the xanex talking. if you feed it some coffee, you're good to go. and that, my dear, is how ambitious and successful mothers of two+ do it all. or so i hear. i don't do it all. i only do some of it.

shannon | 10:29 AM

I remember being pregnant with Eli and feeling the same way, almost. I was so preoccupied taking care of Caleb and worrying about how he would adjust that the pregnancy was sort of a blur. But then I gave birth and I felt like I was consumed in love. It was so different than the first time around. Everyone told me I would fall instantly in love when I was pregnant with my first, and I think it took a good 8 weeks for that to be true. I was just trying to survive and get by on practically no sleep, bleeding nipples, and I believe a little postpartum depression. But the second time, the minute I saw his face I was smitten. I had been through it before, my body adjusted to sleep deprivation, and I actually looked forward to those snuggly moments all alone in the quiet of the night. I think knowing it wouldn't last forever helped.

You will be an amazing mama times 2.

Rhea | 10:38 AM

I remember feeling this way with my second...and in a totally different place from being pregnant with my first. This post summed it up nicely. Ready and bring it on...

and then the next day I'd be hormonal and scared shitless.

mamaandthecity | 10:49 AM

I'm due November 12 with my second and I'm both thrilled and nervous, not about the baby but about my daughter and how she'll react. As excited as I am to bring a new addition into our family I'm a little sad for my daughter that it's just not about her anymore. I'm worried about turning her world upside down. I guess that's part of parenting in being there for 2 not just one.

Can't wait to see how we do!
xo
MATC

Indigo Children | 11:31 AM

Beautiful.

And I agree "What is possible is up to me. Up to all of us."

Each new moment brings with it pure potential --- anything is possible again and again. Just because it hasn't happened yet does not diminish the potential that it will happen.

You are ready--not just for this baby--but for life (truly lived).

courtney | 11:41 AM

I wonder (from what I remember of your situation with Archer, so correct me if I am wrong) if alot of it also has to do with Hal. I know he was there with Archer, and you two got married before he was born, but hadn't you only known each other a couple of months?

Now you've been together for years, you know that he is willing to fight for your family and work through the bad, but you didn't know that before. So I imagine (at least how I would have felt in that situation) that you were preparing yourself to go through this on your own, in case he walked out, because you don't know what you know about him now.

Hell we're just now starting to try (we'll be married 4 years in Dec) and part of me is still scared to death. Yeah I want it, I know my husband will be a great dad, but how will it change "us", will I be a good mother. Gah! Too much to think about.

PunditMom | 11:56 AM

I'm so excited for you! And can't wait to hear about the new arrival. My good thoughts are with you! xoxo

jjlibra | 3:20 PM

i already have 3 kids and have said there would be no more but you just made me want to run right in to the bedroom and get started on number 4!!!! what a great post!!

kgirl | 3:49 PM

Beautifully said. You're gonna love mothering two. You're gonna be tired, but you'll love it.

HumpsNbump | 9:58 PM

Thank you for sharing your revelation. I'm expecting my first child, in my first trimester. It's great to hear about your personal journey.

Congratulations on baby #2. Look forward to hearing more mother inspiration.

Tia | 11:35 PM

even though i'm not a mommy yet (we are right around the corner from starting to try!) i feel like i can relate to this post because i always felt like i didn't want to have kids. now, i want to, and i feel like i'm about 75% ready, which might be as good as it gets.

Chef's Widow | 6:05 AM

Well said mama. Well said. The second one does feel different both in your belly and out. My second was just as unexpected as the first (the Chef & I are morons when it comes to bc) however she seemed to be planned. Even now as we are coming up for her one year birthday I feel as though she was always a part of our family even before she was born. Plus she is by far the coolest chick I have ever known. Take care of you and baby girl and Archer and Hal!

nancy | 6:25 AM

Mothering a daughter is a unique experience. My daughter is 12, and it's been incredible seeing her through her journey so far. I remember being obsessed with making sure she had both stereotypical "boy" and "girl" toys to play with, and I know she eventually loved the Matchbox car garage playset as much as the dollhouse. I loved playing "The Wizard of Oz" with her, turning into tornadoes and whirling around the dining room table. She was never just a "girly girl"--she embraced some frills from time to time, but mostly was just herself.

The thing I've found most interesting is how much she looks to both me and her dad for inspiration. She's a total jock like her dad and loves Language Arts class like I did. I don't know if it's quite the same with boys (my guy is still a wee 1 1/2) but girls are especially impressionable. You and Hal both seem like you're up to the task of setting an awesome example for her--she'll be paying attention. Trust me.

April | 7:11 AM

You're ready for a baby, but are you ready to be mommy of TWO? That's where I hit a glitch - coming home and all the sudden there were two! It was an adjustment, but now it's great. I'm sure you'll be great too.

I really enjoy your blog, so keep on keeping on :-)

Anonymous | 9:32 AM

A first child at 23 was no biggie back in the day. My great-great-grandmother had her first at 18 AND she had been married two years at that point. My great-grandmother married at 19 and had her first at 20. My grandmother was considered an old maid because she waited until she graduated from college before she had her first at 24. My mother finished college and grad school before having her first at 26 (she skipped a couple of grades.) I was ancient when I got married at 26 and had my first at 28, while in law school. So there you go. Not everybody has babies in their 30 and 40s.

Brynn in CO | 9:47 AM

My 2nd baby is 6 mos. old and I too was also looking forward to the calmness of a 2nd baby! (but at the same time dreading doing that difficult first year over again, at least a littl) When they handed her to me after a perfect delivery it was the best feeling in the world. I was just as in love as I had been with my first, but without the anxiety! I was just able to enjoy her so much. Instead of crying on the drive home from the hospital, I smiled the whole way. Newborns are always a lot of work, but that second one really is something special. As far as your goals for the next few months, it will probably have very little to do with you and EVERYTHINg to do with what your baby is like. I felt like I was on a role after I got past the first three months, and couldn't believe how quickly I had adjusted. Then by baby started suffering from reflux and it was like having a newborn all over again (for me and by older daughter). Anyway, enough about me! I'm looking forward to hearing about your journey into being a mommy of two!

CtheG | 10:21 AM

i love your blog. I'm 40 and having my first child and going through the holy shit I'm a woman now - that will continue through the pregnancy and then shock the hell out of me once the baby is born. 5 more months to go!

Baby in Broad | 8:04 PM

I'm so glad you're saying "can" where other people say "can't." Bring it on, indeed!

Just Call Me Sleep Deprived | 4:48 PM

I'm not sure if it's because I haven't slept more than 3 hours at a time in over 7 months, but this post made me cry. I was 23 when my daughter was born and you described the scary, lonely, confused emotional state I have been in since my pregnancy in such a beautiful and heartfelt way. I am so glad to see that you feel so ready and excited for this next baby, it gives me hope!