Why Having Two Children is Harder Than You Think And Why That’s OK

Photography: Stacey Lake Photography

By Zelma Broadfoot

When we toyed with the idea of a second child after experiencing birth trauma, immense difficulty breastfeeding and a severe case of postnatal depression, I read a lot of blogs about the joy of going from one child to two. I instantly felt comforted and a feverish haste to make this decision a reality.

What nobody told me about was the intensity. The blogs don’t provide practical words for your unique set of circumstances; and how can they? They were written by someone just like you, with their own set of unique circumstances. How was I going to co-sleep with two children? How was I going to tandem feed with only one breast? Would I experience postnatal depression again? Should I have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)? How would I cope with HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) again whilst caring for a toddler? Are there more parenthood-related acronyms that I’m unaware of? No-one had the answers I was looking for. No-one had been through the exact combination of complex experiences. I was alone with my decision; a decision so deeply personal that could not be made for me.

How was I going to co-sleep with two children? How was I going to tandem feed with only one breast? Would I experience postnatal depression again?

When this ambivalence occurred, I turned within. I let go of the need for validation and endorsement and accepted that there was nothing that could possibly be written in a blog that would prepare me. Beyond that, anecdotal reports from friends are either of comfort or concern depending on who you talk to and what day you catch them on. Turning within and surrendering to the added, beautiful complexity that another child would bring was what cemented my decision to try again.

When I’m making lunch for a toddler whilst breastfeeding a newborn, I turn within. When I’m busting for the toilet, the baby doesn’t want to be put down and the toddler is yelling, I turn within. When I just want to rest and the baby wakes after 20 minutes, I turn within.

I breathe. I imagine the oxygen circling my body is pure love in disguise. I imagine this love lighting up my body, heartbeat by heartbeat. These moments, so simple yet excruciatingly difficult when stretched beyond repair into the same second, are fleeting. It is a blessing that has been bestowed upon me to teach me to stay present, stay mindful, stay strong, stay true.

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