To my friend, a (soon-to-be) momma of two,
I’m writing this to you, not because I think I know everything about motherhood (or anything, for that matter) but because I see you, thinking all the thoughts, trying to figure it out. How is it possible to take care of two active little bodies? How can I possibly have any more love to give? What the hell am I supposed to do when one kid has a huge blowout while the other kid is lying in a puddle of his own vomit? I’ve been there. Hell, I’m still there. And I want you to know you’re not alone.
I don’t have advice for you, because I literally have nothing figured out myself, but I do have some things I hope you’ll remember once your little babe is here.
1. Let me (and every other human who offers, including the stranger in the grocery store) help you. Yes, I have two kids of my own. Yes, I have my hands full and there is a good chance I haven’t washed my hair this week, but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that I want to help you. It actually makes me want to help you more, because I’ve been there. Let me take your oldest to the park. Let me drop off food (it may be a box of pizza, but I can promise you that whatever it is will be edible, and a bottle of wine will be included). Let me bring over coffee and sit with you while you cry about how damn hard it is.
The point is, I want to help you. Let yourself accept the help. Motherhood, in general, is an absolute circus. And when you have more than one child? It’s not the kind of circus with cute animals. It’s the kind of circus where people have two heads, five eyes, and fingernails a mile long. It’s a fucking ridiculous circus, and I want to be there for you.
2. You don’t have to defend yourself or your feelings to me. Whenever I was asked how life is with two kids, I struggled. I wanted to be honest. I wanted to lay it all out there, but I was scared. Just because I started crying and muttering curse words under my breath about how tired I was, and how the oldest one seems to think “Gentle!” means “Jump on top of the baby!” doesn’t mean that I don’t love my children more than anything in the entire world. It doesn’t mean that I could ever imagine my life without them and that they haven’t changed me in all the best ways.
All it means is that, yes, it’s hard, and sometimes I need to say it. Saying it doesn’t take away one ounce of the love I have for those little people, and it won’t for you either. Tell me how hard it is. I get it. There’s no need to follow up with how happy they make you and how much you love them (unless you want to, of course!), because I know you do. I know they are perfection, and the love you have for them is indescribable. I also know that sometimes they will drive you crazy, and you’ll feel like jumping in your car and driving as fast as you can to the nearest highway.
3. Don’t feel any pressure, at all, to answer me. I’m going to send you text messages. I’m going to call. That does not mean you need to answer. And when you do get around to answering, don’t think for a second that you need to explain why it took so long to answer. You are busy learning how to keep two children alive—simple as that. And honestly, once those babies of yours are finally asleep, I would rather you lay your ass down and sleep yourself. Don’t waste that precious time calling me back. Sleep, for the love of God, just sleep.
4. Your husband just won’t understand some things, and when he doesn’t, I’m here. We both have amazing husbands. They are caring, giving, loving men who would do anything for their families. That said, they didn’t have a baby come out of a place way too small, they have no clue what it’s like trying to deal with the very, very real and very, very intense postpartum hormonal roller coaster while being sleep deprived, wearing mesh underwear, and carrying around a donut and a squirt bottle. They don’t know how intense the pressure is to breastfeed, how taking your first postpartum poop is the scariest hour of your life, and how it feels to see a deflated beach ball hanging out where your abs used to be. Our husbands don’t get it, and that’s not their fault; it’s just human nature. I get it though, momma, I get it.
5. One last thing, I know you’re scared. When your first baby was born, he opened up your heart and you felt a love like you’ve never felt before. You were in awe of this new love you had. There are truly no words for it, and no matter how many times people try, there is no way to describe a mother’s love. So it makes sense to have a fear that your love for your second child won’t live up to the first, but I can assure you with 100-percent certainty that it will. Somehow, some way, your heart will find even more room to grow, and your breath will once again be taken away by the love you feel.
So get ready for the circus, and remember, I’m here.
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