Thursday, November 20, 2014

10 Benefits of Being a Third-Time New Mom

When I took Caleb to his first doctor's appointment two weeks ago a nurse commented on how comfortable I seemed with motherhood. I gave my only honest answer, "It's a lot easier with the third than the first."

New mommyhood has its difficult parts regardless of how many times you've done it. Even if it's an easier delivery than your first, you still have some major recovering to do. And the hormones- oh my- let's just settle those down as quickly as we can, ok? I'm really cold, unless I'm hot; which means I'm taken my sweatshirt on and off about fifty times every day the past three weeks! 

But there are some major benefits to having done this twice before.

1. Babies aren't quite as mysterious. It still leaves me in awe that suddenly there's another little person who is dependent on our family and we are taking him home. But I've had a baby before so it's not the same learning curve. I know how to wash a baby, change a baby's diaper, not freak out when they cry, nurse a baby, swing the diaper bag into the car seat and carry it on one arm and the baby with the other. It's second nature instead of a foreign language you never learned and suddenly have to use to communicate. 

2. It all comes to pass and you know it. The baby will eventually sleep more. The hormones die down. Your hair even stops falling out. You find a new normal. And you can remind yourself of that in the hectic moments because you've done it before. 

3. You don't need as much stuff. The baby needs some clothes, diaper and wipes, a place to sleep, a car seat, and some blankets. I also love a baby wrap. But beyond that a little baby doesn't need much more besides love and cuddles. Oh, and food. They definitely eat frequently. 

4. You have built-in little helpers. Now sometimes this can be more of a curse than a blessing but I would rather my older boys were too enthusiastic about the baby than resenting him. Thankfully both my boys have been very excited about their little brother and are eager to help. I enjoy the different ages of my kids and find it to be mentally engaging. (Did I mean exhausting?)

5. Going anywhere with just one child seems amazingly easy. When I took Caleb to his doctor's appointment it was a breeze to leave the house with just myself and the baby. Now when I only had Micah I felt overwhelmed to imagine going anywhere with both of us. Look how far we've come. 

6. You do things with the third you would never have dreamed of doing with your first. We took the boys to the park when Caleb was just 11 days old because it appeared to be the last pretty day of the year. I held Caleb on one arm while he slept and pushed Micah on the swings with the other arm. I would never have done something like that with my first. 

7. You enjoy the baby more. You know how quickly the baby is going to grow up. I'm enjoying newborn snuggles and squeaks and even those middle of the night feedings are more precious because I can sit and hold him and not need to care for anyone else right then. 

8. You see the importance of self-care. With my other two babies, it was easy to write off my needs to take care of the children. Now of course I'm caring for the children, but I've learned that I'm still a person and I need to respect that.  I respect it so much that I'm getting a (free!) postpartum massage that our hospital offers. Doesn't that sound amazing? Take the time to care for your physical and emotional needs. Spend time with adults, squeeze in a nap, care for your recovering body. If you wear yourself out you can't properly care for anyone else. 

9. You have an increased appreciation for marriage. I realize that not everybody is in my ideal situation when they see that positive pregnancy test. Justin and I have been thrilled to welcome each of our sons to our family. The shared experiences of pregnancy, birth, and adjusting our family have only caused us to grow closer. This is not always the case. I appreciate our marriage more as I see the reactions and attitudes toward pregnancy and babies that some people chose to have. 

And perhaps my favorite part of a new baby?

10.  You get a renewed vision for motherhood. Something about holding that tiny infant reminds you of the awesome responsibility that loving and training a little one is. And not just that little one but the others already in your home. It softens my mama heart and I often need that. 

I did have a difficult entry into motherhood the first time. Almost anything is easier than NICU's, helicopter rides, and a rare disorder. This has probably colored my viewpoint of first time motherhood since I now almost feel sorry for people who are having their first baby. I would assume that some people adjust well to first-time motherhood. 

With all that, I don't feel any more overwhelmed with three children than I did with just one. There are some times, even entire weeks, when I want to pull out my hair and go on a vacation. I had days like that with just one child. Matter of fact, I had days like that before I had children. Maybe I'm the common denominator in those situations and not my boys. 

Motherhood is much more comfortable now than it was before and I enjoy it a lot more too. How about you? Did you adjust well to motherhood the first time or was it a learning curve you didn't expect? 

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