As any parent knows, welcoming a new child into your family brings about its own unique changes and challenges. As a mama of two young children, I can vouch that going from 0-1 child was significantly different from 1-2. While going from being a parent of none to a parent of one and then, a year and a half later, a parent of one to a parent of two were two unique experiences; both were easy in some ways and hard in others.
The Hardest Parts of Going From 0-1 Child
Before having children of my own, I spent years loving, caring for, and working closely with other people’s kiddos. Because of this, babies, in general, weren’t new territory for me. For that reason alone, going from 0-1 child was relatively unchallenging. I knew what to expect, had spent a good chunk of my adulthood learning about tiny humans, and wasn’t fazed when my whole world changed overnight. In awe and amazement? Absolutely. Shocked by the adjustment? Not so much. That doesn’t mean it still wasn’t an adjustment, though. For me, these were the trickiest parts of becoming a first-time mom:
Becoming Confident in My Capabilities as a Mom
Becoming a mom for the first time meant being fully, wholly, 100% responsible for someone other than myself for the first time, too. With going from 0-1 child came the weight of constantly wondering whether I was making the best decisions for my daughter. I wondered if I was doing everything I could to give her the best start. Desperately hoping I was the best mom possible for her. I also had to learn to tune out the noise surrounding baby sleep, feeding, milestone-meeting expectations, and trust in my family’s unique journey.
Learning to Give Myself Grace
While I loved being pregnant and never felt more confident in my own skin than I did throughout my first pregnancy, it took months for me to become comfortable in my postpartum body. For the first time in my life, going from 0-1 child, I was physically changed overnight. I wasn’t prepared for the mental and emotional toll brought on by my C-section scar, breastfeeding, and even postpartum hair loss. In addition, I wasn’t prepared for my birth plan to go awry. It took time for me to regain trust in my body, which was hard.
Navigating Changed Relationships
Having a baby and going from 0-1 child shows you who is (and isn’t) on your team, which was a lesson I learned the first time. Some friendships were stronger, new ones formed, and others became distant and unfamiliar. Setting boundaries with in-laws brought about endless challenges and discomfort. My marriage changed immensely as my husband and I poured everything into parenting. All these changes at once were a lot to navigate.
The Challenges of Going From 1-2 Children
I became pregnant with my second child weeks before my daughter’s first birthday. Although my sweet son was planned, the hardest parts of going from 1-2 children began when the test was positive. I was seasoned in mothering a baby after going from 0-1 child, which was both a blessing and a curse. With the mothering experience came a deeper love than I’d ever felt before. To know I’d soon share that love with another was scary. These were the most challenging parts of my journey in becoming a second-time mom:
Splitting Myself Between My Two Babies
My second baby was born prematurely and spent the first few months of his life in and out of the NICU and PICU. Meanwhile, my firstborn needed me just as much as ever. Leaving my baby girl at home to be with my baby boy in the hospital for the day tore me apart, as did leaving him to be with her for the night.
It’s true when they say your love grows with each new baby, going from 0-1 child or going from 1-2 children. Somehow, there’s enough of it to go around. Even still, getting used to physically being there for one baby while away from the other (even just across the room) was hard. Heartbreakingly hard. Nearly a year later, it’s still hard.
Adjusting to My Family’s New Norm
As a stay-at-home mom since becoming a mama more than two years ago, it was a piece of cake to take my daughter on almost daily outings when it was just the two of us. With just one nap schedule, one feeding schedule, and one little babe to work around, we could quickly grab the diaper bag and hit the zoo, library, playground, museum; you name it. Planning for days out – or even running simple errands – takes much more work with two tiny humans. Although it’s twice as much fun to see my children experience new things together, our day-to-day routine demands a lot of adaptability.
It has also taken some adjusting to get used to a new dynamic with my babies. Before my son was born, my daughter had 100% of my attention 24/7. Now, neither baby gets that. Although they are benefiting from all the wonderful things that come with having each other, there are days when I can’t help but start to feel a bit guilty for not being able to focus more on either one of my kiddos at any given moment. Going from 1-2 has me spread thinner than ever, and I feel it daily.
Balancing Sleep, Feeding, Connection, and All the Things
There’s a tremendous learning curve that comes with going from 1-2 children and learning how to balance it all. Everything from feeding to changing to playing and entertaining is truly nonstop with two babies, and there’s not much time for anything but tending to my tiny humans. Although I wouldn’t have it any other way, the transition from 1-2 children is a whole new ballpark in this sense.
Whether it’s harder going from 0-1 or going from 1-2 children is a topic I’ve often heard discussed among many moms. I have found going from 1-2 harder than 0-1 because there are now two tiny humans for me to account for. But there’s still only one me. Other moms have found it more difficult to go from 0-1. Both transitions bring about unique challenges and plenty of unforgettable moments. Therefore, I can wholeheartedly say I’m grateful for all I’ve learned in each stage of my motherhood journey.