I've been thinking a lot lately (for the last three and a half months, actually) about the differences between my first and second child. And when I say that, I don't mean the differences between Gracie and Katie (though they are extremely different, it's still too soon for those differences to be terribly interesting to anyone other than us). I mean, the differences between having my first and having my second.
People always say adding a second child is more than twice the work, go on and on about how overwhelming it is to have that extra baby around. I only know one person- another nurse practitioner at work that I rarely even talk to, actually- who rolled her eyes and said, "Going from zero to one was much, much harder than going from one to two." When I was pregnant with Katie and would hopefully repeat that comment, people with more than one child would snicker derisively and tell me to just wait and see.
Ok. I waited and saw. And sorry to disappoint all the smug assholes who tried to scare me, going from zero to one was eighty thousand times harder than going from one to two.
I realize part of that may have been our first child's hatred of the world in her early days. The same people made also told me that crawling and walking were when the REAL FUN began! "Ohhh, just wait! NOW it gets really hard!" And then she started moving, and Stephen and I were like, "Really? Y'all think this shit is hard? We'll show you HARD." So, there's that. But my work friend said something else that I think is really, really true- the culture shock of having your first child, for her, and for me, was so much more difficult than adding another needy little being to the crew. Going from total freedom to almost none, all that sleep to almost none- even if you have the world's easiest baby, those changes still have to hit you pretty hard. I think? I don't know. Those were really hard adjustments for me. And when Katie came along, well, I was already hardly getting any sleep and already had very little freedom, because I already had a two year old. I also knew- I mean, really KNEW- that I needed to get my hair cut and read a book and clean my house and spend an afternoon by myself before she was born, because I KNEW I wouldn't be doing those things for awhile, in a way that I couldn't have known before Grace was born.
There are other differences, too, that I think are easier the second time. Recovering from the whole process was a million times easier the second time. I thought at first there were other reasons for that- I was pregnant with Grace two weeks longer than I was pregnant with Katie, and those are two pretty unpleasant weeks. Katie was over a pound smaller than Gracie. I labored all night with Gracie and was utterly exhausted when she was born, but Katie's labor was mostly during daylight hours (well, 4am is still considered daylight after waking up at that hour for a year). But then my friend Laura went and had her second baby who was much larger than her first in the middle of the night, just as overdue as she was with her first, and still recovered faster. So there's probably something to be said for that.
The hormones didn't hit me nearly as hard the second time. The first time, I was weepy and anxious and just really completely out of my tree. The second time, I was still hormonal, but it was weird- I was completely euphoric. And yeah, I'd just had a healthy baby girl, I had plenty of reasons to be happy, but I am telling you, I was like a walking bundle of sunshine and happiness and isn't life AMAZING?!?! Which, okay, Grace was fussy from minute one, and Katie slept for the first two weeks of her life, but even the physical effects of the hormones (specifically, those disgusting soaking night sweats) were barely an issue at all this time. It was kind of amazing.
I guess it makes sense- the two pregnancies were like night and day, so it makes sense that the differences continued after the babies were born, but it never stops amazing me.